The Federation of Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. It consists of two geographical regions divided by the South China Sea: West Malaysia (Malay Peninsula) shares a land border on the north with Thailand and is connected by a causeway and the second-link bridge on the south with the island of Singapore; East Malaysia, the northern part of the island of Borneo, is bordered to the south by Indonesia and borders the Sultanate of Brunei on the east, south, and west.
Malaysia was formed on September 16, 1963 through a merging
of the Federation of Malaya and the British crown colonies of Singapore, North
Borneo (renamed Sabah), and Sarawak; the latter two colonies being on the island
of Borneo. The Sultanate of Brunei, though initially expressing interest in
joining the Federation, pulled out due to opposition from certain segments of
the population as well as wrangling over the payment of oil royalties.
The early years of independence were marred conflict with Indonesia over the formation of Malaysia, Singapore's eventual secession in 1965, and racial strife in the form of racial riots in 1969. The Philippines also made an active claim on Sabah in that period. The Philippine claim is still on-going.
Some Malaysian stamps:
Although Malaysia started issuing stamps in 1963 the states within federation are still issuing their own stamps. These states are:
The Federal Territory (Malay: Wilayah Persekutuan) is a collective of three territories, namely Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, governed directly by the federal government of Malaysia. All of them have equivalent status as the 13 states, though the territories have neither a head of state nor a state legislature. Of the three, Kuala Lumpur is the Malaysian capital, while Putrajaya is Malaysia's administrative capital. The federal territories were originally part of two states - Sabah and Selangor. Both Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya were part of Selangor, while Labuan was part of Sabah. Kuala Lumpur was ceded by the state of Selangor to the federal government in 1974, while Labuan, became the second federal territory in 1984. Putrajaya became the third federal territory in 2001.
First stamps were issued in 1979.
A former non-federated British Malay state, Johor was under British protection from 1914 to 1957. The area joined the Federation of Malaya in 1948. From September 16, 1963 Johor is a part of Malaysia. The capital city and royal seat of Johor is Johor Bahru. First stamp was issued in 1876.
In the 17th century, Kedah was attacked by the Portuguese after their conquest of Melaka, and by Aceh. In the hope that Great Britain would protect what remained of Kedah from Siam, the sultan handed over Penang and then Province Wellesley, to the British at the end of the 18th century. The Siamese still conquered Kedah in 1821, and it remained under Siamese control until transferred to the British by the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909. In World War II, Kedah (along with Kelantan) was the first part of Malaya to be invaded by Japan. The Japanese returned Kedah to their Siamese allies, but it returned to British rule after the end of the war. Kedah was a reluctant addition to the Federation of Malaya in 1948. From 1963 it is a part of Malaysia. First stamp was issued in 1912.
Kelantan is a sultanate in northeast Malaya peninsula. Under the terms of the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909, Siam surrendered its claims over Kelantan to Great Britain, and Kelantan thus became one of the Unfederated Malay States with a British Resident. Kelantan was the first place in Malaya to be occupied by the Japanese, who invaded on December 8, 1941. During the Japanese occupation, Kelantan came again under control of Siam, but after the defeat of Japan in August 1945, Kelantan reverted to British rule. Kelantan became part of the Federation of Malaya on February 1, 1948 and together with other states attained independence on August 31, 1957. On September 16, 1963, Kelantan became one of the component states of Malaysia. First stamp was issued in 1911.
Malacca (also widely known as Melaka) was occupied in 1511 by the Portuguese viceroy of India and became a strategic base for Portuguese expansion in the East Indies. In 1641 the Dutch defeated the Portuguese to capture Malacca with the help of the Sultan of Johor. Malacca was ceded to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824. From 1826 to 1946 Malacca was governed, first by the British East India Company and then as a Crown Colony. It formed part of the Straits Settlements, together with Singapore and Penang. After the dissolution of this crown colony, Malacca and Penang became part of the Malayan Union, which later became Malaysia. Although the first Malay sultanate started in Malacca, the state has no Sultan today. Instead, the head of state is the Governor or Yang Di-Pertuan Negeri. First stamp was issued in 1948.
Negri Sembilan is a sultanate on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula. In 1873, the British intervened militarily in a civil war in Sungai Ujong to preserve British economic interests, and placed the country under the control of a British Resident. Jelebu followed in 1886, and the remaining states in 1895. In 1897, when the Federated Malay States was established, Sungai Ujong and Jelebu were reunited to the confederation of small states and the whole, under the old name of the Negri Sembilan, was placed under a single Resident and became a member of the Federated Malay States. Negri Sembilan endured Japanese occupation in World War II between 1941 and 1945, and joined the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and became a state of Malaysia in 1963. The number of states within Negri Sembilan has fluctuated over the years, the federation now consists of seven states. First stamp was issued in 1891.
Pahang is the largest Malay state in Peninsular Malaysia. From 1858 to 1863, Pahang was fought over in a civil war between the two sons of the reigning sultan. The war ended when Wan Ahmad was proclaimed the new sultan in 1887, but his role from that point onward was largely ceremonial, as the British forced him to sign a treaty bringing the country under control of a British Resident. In 1896, Pahang joined Selangor, Perak, and Negri Sembilan in the Federated Malay States. This evolved into the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and into the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. First stamp was issued in 1889.
