Workshop: Looking East at Sabah and Sarawak



The Federation of Malaysia was created on 16 September 1963 through the merging of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak. Where ethnic demographics were concerned, Sabah and Sarawak, with their large native populations, helped to balance Singapore’s predominantly Chinese population. But when the original configuration of the federation broke down in 1965 and Singapore went its own way, the ethnic balance changed dramatically. The Sabahans and Sarawakians now found themselves small minorities within an increasingly Malay Muslim-dominated country. A gradual centralisation of power did in fact ensue, and more than half a century after the merger, Sabah and Sarawak are among the poorest states in the federation. Not only are Bumiputra minorities economically impoverished, they are also politically marginalized and their identities and languages threatened by aggressive assimilation policies implemented by the central power.

The Malaysia Studies Programme (MSP) at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute is pleased to present this one-day forum to discuss the situation of these East Malaysian states. We gather prominent scholars to speak on themes such as the politics and economics of federal-state relations; poverty and human development among the Orang Asal; the emergence and consolidation of Malay Muslim dominance; the social dynamics of the Chinese vote in Sarawak; customary native land rights; bumiputra minorities’ identity formation in the larger context of nation-building; and porous borders and (in)security in Sabah.

As attached here.

Attendance is free of charge but registration is required. Please register early as seats are limited.
To register, please complete and email the attached Registration Form to <> by 1 December 2015.


Dec 04 2015


8:30 am - 5:00 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2