CHRONOLOGY - Malaysia, fifty years of independence

Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:21pm IST

Team Japan presents fireworks over Malaysia's landmark Seri Saujana Bridge during Malaysia International Fireworks Competition 2007 in conjunction with Malaysia's 50th anniversary of independence, in the administrative capital of Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur August 31, 2007. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

Team Japan presents fireworks over Malaysia's landmark Seri Saujana Bridge during Malaysia International Fireworks Competition 2007 in conjunction with Malaysia's 50th anniversary of independence, in the administrative capital of Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur August 31, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad

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REUTERS - Malaysia marks 50 years of independence from British rule on Friday.

Here is a timeline of key events since independence:

* Aug. 31, 1957: The Federation of Malaya is granted independence from Britain after close to 50 years of colonial rule. Tunku Abdul Rahman becomes the first prime minister.

* Sept. 16, 1963: Federation of Malaysia is formed by Malaya, and neighbouring Sabah (North Borneo), Sarawak and Singapore.

* Aug. 9, 1965: Singapore quits the federation following a disagreement between the leaders of the two states on Chinese communities, leaving Malaysia with 13 states.

* May 14, 1969: A state of emergency is declared and the constitution suspended following violent anti-Chinese rioting.

* Sept. 21, 1970: Tunku Abdul Rahman resigns. Tun Abdul Razak, his chosen successor, is sworn in the following day.

* 1971: Razak's pro-Malay affirmative action policy, the New Economic Policy (NEP), introduced after national soul-searching blames the Malay-Chinese wealth gap for 1969's violent riots.

* Jan. 14, 1976: Tun Abdul Razak dies. Hussein Onn becomes prime minister on Jan. 15.

* July 16, 1981: Mahathir Mohamad succeeds Hussein.

* Dec. 2, 1989: The Malaysian Communist Party formally ends 41 years of armed struggle against the government.

* May-June 1998: Tensions mount between Mahathir and his deputy Anwar Ibrahim, as Anwar calls for reforms.

* Sept. 1: Strict capital controls introduced to buffer the impact of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Country slides into its first economic recession in 13 years.

* Sept. 2: Anwar sacked over alleged corruption and sexual misconduct. Expelled from the United Malays National Organisation (UNMO) party on Sept. 4, he is arrested on Sept. 20, after leading 30,000 anti-government protesters through the capital.

* April 1999: Anwar sentenced to six years in prison for corruption, and a five-year ban from politics. In Aug. 2000 he is handed nine years jail for illegal homosexual activity. He says charges are politically motivated, but loses his appeal against corruption charges in July 2002.

* Oct. 30, 2003: Mahathir steps down after over two decades in power. He soon finds fault with his hand-picked successor, ex-deputy premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

* March 22, 2004: Abdullah begins a five-year term after his coalition government wins a landslide victory.

* Sept. 3: Anwar wins his appeal against his sodomy conviction and is freed from jail after almost six years.

* March 31, 2006: A multi-billion-dollar Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010) is unveiled to tackle rural poverty, promote growth and help Malaysia achieve developed nation status by 2020.

* Aug. 31, 2007: Malaysia marks fifty years of independence.

Sources: Reuters, A Political Chronology of South-East Asia and Oceania

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