Coming of British in Malaysia
Since the 17th century, English traders had been introduce in Malay Waters till the entered of the British European power came to be entirely obvious in Malaysia. More and more British traders came to Malay States as a result of expanding trade activities in Southeast Asia at the time. British concerned about mainly economic and small concern in territorial control before the mid-19th-century. The British look toward southeast Asia for new resources after they were the most powerful coloniser in India. The Company’s desire increased by reason of the developing of the China trade in British ships for bases in the region. Different islands were used for this objective and the first constant procurement was Penang which hire from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786. This tack shortly after the mendacity of territory on the Province Wellesley. During the Napoleonic Wars in year 1795, the British occupied Dutch Malacca to forestall possible French interest in the area with the assent of the Netherlands.
Stamford Raffles, the British governor, looked for an alternative base when Malacca was handed back to the Dutch in 1815, and in 1819, he acquired Singapore from the Sultan of Johor. The British colony of Bencoolen exchange for Malacca with the Dutch left the British as the sole colonial power on the peninsula. British hegemony in Malaya was formalised by the Anglo-Dutch Treaty in 1824, which divided the Malay archipelago between Britain and the Netherlands.
British Intervention in the Malay States
The British government employed a policy of non-intervention in the Malay states before 1873 year, as it was considered undesirable as it could bring about collision, declare the resources of Britain and destroy the commerce. Making boot through peaceful commerce was their major benefit. Yet, in 1870s, the Industrial Revolution established a need for a sustained supply of raw materials for the dilation of industries. As the tin-plating and tin-canning industries grew, the requirement for tin keep on to ascend, so the British expect for place that had rich tin deposits. Finally, the British looked to Malaya that Malaya could also play the role as markets for British goods.
In the 1870s, when the main tin-producing states of Malaya. Especially Perak, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan proficient extensive anarchy, the intervention turn into even more essential. There were constant internal disorder brought by feuds between Chinese secret socities and series controversy among the Malays, making the local government weak and unstable. Another problem was piracy off the Malayan coast. The involution was harmful to British commerce and the Straits merchants began to clamour for British.
In 1869, the opening of the Suez Canal raised European interest in overseas dilaiton as the East-West path was shortened. Since most of the territories which depose along the way had either been colonized by other powers or had harmonious commerce with Britain, it became necessary for the British to intervene in the Malay states to ensure the security of their commerce path to the East.The British also dreaded intervention by other foreign power such as French, Dutch, Germans and the Americans
British intervention in the politics of the Straits Settlement (SS)
After the Pangkor Agreement which was signed on 20 January 1874, the British intervention in the Malay States was most distinctly. However, the British intervened in the politics of Malay States can be turn back to an earlier period, like the occupation of Penang and Singapore and the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.
From the late of 18th century, the British started to expand their power over the Malayan Archipelago situated in Southeast Asia through trade. The intervention in the Malay States was started by the British East India Company (BEIC) which the purpose is to promote and protect its lucrative trade route between India and China. The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 gave the British control over the Straits of Malacca and created the contemporary boundary between Indonesia and Malaysia.
The Occupation of Penang Island
When the British come to Malayan Archipelago at the late of 18th century, Sir Francis Light reached the island of Penang. However, Sir Francis Light was not a representative of the British government , he was no powers to act on behalf of the government. Sir Francis Light was a captain in the Honourable East India Company, the chartered company that established British rule in India.
Sir Francis Light went to Penang in April 1771, he was representing the firm of Jourdain, Sulivan and de Souza to seek trade and was to seek the Sultan of Kedah’s permission to open up trade to British company. The sultan proposes a trade settlement in return for the British help and protection. However, the missions were failed as for Kedah the company was unwilling to give any promises that might involve military commitments and the Sultan fears Siamese reaction to his possible treaty with the English. In 1784, Francis Light met Sultan Abdullah of Kedah, who was the father of Sultan Muhammed Jiwa. Sultan Abdullah faced political conflict when he agreed to the proposal, but he argued that military aid from the British East India Company would help if the Siam attacked on Kedah. The Sultan Abdullah was paid 30000 Spanish Dollars as compensation. The sultan agreed for the establishment of a trading port in Penang.
The Occupation of Singapore
In 1818, Sir Stamford Raffles was appointed Governor-General of Bencoolen. He proposed his idea which found a replacement further South to counter the Dutch to the Governor-General of India. After Sir Stamford Raffles getting the green light, he started to look for a suitable new trading post South of Malacca. Months of researched, he reached Singapore, an island at the tip of the Malay Peninsula. Singapore possessed a natural deep harbour which was also located along the main trade route between India and China. Most importantly, unlike other islands in the region, Singapore was not occupied by the Dutch.
