The territories on Peninsular Malaysia were first unified as the Malayan Union in 1946.
Malaya united with North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore on 16 September 1963 to become Malaysia.
Less than two years later in 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation.
This term was applied to describe the strong current of the river Melayu in Sumatra.
Following the expedition of French navigator Jules Dumont d'Urville to Oceania in 1826, he later proposed the terms of "Malaysia", "Micronesia" and "Melanesia" to the Société de Géographie in 1831, distinguishing these Pacific cultures and island groups from the existing term "Polynesia".
Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms present in the area which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire.
The first British territories were known as the Straits Settlements, whose establishment was followed by the Malay kingdoms becoming British protectorates.It is also one of the few developing countries to subsidise heavily on education and healthcare.Its citizens are entitled to free public education up to secondary education level and public tertiary education fees are subsidised as much as 90%.Disabled, senior citizens and public school students are entitled to free healthcare.Its healthcare services have been highly regarded as one the best in the world and the UN Development Programme has called Malaysia healthcare system "a model to other developing countries".In 2017, Malaysian citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 164 countries and territories, ranking the Malaysian passport 5th most powerful in the world.