• Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


Excavations at Niah in Sarawak, East Malaysia have uncovered evidence of human settlement from 38,000 BC (the oldest relic of homo sapiens in southeast Asia). There are numerous sites in the north of Peninsular Malaysia where evidence of hunter-gatherers has been dated to around 10,000 BC. These Hoabinhians were spread across the region from present-day Myanmar to southern China between 12,000 and 3,000 BC. After 3,000 BC Mon-Khmer speaking immigrants moved south into Peninsular Malaysia and introduced a more advanced Neolithic culture, engaging in simple farming. The indigenous people known as Orang Asli, who still live in the remoter, mountainous areas of the northern Malay Peninsula, are considered to be descendants of the Neolithic farmers. Indian traders first visited the Malay Peninsula in the 1st century BC and introduced political ideas, art forms and the Sanskrit language. Hinduism and Buddhism gained a foothold and were practised alongside traditional animist beliefs.


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Further Reading

  1. Department of Statistics: Kuala Lumpur. Statistics Handbook, Malaysia (2013); Statistics Yearbook, Malaysia (2011); Yearbook of Statistics, Sabah (2012); Yearbook of Statistics, Sarawak (2012); Vital Statistics, Malaysia (2012).Google Scholar
  2. Prime Minister’s Department: Economic Planning Unit. Malaysian Economy in Figures. Annual, 2013Google Scholar
  3. Andaya, B. W. and Andaya, L. Y., A History of Malaysia. 2nd ed. 2001Google Scholar
  4. BNM: Kuala Lumpur. Bank Negara Malaysia, Annual Report. 2013Google Scholar
  5. Drabble, J., An Economic History of Malaysia, c. 1800–1990. 2001Google Scholar
  6. Gomez, Edmund Terence, Politics in Malaysia. 2009Google Scholar
  7. Kahn, J. S. and Wah, F. L. K., Fragmented Vision: Culture and Politics in Contemporary Malaysia. 1992Google Scholar
  8. Stockwell, A. J., The Making of Malaysia. 2005Google Scholar
  9. Swee-Hock, Saw, Malaysia: Recent Trends and Challenges. 2006Google Scholar
  10. National Statistical Office: Department of Statistics, Block C6, Parcel C, Federal Government Administrative Centre, 62514 Putrajaya.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

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