Timeline of Malaysian history

This is a timeline of Malaysian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Malaysia and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Malaysia.

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.

2nd century

Year Event
200 Gangga Negara was founded by a son of Merong Mahawangsa.

Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa (Jawi: حكاية مروڠ مهاوڠسا ) or The Kedah Annals is an ancient work of Malay literature which chronicles the bloodline of Merong Mahawangsa and the foundation of the Kedah, a state in Malaysia.

The reign of the ancient Hindu Malay kingdom of Langkasuka began.

The first research into the Beruas kingdom was conducted by Colonel James Low in 1849, and a century later by H.G. Quaritch Wales. According to the Museum and Antiquities Department, both researchers agreed that the Gangga Negara kingdom existed between 100 and 1000 CE,[1] but could not ascertain the exact site. For years, villagers had unearthed artefacts believed to be from the ancient kingdoms, most of which are at present displayed at the Beruas Museum, including a 128-kilogram (282 lb) cannon, swords, kris, coins, tin ingots, pottery from the Ming Dynasty and various eras, and large jars. They can be dated back to the 5th and 6th century.[2] Through these artefacts, it has been postulated that Pengkalan (Ipoh), Kinta Valley, Tanjung Rambutan, Bidor and Sungai Siput were part of the kingdom. Artefacts also suggest that the kingdom's centre might have shifted several times. Gangga Negara was renamed to Beruas after the establishment of Islam there.

3rd century

Year Event
300 The reign of the small Hindu kingdom of Pan Pan began.

7th century

Year Event
630 The Kedah Kingdom was founded by Maharaja Derbar Raja of Bandar Abbas.
700 The ancient kingdom of Srivijaya began to influence Maritime Southeast Asia.

Between the 7th and the 13th century, much of the Malay peninsula was under the Buddhist Srivijaya empire. The site of Srivijaya's centre is thought be at a river delta in eastern Sumatra, based near what is now Palembang. For over six centuries the Maharajahs of Srivijaya ruled a maritime empire that became the main power in the archipelago. The empire was based around trade, with local kings (dhatus or community leaders) swearing allegiance to the central lord for mutual profit.[3]

The reign of Pan Pan ended.

11th century

Year Event
1100 The reign of Gangga Negara ended.

12th century

Year Event
1136 Phra Ong Mahawangsa converted to Islam and founded the Kedah Sultanate, so ending the practice of Hinduism in the dynasty.

13th century

Year Event
1290 Srivijaya fell to the Majapahit empire.[4]

Majapahit empire, the last Indianized kingdom in Indonesia, based in eastern Java, existed between the 13th and 16th centuries. The founder of the empire was Vijaya, a prince of Singhasāri, who escaped when Jayakatwang, the ruler of Kaḍiri, seized the palace. In 1292 Mongol troops came to Java to avenge an insult to the emperor of China, Kublai Khan, by Kertanagara, the king of Singhasāri, who had been replaced by Jayakatwang. Vijaya collaborated with Mongol troops in defeating Jayakatwang; Vijaya then turned against the Mongols and expelled them from Java.

Majapahit was a vast thalassocratic archipelagic empire based on the island of Java from 1293 to around 1500. Majapahit reached its peak of glory during the era of Hayam Wuruk, whose reign from 1350 to 1389 was marked by conquest which extended through Southeast Asia. His achievement is also credited to his prime minister, Gajah Mada. According to the Nagarakretagama written in 1365, Majapahit was an empire of 98 tributaries, stretching from Sumatra to New Guinea;[5] consisting of present-day Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, the Philippines, and East Timor, although the true nature of Majapahit sphere of influence is still the subject of studies among historians.

Majapahit was one of the last major empires of the region and is considered to be one of the greatest and most powerful empires in the history of Indonesia and Southeast Asia, one that is sometimes seen as the precedent for Indonesia's modern boundaries

1300 The influence of Srivijaya over Maritime Southeast Asia ended.

14th century

Year Event
1400 The reign of Langkasuka ended.

15th century

Year Event
1402 The Malacca Sultanate was founded by Parameswara.
1445 Tun Perak led the Malaccan army to victory by defeating Siamese invaders. As a result, he was made bendahara in 1456.
1450 The Sulu Sultanate reached its peak by extending its rule to the eastern part of North Borneo.

16th century

Year Date Event
1511 15 August Malacca came under Portuguese rule after falling to an army led by Alfonso de Albuquerque.

