The project for the formation of this state was first advanced in May 1961 by Prince Abdul Rahman, Prime Minister of Malaysia, perhaps at the suggestion of the same British authorities who saw in it the possibility of carrying out the process of decolonization of their Asian territories. giving birth to a friendly state strong enough to withstand any pressure from surrounding countries. The contacts and negotiations between the parties were carried out quite painfully for about two years. The difficulties and disagreements between the countries directly concerned were immediately joined by those of an external nature. The Philippines, in fact, claimed northern Borneo as an ancient dependence of the sultanate of Sulu; Indonesia, for its part, denounced the project as a neo-colonial maneuver and supported the nationalist elements of northern Borneo. In December 1962 AM Azahari, a politician of the Sultanate of Brunei, provoked with the support of Indonesia a revolt aimed at creating an independent state in northern Borneo (Kalimantan Utara). However, the revolt was disavowed by the Sultan of Brunei and quickly quelled by British troops.
The interested parties reached an agreement with the London Agreement of 9 July 1963 and on 16 September the new state was formed, a federation of which the eleven states of the previous Malaysian Federation were members, plus Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo. which took the name of Sabah. Brunei refused at the last moment to join, above all due to differences of an economic nature connected with the presence in the sultanate of important oil fields. In subsequent years, as Filipino hostility faded in practice and,, the Indonesian one, Malaysian political life was characterized by persistent internal difficulties especially due to the antagonism between the Alliance, a tri-ethnic front (Malaysian, Chinese, Indians) led by Prime Minister Abdul Rahman, and the Popular Action Party which, under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew, controlled the Singapore electorate. Thus, on 9 August 1965, the agreed exit of Singapore from the Federation was reached. In 1969, serious racial incidents broke out in the capital Kuala Lumpur that led the government to temporarily suspend political guarantees. Later the situation normalized and the 1974 elections recorded the success of the National Front, a broad interracial coalition of parties dominated by the UMNO (United Malays National Organization), led by Abdul Razak, whose death (1976) was succeeded by Hussein Onn who had to to face the resumption of guerrilla warfare and political unrest in the state of Kelantan where the state of emergency was introduced. In 1981 Mahathir Mohamad, also a member of UMNO, became prime minister. ASEAN and with Japan, to the detriment of traditional links with Great Britain.
In 1984, according to aceinland, the Sultan of Johor was elected king, who immediately clashed with the more liberal Mahathir Mohamad, who still managed to remain at the helm of the country. Despite the ethnic tensions, Mahathir in fact knew how to pass the electoral tests both legislative (1986) and party (1987, with illegality that led to a re-foundation of political formation), to be finally reconfirmed in his functions by the consultations of October 1990 Moreover, in 1989 the political scene saw the relevant innovations of the dismantling of the military force of the Malaysian Communist Party, which had been active for four decades, and of the establishment of the Muslim United Front, subject to fundamentalist influences. In March of the same year, the Sultan of Perak, Azlan Muhibuddin Shah, was elected head of the Federation, succeeded in 1994 by Tuanku Jaafar Abdul Rahman, Sultan of Negeri-Sembilan. In the same year, with the resignation of the prime minister of Sabah, a long controversy ended which had opposed that state to federal institutions with serious risks of separation. The only serious danger for a system so little permeable to modifications could perhaps come from the religious ferments that in the Nineties had invested most of the Muslim countries. But the reactivity of the Malaysian institutions was also immediate towards Islamic groups suspected of political interference, leading to the dissolution of the powerful Sufi sect Al-Arqam whose assets were confiscated (August 1994). In this situation, the electoral result which in 1995 confirmed the victory of the Front and, within it, of the UNMO, ensured the continuity of the Malaysian system and Mahathir could continue with his program of strengthening the powers of the executive. At the end of 1997, in order to face the serious financial crisis that had hit the whole of Southeast Asia, the government was forced to adopt severe measures to restrict public spending. In 1999, with strong electoral propaganda against the opposition, formed by the National Justice Party, whose leader Anwar Ibrahim, was expelled from the government in 1998 and arrested for corruption, and by the Muslim Party, accused of wanting to establish a Islamic Republic, the Front once again won the political elections, reconfirming Mahathir as Prime Minister. In 2001 he was elected head of the Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Federation. In 2003, Mahathir, after being in office for 22 years, left the post of prime minister to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. In the legislative elections of March 2004, the National Front, led by Badawi, won again, while the Muslim party, in opposition, suffered a clear loss of support. In 2009 AA Badawi resigned and was replaced by his deputy Njib Tun Razak.