Timothy White's 1996 Kinema overview of Malaysian cinema, though convoluted in parts, does provide an adequate history of the "Golden Age" of Malaysian cinema plus an interesting thesis that much of Malaysian cinema was influenced by the Japanese occupation in the early '40s. Though admitting Japan's occupation of Malaysia was horrific, White opines that one of the few benefits of the occupation was this infusion and influence of Japanese cinema on Malaysian cinema, helping it evolve past provincial forms. The irony of all this, however, is that "it may be that at least some of the stylistic and narrative features of the classical Hollywood cinema, which had a strong impact on Japanese films before the outbreak of World War 2, may have entered Malaysian cinema through these Japanese films seen during the Occupation."
David Neo at Screening the Past reviews William Van Der Heide's Malaysian cinema, Asian film: border crossings and national cultures.
Dr. Khoo Gaik Cheng writes about the burgeoning Malaysian independent film movement. Her article for Aliran Monthly provides a brief overview and a sidebar of websites where information on Malaysian cinema can be further gleaned. My favorite among them is Kakiseni.com which boasts "a foot in the Malaysian arts scene" and which is really a well-mounted online magazine.