On 29 January 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles arrived in Singapore on board the Indiana and met the local Temenggong (chief). On 6 February 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles settled at Singapore when he took advantange of the dispute between Tengku Hussin and the Yang Dipertuan Muda of the Johor Sultanate. Raffles signed an official treaty with the Johor Sultan and the Temenggong to secure the control of Singapore for the British. In return, the Sultan and Temenggong would receive a yearly stipend from the British.
Local Community Reaction to British Occupation
(Pic by British Government)
The inhabitant of Malaya were pleased to struggle and immolate their lives to release their homeland. Although they were once protectorates of Siam, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Perlis frequently start attacks to struggle for their freedom.
Moreover, the Sultanate of Melaka also frequently fought the Portuguese in Melaka to restore what was rightfully to theirs.
The Resident system
Residential system is the system of governing with assistance from a Resident. Generally, the resident advised the Sultan on all matters except those to do with Malay customs or religion. In theory, the Resident was supposed to only advise the Sultan on government matters. In practice, the Resident governed in the name of the Sultan.
There are many role of the Resident .First, sultans should consult Residents on all matters except those to do with Malay customs or religion. Second, they should advise on the collection and control of revenue. Third, responsible for setting up systems for more efficient collection of the state’s revenue. Fourth , encourage economic growth in the state to create maximum wealth. Last role of the Resident is to restore and maintain peace in the state.
Residential system in Perak, J.W.W Birch who is the Perak’s 1st Resident in November 1874. He made changes in terms of economic, administrative, and social reforms. He introduced new taxes and license fees. Resulted in a decrease in the chief’s led to great resentment. The Sultan and chiefs felt that the British should not have a say in the matter of debt slavery as it was a Malay custom. The resentment resulted in his death at Pasir Salak at the hands of Dato Maharajalela, Dato Sagor and Pandak Ingut.Residential system in Pahang, Pahang was the last state to receive a Resident. British took the opportunity to place a resident when the murder of a British Chinese person, Goh Hui occurred.
Residential system in Negeri Sembilan, Martin Lister appointed after the power clash at Sungai Ujong between Dato’ Kelana and Dato’ Bandar. P.J.Murray as the first Resident of Sungai Ujong.
Residential system in Selangor, J.G Davidson appointed as resident after the Perang Klang, after a British trsde ship and lighthouse was attacked. Frank Swettenham as his assistant.
There are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Resident system.The advantages of resident system is it creates peace, Advancement in the transport system, state income increased and slavery system abolished completely. While the disadvantages of Resident system is sultan loses power, no uniformity of government, socioeconomic gap between races and economy exploited by European and Chinese investors.
The Straits Settlements (SS)
Straits Settlements, previous British crown colony on the Strait of Malacca, consist of four trade centres, Penang, Singapore, Malacca, and Labuan.established or taken over by the British East India Company. The British settlement at Penang was founded in 1786, at Singapore. Malacca occupied by the British during the Napoleonic Wars in 1819 and was transferred to the East India Company in 1824. The three territories were publicly known as a crown colony in 1867. Labuan, which turn into part of Singapore Settlement 1907, was compose a fourth seperate settlement in 1912.
The Federated Malay States (FMS)
The Federated Malay States was a federation of four protected states in Malay Peninsula- Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan dan Pahang, established by Bitish government in 1895, which lasted until 1946.Rapid growth of the tin trade from around the mid-19th century had brought with it an influx of Chinese labour to the tin-producing west coast states of Perak, Selangor, and Negri Sembilan. The British, responding to sections of the Straits Settlements trading community who were financing the mines, intervened to safeguard and strengthen their commercial interests in lands that they perceived to be rich in natural resources.
The Unfederated Malay States (UFMS)
(Pic by Bukhrin at English Wikipedia)
Great Britain signed a secret treaty known as the Burney Treaty with the Kingdom of Siam through the East India Company. The rulers of the four northern and eastern Malay states, Kedah, Perlis, Trengganu, and Kelantan, were not present during the signing of the agreement. In 1909, the Anglo-Siamese Treaty was signed by the same parties and through it Siam agreed to give up its claim over Kedah, Perlis, Trengganu, and Kelantan, which formally came under British control, while Pattani remained Siamese territory.
In conclusion, colonisation has left many legacies to the present world in the fields of language, culture, architecture and environment. Many types of foods, animals and vegetables were introduced to new lands anytime the colonisers explored a new land. Like our topic the British colonisation of Malaya brought profound changes, transforming the states socially and economically. The Malayan sultans retained their symbolic status at the apex of an aristocratic system, although they lost some political authority and independence. The British believed that the Malay needed to be protected from economic and cultural change and that traditional class divisions should be maintained. Although after the defeat of Japan, the Malay Peninsula was placed under British rule once more, the locals had now become aware of their own strength and the spirit of nationalism grew within them and finally allowed them to achieve independence. Today, many Malaysians overlook the past as we move forward into the future. However, we must not forget the events of the past that have helped us to develop and achieve the peace and independence we have today.