Indonesia, Malaysia's giant neighbour to the south, is more than a frequent source of haze, illegal migrants, maids and terrorists.

Like China and India, Indonesia is an influential neighbour of Malaysia. Also like China and India, Indonesia's influence on Malaysia has not been only confined to cultures, languages, ideologies, popular fashions and religions, but also foreign policies and conduct of international relations.

Given the geographical propinquity between Malaysia and Indonesia, the many people-to-people contacts and inter-governmental relations are long-standing, multi-faceted as well as very emotive.

Historically, the first Malay-Muslim polity in Peninsular Malaysia was founded in Malacca in about 1400 by the fugitive prince Parameswara who fled Palembang in Sumatra after a failed power struggle. Many other peoples in what is now known as Indonesia had since followed suit for all kinds of reason and purpose. Chinese and Indians also came to trade, work or settle in Peninsular Malaysia at almost the same historical period.

During the colonial period, the influx of the peoples from Indonesia (then called Dutch East Indies) as well as China and (British) India continued with even larger scale, making Peninsular Malaysia one of the most cosmopolitan society at the beginning of the 20th century. Also, while the colonial authorities co-operated to suppress anti-colonial ideas and activities, many people from Indonesia, China and India also networked with each other in the area to strive to free themselves from British and Dutch colonial rules.

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