Sultan Mahmud Shah of Malacca made several attempts to retake the capital. He rallied support from his ally the Sultanate of Demak in Java, that in 1511 agreed to send naval forces to assist the effort to retake Malacca. Led by Pati Unus, the Sultan of Demak, the combined Malay–Javan efforts failed and were fruitless. The Portuguese retaliated and forced the sultan to flee to Pahang. Later, the sultan sailed to Bintan Island and established a new capital there. With a base established, the sultan rallied the disarrayed Malay forces and organised several attacks and blockades against the Portuguese's position. Frequent raids on Malacca caused the Portuguese severe hardship.

In 1521 the second Demak campaign to assist the Malay Sultan to retake Malacca was launched, however once again failed with the cost of the Demak Sultan's life. He was later remembered as Pangeran Sabrang Lor or the Prince who crossed (the Java Sea) to North (Malay Peninsula). The raids helped convince the Portuguese that the exiled sultan's forces must be silenced. A number of attempts were made to suppress the Malay forces, but it wasn't until 1526 that the Portuguese finally razed Bintan to the ground. The sultan then retreated to Kampar in Riau, Sumatra where he died two years later. He left two sons named Muzaffar Shah and Alauddin Riayat Shah II.

1528 The Johor Sultanate was founded by Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II, son of Sultan Mahmud Shah of Malacca.

The Perak Sultanate was founded by Sultan Muzaffar Syah, son of Sultan Mahmud Shah of Malacca.

17th century

Year Date Event
1613 Triangular war: War between Portuguese in Malacca, Aceh Sultanate and Johor Empire.
1641 The Dutch and their local allies conquered Malacca from the Portuguese.
1666 Johor-Jambi war: Civil war erupted between Johor and the Sumatran state of Jambi.

18th century

Year Date Event
1722 Raja Sulaiman successfully dethroned Sultan Abdul Jalil Rahmat Shah, the son of Sultan Abdul Jalil IV, and became the new King of Johor with the help of Daeng Parani of the Bugis. Daeng Parani's brother, Daeng Merewah was made the crown prince and was the man who actually controlled Johor following Sulaiman's weak leadership.

19th century

Year Date Event
1819 Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived and signed a treaty with Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor, on behalf of the British East India Company, to develop the southern part of Singapore as a British trading post.
1820 Ghee Hin Kongsi and Hai San Secret Society, 2 secret societies in Singapore and Malaya was established.
1824 March The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 was signed by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to address issues regarding trade rights in the Spice Islands.
1826 The Burney Treaty was signed between Thailand and the United Kingdom, partitioning the northern Malay states between the two countries.
The Straits Settlements were established as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company.
1831 August The opposition of Dol Said to British taxation policy in Naning led to the Naning War. Dol Said's force defeated 150 British soldiers led by Captain Wyllie.
1841 18 August The Kingdom of Sarawak was established by Sir James Brooke after a grant of independence from the Sultanate of Brunei.
1843 4 June War expedition established by Sir James Brooke to attack the Rentap and the Dayak Iban tribe at Saribas began.
1853 Alan Lee, officer in charge of another fort at Nanga Lingga, Sri Aman was defeated and killed by Rentap.
1857 1857 Chinese Uprising: Liu Shan Bang, leader of the gold miners in Pangkalan Tebang started a rebellion against the White Rajahs in Bau, Sarawak.
1861 July First Larut War: conflict by arguments over control of watercourse to their mines escalated and led members of the Hai San Society to drive the members of the Ghee Hin society out of Kamunting.[6][7][8][9]
1865 Second Larut War: started off by a gambling quarrel in June of that year between members of Ghee Hin Kongsi and Hai San Secret Society.
1867 Klang War: Raja Mahadi challenged Raja Abdullah for authority over Klang.
1 April The Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a crown colony.
1863 Rentap's fortress at Nanga Skrang was successfully infiltrated by the attacking party of Tuan Muda Charles Brooke and Rentap ultimately retired from the war.
1871 Third Larut War: began by an affair between Ghee Hin and Hai San and conflict between the succession for the next Sultan of Perak between Raja Abdullah and Raja Ismail.
Tristram Speedy sailed to the Straits Settlements in Malaya and became superintendent of police on the island of Penang.
1873 Tristram Speedy commanded a body of Indian troops to restore order in Larut, a Malayan mining district, for the Menteri (Chief Minister) Ngah Ibrahim.
1874 20 January The Pangkor Treaty of 1874 signalled official British involvement in the policies of the Malays, and the establishment of British Malaya.
1875 2 November James W. W. Birch, the first Resident of Perak was assassinated by local Malay chief, Dato Maharajalela and his follower, Seputum in Pasir Salak.
7 November Perak War: The sultan of Upper Perak and other local chiefs attempted to end foreign influence in the region and remove the British administrator James W.W. Birch.
1876 21 July Following the trial held in 1875 between 14 and 22 December in Matang, Perak, Abdullah Muhammad Shah II of Perak and Ngah Ibrahim were exiled to the Seychelles.
1877 20 January Lela Pandak Lam was executed by hanging in Taiping.
1879 25 October Jementah Civil War: Tengku Alam Shah refused to place Muar under the temporary administration of Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor.
1882 North Borneo became a British protectorate under the sovereign North Borneo Chartered Company.
1887 Terengganu Inscription Stone was discovered by villagers at a steep sloping riverbank of Tersat river, Kampung Buluh, Kuala Berang, Hulu Terengganu.
1895 Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang joined to become the Federated Malay States, a federation of British protectorates.
1896 Mat Salleh Rebellion: Disputes between locals and the British North Borneo Company led to rebellion.
1900 September Chinese leader, Wong Nai Siong and his party started recruiting villagers from Fujian to immigrate to Sibu, Sarawak.

