In Malaysia, compulsory is 11 years and free schooling from the children is 6 years. There are also private schools. These do not receive public support. Malay is the language of instruction, while English is compulsory as a first foreign language. Chinese and Tamil are the language of instruction in some primary schools. All children start in primary school, and almost 90% continue in high school. The upper secondary school is 7-years, where in the last 4 years you can choose between professional or general theoretical subjects. In 2002, there were 15 public universities as well as several private universities and institutes, especially in the field of technology. In 1994, Malaysia opened for foreign universities to have departments in the country. In 2002, three international university campuses were established in Malaysia. According to UNESCO, approx. In 2000, 12% of the adult population was illiterate.
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Nationalism, rebellion and independence
Until World War II, social unrest was very limited, and no stronger nationalist movement was developed. There was an illegal Communist Party set up in 1930, but it was confined to the Chinese population and did not have much influence. However, this changed during the Japanese occupation (1942-45). Then the Communists developed a guerrilla movement, which became a driving force in the resistance struggle. Not least because the Japanese carried out a harsh racist persecution of the Chinese, while at the same time treating the other ethnic groups fairly. After the war, a Malay nationalist movement, the Union of Malaya National Organization (UMNO), developed. The initiative came from the Sultans, it was controlled by the ruling class, but also had popular Malay support. It was more aimed at the Chinese than at the British and was politically conservative.
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In 1948, the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) went into armed revolt against the colonial regime. It had its bases in the jungle, and waged an effective guerrilla war that threatened the regime’s foundation. This war – known as “The Emergency” – continued through the ’50s and ended with the guerilla being largely crushed. The reason was partly the superior tactics of the British forces. For the first time, entire villages were moved from “unsafe” to “safe” areas – a tactic the North Americans would later take up in Vietnam but with much less luck. Another important reason for the guerrilla defeat was that the MCP never managed to break down the racial boundaries: it was a party of Chinese and was unable to appeal to the poor Malays. A third reason was that Malaya became fully independent with the British in 1957 – under a system that ensured that the Malay people came to dominate politically. Although the MCP was a party of Chinese, it obviously did not appeal to the rich Chinese who controlled the country’s economy and who had nothing to gain from a social revolution.
Already in the early 50s, an attempt was made to create a multi-ethnic party when journalist and activist Dato Onn withdrew from UMNO to form the Party of Malay Independence, but it was beaten when UMNO and the Association of Malay Chinese up to the municipal elections in 1952 formed an alliance. The alliance was later expanded with the Indian-Malay Congress and won the elections in 1955 nationwide.
At the independence of 57, Prince Tengku Abdul Rahman was appointed prime minister. A federal state was formed with a parliament and a monarch, elected every 5 years from among the 9 sultans. The various ethnic groups entered into an agreement whereby the non-Malay people were granted citizenship, while the Malay people were regarded as indigenous people with special rights in education and public office. At the same time, Malay was made the official language of the new state. Economically, the market economy was preserved, and foreign capital that had been dominant during the colonial period retained its dominance.
Also after independence in 57, the British retained its territories on Borneo, far less developed than Malaya. The segregated British colony of Singapore gained its independence in 1959. In 1963, these 3 territories merged into a new state, Malaysia. Only the British protectorate of Brunei on Nordborneo did not join this state and became an independent sultanate – with less than a million inhabitants. The state of Malaysia was immediately strongly attacked by Sukarno in Indonesia, who called it a product of British colonialism- British troops were still stationed. The confrontation was primarily diplomatic, but also included military action along the Borneo common border. Due. ethnic problems Singapore withdrew from Malaysia in 1965 and established itself as an independent state. The confrontation with Indonesia only ended when Suharto came to power there in 1966.