03 August 2015

Yaacob Was Wrong: Malays Not Majority in Malaysia Before Singapore's Expulsion

When Singapore was expelled from Malaysia, the Malays in Singapore went overnight from being part of a majority community in Malaysia (before 9 August 1965) to a minority community in Singapore (from 9 August 1965 onward), according to Minister in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim[1].

Dr Yaacob should have checked his facts.

As former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew wrote[2]:

I tabulated the population figures based on the last census: 39 per cent Malays, 42 per cent Chinese, about 10 per cent Indians and Pakistanis, 7 per cent Ibans, Kadazans, Kayans, Kelabits and others in North Borneo, and the rest Eurasians, Ceylonese [Sri Lankans], etc.… I reduced it to a simple formula: 40-40-20.

Not only were the Malays not the majority ethnic group in Malaysia from 16 September 1963 to 8 August 1965, even if the Ibans, Kadazans, Kayans, Kelabits and others in North Borneo were somehow included (and it would have been wrong to consider them to be Malays), they were not the largest ethnic group.

Unlike the minority communities in some countries, the Malays in Singapore progressed because neither the Government nor the majority community subjected them to discriminatory policies or practices.


1. Staying True to Faith and Culture will Help Malay Community Face Challenges in Future: Yaacob The Straits Times 31 Jul 2015.

2. LEE KUAN YEW The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew.

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