20th century

Year Date Event
1909 10 March The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 was signed by the United Kingdom and Thailand, effectively dissecting the northern Malay states.
1914 28 October Battle of Penang: The German cruiser SMS Emden sank two Allied warships in the Strait of Malacca.
1915 William Kellie Smith, a Scottish planter started the construction project of Kellie's Castle in Batu Gajah, Perak.
1922 Haji Abdul Rahman Limbong represented one of the 43 farmers being put to trial in a court for doing farming without permission.
1928 Haji Abdul Rahman Limbong assembled about 1,000 people in Kampung Buluh, to launch their resistance to get the British out of their state. Several police stations were attacked were made in Kuala Berang.
1941 Japanese occupation of Malaya and British Borneo: The Japanese occupation took place..
7 December Attack on Pearl Harbor: Japan opened hostilities with the Allies and their colonies.
8 December Battle of Malaya: A battle was fought by Allies and Japanese forces in Malaya.
10 December The British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Repulse were sunk by Japanese bombers.
1942 14 January Battle of Muar: The last major battle of the Malayan campaign was fought.
23 January Parit Sulong Massacre: Allied soldiers were massacred by Japanese forces.
9 February Battle of Singapore: The Japanese crossed the Strait of Johor in inflatable boats and landed in Singapore.
13 February Battle of Pasir Panjang: A Malay regiment led by Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi fought bravely against the Japanese at Pasir Panjang Ridge.
18 October Kedah became the Thai possession of Syburi.
1945 January Sandakan Death Marches: Cruel marches began which were forced by Japan.
June Sandakan Death Marches: The death marches came to an end.
27 June Battle of North Borneo: A battle was fought between the Australians and Japanese.
14 August Japan surrendered, leaving a power vacuum.
5 September The British returned and established a military administration in the Straits Settlements.
23 September Kedah and the three other states were returned to the British.
1946 1 April The Straits Settlements were dissolved and replaced by the Malayan Union, conceived to unify the Malay Peninsula under a single government.
8 February Charles Vyner Brooke declared that the Sarawak Supreme Council agreed on the cession of Sarawak to British.
1 July British officially declared Sarawak as Crown Colony of Sarawak
1948 31 January Opposition from Malay nationalists forced the Malayan Union to disband in favour of the Federation of Malaya, which restored the symbolic positions of the rulers of the Malay states.
18 June Sungai Siput Incident: Rubber plantations and tin mines in Malaya were destroyed by Communists, leading the British to declare a state of emergency.
16 July Death of Lau Yew: British security forces clashed with those of the Malayan Communist Party resulting in the death of one of their key leaders, Lau Yew.[10]
1949 8 October The University of Malaya was established following the merger of Raffles College and King Edward Medical College.
3 December Rosli Dhobi and several members from Rukun 13 orchestrated the assassination of the Governor of Sarawak, Sir Duncan Stewart in Sibu.
1950 23 February Bukit Kepong Incident: An armed encounter took place between Communists and the police.
1951 6 October Assassination of Sir Henry Gurney: British High Commissioner Sir Henry Gurney was killed by members of the Malayan Communist Party in Fraser's Hill.
1956 18 January A constitutional conference proposed the appointment of the Reid Commission to devise a constitution for a fully self-governing and independent Federation of Malaya.
8 February Baling Talks: An talk between representative of the government of Malaya and Malayan Communist Party to resolve the Malayan Emergency situation. Tan Cheng Lock, David Marshall and Tunku Abdul Rahman represented the government whereas Chin Peng, Rashid Maidin and Chen Tien represented the communists. However, the talks were unsuccessful because the surrender terms were not acceptable to the Malayan Communist Party.
1957 21 February The Reid Commission submitted its working draft to a Working Committee.
31 July Independence of the Federation of Malaya
15 August The new Federal Constitution was passed by the Federal Legislative Council.
31 August Formal independence of the Federation of Malaya was achieved.
1961 27 May Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman proposed a merger between Singapore, Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak.