In 1826, Penang, along with Malacca and Singapore, became part of the Straits Settlements under the British administration in India, moving to direct British colonial rule in 1867. In 1946 it became part of the Malayan Union, before becoming in 1948 a state of the Federation of Malaya, which gained independence in 1957. In 1963 it became one of the states of Malaysia. First was stamp issued in 1948.
The modern history of Perak began with the fall of the Melaka Sultanate. The eldest son of the last Sultan of Melaka, fleeing the Portuguese conquest of 1511, established his own dynasty on the banks of the Sengai Perak in 1528. As the Perak area was extremely rich in tin, it was under almost continuous threat from outsiders. British intervention in 1820 prevented Siam from annexing Perak. Although the British were initially reluctant to establish a colonial presence in Malaya, increasing investment in the tin mines brought a great influx of Chinese immigrants, who formed rival clan groups allied with Malay chiefs and local gangsters, all of whom battled to control the mines. The Perak sultanate, involved in a protracted succession struggle was unable to maintain order. In 1874, the Straits Settlements governor Sir Andrew Clarke convened a meeting, at which Sultan Abdullah was installed on the throne of Perak. This Pangkor Treaty also required that the sultan accept a British Resident, who would control all administrative issues other than those pertaining the religion or Malay custom. In 1875, various Perak chiefs assassinated the British Resident, resulting in the short-lived Perak War of 1876. Sultan Abdullah was exiled to the Seychelles, and the British installed a new ruler. In 1896, Perak joined Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Pahang to form the Federated Malay States. However, the British Resident system lasted until Perak became part of the Federation of Malaya in 1948. First stamp was issued in 1878.
Perlis is a former Siamese tributary state in the south Malay Peninsula. Under British control after 1909, Perlis was returned to Siam by the Japanese in World War II as a reward for Siam's alliance with Japan, but this brief annexation ended with the Japanese surrender. After World War II, Perlis returned to British rule until it became part of the Malayan Union, and the Federation of Malaysia in 1957. With the rest of the Malay states, it is now part of the Malaysia. First stamp was issued in 1948.
North Borneo - Sabah
Sabah is the second largest state in Malaysia and is also known as "The Land Below The Wind". It is one of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. The area of North Borneo was ruled by the sultans of Brunei from the 16th century, until the reigning sultan ceded it to American and British traders in 1872. In 1881 the British North Borneo Company was established to administer the region. The state became a protectorate of the British Empire in 1888 with internal affairs still administered by the company. North Borneo was occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945, and after its reoccupation by Britain, it was reorganized as a colony. The territory assumed the name Sabah in 1963 when it joined with Federation of Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore to form the Malaysia Federation. First stamp was issued in 1883.
Sarawak is one of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Situated on the north-west of the island, Sarawak is the largest state of Malaysia. Sarawak had been a loosely governed territory under the control of the Brunei Sultanate in the early 19th century. James Brooke became governor of Sarawak in September 1841 and was appointed Rajah by the Sultan of Brunei in August 1842. He ruled Sarawak until his death in 1868 and was succeeded by his nephew. The territory was later greatly expanded, mostly at the expense of areas nominally under the control of Brunei. The Brooke dynasty ruled Sarawak for a hundred years and became famous as the "White Rajahs". In contrast to many other areas of the empire however the Brooke family was intent on a policy of paternalism to protect the indigenous population against exploitation. They governed with the aid of the local Malay and Muslim classes. They also encouraged the immigration of a Chinese merchant class. In 1888, Sarawak accepted British control of its foreign affairs. Japan invaded Sarawak in 1941 and held it for the duration of World War II until the area was secured by Australian forces in 1945. The Rajah formally ceded sovereignty to the British Crown in 1946. The Malays in particular resisted the secession to Britain, assassinating the first British governor. Sarawak was one of the main sites of the Indonesian Confrontation between 1962 and 1966. It became an autonomous state of the federation of Malaysia in 1963 despite initial opposition from parts of the population. First stamp was issued in 1869.
Selangor is a sultanate in the south Malay Peninsula. In the 15th century, Selangor was ruled by Melaka. After the fall of Melaka to the Portuguese in 1511, the area became hotly disputed between the Portuguese, Johor, Aceh and Siam. The Dutch displaced the Portuguese from Melaka, and later, the British, forced the Sultan of Selangor to accept a British Resident in 1874. In 1896, Selangor united with Negri Sembilan, Perak and Pahang to form the Federated Malay States, with its capital in the Selangor city of Kuala Lumpur. The Federated Malay States evolved into the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. In 1974, Selangor relinquished the city of Kuala Lumpur to the federal government. First stamp was issued in 1878.
Terengganu emerged as an independent sultanate in 1724. The first Sultan was the younger brother of a former sultan of Johor, and Johor strongly influenced Terengganu politics through the 18th century. In the 19th century, Terengganu became a vassal state of Siam, and sent tribute every year to the Emperor of Siam. Under Siamese rule, Terengganu prospered, and was largely left alone by the authorities in Bangkok. The terms of the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 saw power over Terengganu transfered from Siam to Great Britain. A British Resident was installed after considerable reluctance in 1919, and Terengganu become one of the Unfederated Malay States. The move was highly unpoplar locally, and in 1928 the British used military force to suppress a popular uprising. During World War II, Japan transferred Terengganu back to Siam, but after the defeat of Japan, the state returned to British control. Terengganu became a member of the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and a state of independent Malaya in 1957. It is now part of Malaysia. First stamp was issued in 1910.