Much of Malaysia’s history can be viewed via a geographic lens. Maritime trading kingdoms such as Malacca and Johor-Riau owe a large part of their success to convenient locations along India-China shipping routes. Tropical climate and appropriate soil further added to a confluence of factors that made Malaya a desirable region to establish British colonies. Indeed, according to Professors Jomo K.S. and Wee Chong Hui (2014), Malaya was Britain’s most profitable colony in the immediate post-war period1, contributing much of the export earnings that financed British post-war reconstruction. The British introduced non-native rubber and (subsequently) oil palm to Malaya, which took hold and became the engine of the Malaysian economy.
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