1962 8 December Brunei Revolt: A revolt led by Yassin Affandi began coordinated attacks on oil installations, police stations and government facilities around the protectorate.
1963 20 January Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation: Indonesian Foreign Minister Subandrio announced that Indonesia would pursue a policy of konfrontasi with the Federation of Malaysia, North Borneo and Sarawak.
9 July The Malaysia Agreement was signed by the governments of the United Kingdom, Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak.
31 July Manila Accord was signed by the governments of Malaya (now Malaysia), Indonesia and, Philippines.
16 September Malaysia established. Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya merged to form Malaysia.
1965 May Lee Kuan Yew began campaigning for a Malaysian Malaysia.
7 August Singapore and Malaysia signed a separation agreement.
9 August The Malaysian Parliament voted to expel Singapore from the Federation.
1966 7 February Exchange of notes by the government of Malaysia (formerly Malaya) and Philippines constituting an agreement relating to the implementation of the Manila Accord of 31 July 1963.
1967 February Communist insurgency in Malaysia (1968–89): A renewed insurgency was conducted by the Malayan Communist Party against Malaysian federal security forces.
1969 10 May Malaysian general election, 1969: The third general election since independence was held in West Malaysia.
13 May 13 May Incident: Ethnic riots between Malays and Chinese took place in Kuala Lumpur.
14 May A state of emergency and accompanying curfew were declared throughout the country.
16 May The state of emergency and curfew were lifted.
1970 Rukun Negara, the national philosophy was instituted by royal proclamation on Merdeka Day, after foreseeing the May 13 Incident in 1969.
1971 An affirmative action program known as the Malaysian New Economic Policy was launched by the Malaysian government.
1974 Formation of Federal Territories.
1975 5 August 1975 AIA building hostage crisis: Japanese Red Army took more than 50 hostages at the AIA building, which housed several embassies.
1977 8 November 1977 Kelantan Emergency: The state of emergency was declared by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King of Malaysia) on 8 November 1977 upon the request of the federal government following a political impasse and street violence in Kelantan.[11]
1979 21 December Pedra Branca dispute: Singapore lodged a formal protest with Malaysia in response to a map published by Malaysia in 1979 claiming Pedra Branca.
1982 1 January The time zone in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore changed to UTC+08:00 and has not changed since.
1 May The time zone in East Malaysia changed to UTC+08:00 and has not changed since.
1984 16 April Labuan became a Federal Territories of Malaysia.
1985 19 November Memali Incident: A team of 200 policemen under orders from the Acting Prime Minister and Home Minister Musa Hitam laid siege to kampung (village) houses in Memali, near Baling in Kedah.
1987 27 October Operation Lalang: An operation was carried out by the Malaysian police to crack down on opposition leaders and social activists.
1988 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis: A series of events began which would lead to the eventual removal of the Lord President of the Federal Court.
1991 4 October The Kuala Lumpur Tower official ground-breaking.
1 November The Kuala Lumpur International Airport official ground-breaking.
1993 The Parliament passed amendments to the Constitution with the aim of stripping the royalty of legal immunity.
1 February Kuala Lumpur International Airport construction began.
1994 1 January Petronas Towers construction commenced.
1996 1 January Petronas Twin Towers completed.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport opened to public service.
1 May The Kuala Lumpur Tower completed.
1 June Astro was launched as Malaysia's first subscription-based satellite television station
1997 1 January Asian financial crisis: Malaysia slipped into recession.
1998 1 January Petronas Towers opened to public service of Aquaria KLCC, Suria KLCC and Dewan Filharmonik Petronas.
11 September Opening ceremony of the 16th Commonwealth Games held in Kuala Lumpur
The Kuala Lumpur National Stadium officially opened by Prime Minister Tun Doctor Mahathir Bin Mohamad.
1999 29 January Abdullah Ahmad Badawi become as Deputy Prime Minister replaced Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

