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How Malaysia Stole The Name “Malaysia” From The Philippines

How Malaysia Stole The Name “Malaysia” From The Philippines

Tunku Abdul Rahman adopted the name “Malaysia” for his country.

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Many people don’t know that there was once a serious proposal to rename the Philippines as “Malaysia” in the early 1960s.

It started with the Pan-Malayan Consciousness that began during the revolution against Spain in the late 1890s.

Pan-Malayan consciousness refers to a sense of shared identity and cultural heritage among the peoples of the Malay Archipelago.

It includes countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, and parts of Thailand, the Philippines, and East Timor.

According to the Filipino online magazine Esquire, Apolinario Mabini, a prominent Filipino revolutionary leader, educator, and lawyer, spearheaded the proposal.

Mabini was also an educator and lawyer who served as the first Prime Minister of the Philippines during the First Philippine Republic.

It was rooted in the idea of Pan-Malayan Consciousness, a shared sense of cultural heritage and identity among the peoples of the Malay Archipelago.

Philippines Vs. Malaysia: A Race To Adopt The Name

The proposal was already being debated in the Philippines Congress.

Still, Malaysia’s Tunku Abdul Rahman beat them to it by adopting the name “Malaysia” for his country, which eventually became the modern Malaysian state.

The name “Malaysia” is derived from the Malay word “Melayu,” which refers to the Malay people who are native to the region.

On 16 September 1963, the Federation of Malaya merged with the former British colonies of North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore to become the Federation of Malaysia. (Singapore declared independence from Malaysia two years later, in 1965).

This move allowed Malaysia to beat the Philippines to gain the right to use the name “Malaysia.”

A Name That Endures

The Philippines has had its name for nearly 500 years and has had several proposals to change it, but none have been successful.

Over the years, other names considered to replace “Philippines” include the Republic of Maharlika, Luzviminda, and Kapatiran or Katipunan.

However, the name “Philippines”, which is named after King Philip II of Spain, has remained unchanged.

The process of changing a country or city’s name isn’t exactly uncommon. Many other places worldwide have changed their names for one reason or another.

Cambodia was once known as the Khmer Republic and Kampuchea, Sri Lanka was the old Ceylon, Malawi was formerly Nyasaland, Burkina Faso was Upper Volta, and Eswatini was the former Swaziland.

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