Malaysia has always been a trading hub. Merchants came from India and China two thousand years ago, the Dutch and Portuguese fought over Malacca in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the British took control in the 18th century.
Malaysia gained independence in 1957 and became the only Federation in South East Asia. It has 13 states and three territories – and its government is based on the Westminster system. Longtime Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohammad modernised the Malaysian economy in the eighties and nineties – and oversaw big infrastructure projects like the Petronas Towers. The 1997 Asian financial crisis dented Malaysia’s progress, but the country recovered faster than its neighbours. In the early days, agricultural and raw materials dominated the economy. Malaysia has evolved into a sophisticated manufacturing hub and produces products such as consumer electronics, semiconductors, and electrical components…and exports them to the world.