21st century

Year Date Event
2000 December Gunung Mulu National Park and Kinabalu Park became UNESCO World Heritage Sites of nature.
2001 1 January The Kuala Lumpur Central Station officially opened.
1 February Putrajaya was declared as a Federal Territory Putrajaya was handed over from the Selangor state authorities.
4 March Breakout of racial riot between Malay and Indian in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
8 September Opening ceremony of the 21st Southeast Asian Games held in Kuala Lumpur
17 September Closing ceremony of the 21st Southeast Asian Games was held in Kuala Lumpur officially closed to dissolved by 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia's Tun Doctor Mahathir Bin Mohamad at 17:30 MST.
2003 31 October Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became the new Prime Minister of Malaysia.
2004 21 March Malaysian general election, 2004: The incumbent National Front government of Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was re-elected with an increased majority.
13 to 29 August Malaysia at the 2004 Summer Olympics was held in Athens, Greece.
2008 8 March Malaysian general election, 2008: Worst result in the history of Malaysia since 1969. Opposition parties had won 82 seats (out of 222 seats in parliament) or 36.9% of parliamentary seats, while BN only managing to secure the remaining 140 seats or 63.1%.
23 May Pedra Branca dispute resolved. Singapore won the sovereignty over Pedra Branca; Malaysia has sovereignty over Middle Rocks, South Ledge belongs to the state in the territorial waters of which it is located.
1 April Formation of Pakatan Rakyat: Formed by the People's Justice Party (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) on 1 April 2008, after the 12th Malaysian general election, having previously formed the Barisan Alternatif (Alternative Front) in the 10th general election. Startle because of the Menteri Besar's issue in Perak.
26 August Permatang Pauh by-election, 2008: Marked the significant return of Anwar Ibrahim to politics after his incasceration of 10 years. Anwar won the election and was sworn into Parliament on 28 August 2008, vowing to topple the government with the help of defectors from Barisan Nasional.
12 December Penang and Malacca City became a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site, citing as the Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca.
2009 3 February 2009 Perak constitutional crisis: Began when three Pakatan Rakyat state legislators defected, causing a collapse of the state government.
2012 6 July Lenggong became a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2014 27 January to 23 September Kajang Move: A political move sought to remove Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and replacing with Anwar Ibrahim. The crisis concluded with the appointment of PKR's Deputy President, Azmin Ali, as the next Menteri Besar of Selangor.
8 March Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared.
17 July Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard.
2015 5 June 18 people were killed in the Sabah Earthquake


  1. Research on the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore, By Faridah Abdul Rashid
  2. Neutron radiography: proceedings of the second world conference, Paris, France, June 16-20, 1986 John Penrose Barton, Commission of the European Communities, D. Reidel, 1987 -928 pages
  3. Andaya, Barbara Watson; Andaya, Leonard Y. (1982). A History of Malaysia. London: MacMillan Press Ltd. pp. 26–28, 61, 151–152, 242–243, 254–256, 274. ISBN 0-333-27672-8.
  4. http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/358901/Majapahit-empire
  5. Majapahit Overseas Empire, Digital Atlas of Indonesian History
  6. Notes on the Larut Disturbances by Khoo Kay Kim, A history of Perak, Sir Richard Olof Winstedt, Richard James Wilkinson, Sir William Edward Maxwell, republished by Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1974, PPiv&v
  7. History of Malaya, 1400-1959, Joginder Singh Jessy, Jointly published by the United Publishers and Peninsular Publications, 1963, P151
  8. A portrait of Malaysia and Singapore, Soo Hai Ding Eing Tan, Oxford University Press, 1978, ISBN 0195807227, ISBN 9780195807226, PP78&123
  9. The Malayan tin industry to 1914: with special reference to the states of Perak, Selangor, Negri, Sembilan, and Pahang by Lin Ken Wong, Published for the Association for Asian Studies by the University of Arizona Press, 1965, P27
  10. "Malayan Emergency", Britain's Small Wars accessed 17 November 2013
  11. Cheah, Boon Kheng (2002-09-30). Malaysia: The Making of a Nation. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 179–. ISBN 978-981-230-175-8. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
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