This period also saw the rise of "ultras" who advocated a one-party government led by UMNO, and an increased emphasis on the Malays being the "definitive people" of Malaysia — i.e. The riots caused a major change in the government's approach to racial issues, and led to the introduction of an aggressive affirmative action policy strongly favouring the Malays, the New Economic Policy (NEP).
The National Culture Policy, also introduced in 1970, emphasised an assimilation of the non-Malays into the Malay ethnic group.
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Article 160 unites Malays from different ethnic groups as the prevailing race and thus embraces them with the political prowess to dominate and rule over other races: Chinese, Indians, Kadazan, Iban, Orang Asli etc.
This is also apparent from the name of UMNO (United Malays National Organisation), who are a staunch political proponent of this role.
Though this definition is not according to ancestry lineage, it is however correct in the sense of social behaviours.
Culture, which controls a great proportion of general mentality and social behaviour, is succeeded through the mother tongue and religion.
The beginning of the first Millennium saw the rise of ancient Malay states in the coastal areas of Malay peninsular, notably the Red Earth Kingdom (1st century), Gangga Negara (2nd century), Langkasuka (2nd century), Kedah (2nd century) and Pahang (5th century).
Between 7th and 13th centuries, many of these small, often prosperous peninsular maritime trading states became part of the Srivijaya empire, By 15th century, the Malacca Sultanate, whose hegemony reached over much of the western Malay archipelago, had become the centre of Islamization in the east.Malay nationalism as an organised political movement existed since the invasion by foreign powers.However, the ethnic Chinese and Indian immigrants, forming a minority of the population, did not see themselves as Malayans.During the 1960s, there was a substantial effort challenging ketuanan Melayu led by the People's Action Party (PAP) of Singapore — which was a state in Malaysia from 1963 to 1965 — and the DAP after Singapore's secession.However, the portions of the Constitution related to ketuanan Melayu were "entrenched" after the race riots of , which followed an election campaign focused on the issue of non-Malay rights and ketuanan Melayu.However, during the 1990s Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad rejected this approach, with his Bangsa Malaysia policy emphasising a Malaysian instead of Malay identity for the state.