Monday, May 13, 2013


Today, as also in the colonial times, Malays remain well-protected in all spheres of life. Islam, the religion of the Malays, is well protected in the constitution as the official religion. Proselytizing any other religion to Muslims is a legal offence although Islam may be propagated to others without any problem....the British made this law in the peninsula a long time ago. Malays are and have always been very sensitive in this matter. Such are the laws of the country that have been accepted all these years. Malay as the national language is guaranteed and enshrined in the constitution. Customary practices of the Malay peoples and their royalty are also unquestionable.

Today, all the major components of the state machinery such as the civil service, the armed forces, the police and all other major enforcement agencies are completely under Malay control. Malay political dominance since Merdeka remains. All the sultans are Malays too as are the Menteri Besars. The top brass of the armed forces and police and judiciary are all Malays. The Malay Civil Service has always been in Malay control even during British “rule” and till today. I have never heard of non-Malay District Officer, Penghulu or even a Ketua Kampung. So recent questions such as what do the Chinese want some more can be thrown back at the Malays with equal validity. Even before Merdeka, affirmative action for Malays has always been there.

If Indians and Chinese migrated over here it was done under full British auspices with permission of the Malay rulers. The British were only interested in trade initially and had the East India Company doing it here - nothing more than a mere commercial initiative. Seeing the formidable military power that the British had, the various Malay rulers slowly sought their protection against their foreign as well as political foes or rivals to the throne - Siam, the Bugis, Javanese, the Dutch and just about any perceivable threat to themselves such as rivalry in ascension to the thrones.

The British in return for the favors of the sultans took real good care of them by giving pensions (monetary reward for no work done), building stone palaces for the first time, westernizing them with cigar and wine and polo etc. The Johor royalty for example still exhibits much of such British tradition in the official dressing and even handle-bar mustaches of older times. All such things immensely favored and pleased the Malay rulers who then "allowed" the British to “maharajalela” over here. In such a scheme of things, the Malay peasantry was not involved at all to the extent of even neglect one might say.

The British also "protected" Malay interests by instituting many other things like elite Malay schools ( MCKK), gazetted Malay reserves and customary lands, cleaned up old methods of governance, taxation and modernized the country albeit for Malayan rubber and tin initially. As the British too did not want any civil unrest or anarchy that would adversely affect their trade the British always “obliged” again and again in such matters. Again all they did over here was always with the Malay rulers' knowledge, consent and assent.  In this way the British put in place a better system of governance and enforced it. Much of this system still remains

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