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“History has to be rewritten in every generation, because although the past does not change, the present does; each generation asks new questions of the past, and finds new areas of sympathy as it re-lives different aspects of the experiences of its predecessors.” - Christopher Hill. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
Pre-colonial Malay social structure
History has to be rewritten in every generation, because although the past does not change, the present does; each generation asks new questions of the past, and finds new areas of sympathy as it re-lives different aspects of the experiences of its predecessors. - Christopher Hill
Whose history? Which narrator?Exploring Malaysias story18th century A.D. May 13, 1969
With emphasis on ethnicity, class and genderBefore British ColonialismFeudal system Sultans, elite class and peasantsPatriarchal society Subsistence (agricultural) economyGomez, Tracing the Ethnic Divide: Race, Rights and Redistribution in Malaysia. (169) Women in pre-colonial MalayaPeasants:Gender equality was necessary in production: padi work, fish processing, weaving, tradeElites:Women were primarily viewed as sexual commodities confined toreproduction (pg 72)Females with no male heir could rule (e.g. Kelantan, Bentan, Pantani, Acheh.).Women could own slaves or invest in minesSlaves:Sexual exploitation of female slaves was common.Ng, The Organization of Gender Relations in Rural Malay Community.Britains economic interestsIndustrialization prompted Britain to seek new marketsInvention of tin-canning (1810) - demand for tin increasedMalaya had tinAcquisition of major ports: Penang (1786), Malacca (1795), Singapore (1819).Britains Indirect RuleMaking deals with sultansResistance by chiefs/peasant leadersPangkor Treaty (20 Jan, 1874)British resident to advise sultan on all matters except religion and customAt times, Britain used force to obtain control.Political Structures Form(1877) State Councils formed: Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Pahang(1896) The 4 states formed a federal body (FMS).Structure of Malay peninsula by 1914:Straits Settlement (Penang, Singapore, Melacca)Federated Malay States (FMS)Unfederated Malay states (Perlis, Kedah, Trengganu, Johore)
Social Structures FormPatriarchal hierarchy is now centralized and institutionalizedMalay Civil Service staffed almost exclusively by British menMalay Administrative Service staffed predominately by male English-educated Malay bureaucrats and functionaries Clerical service also consisted of English-educated male personnel(Ng, 74-75)Private Property1880s: Torrens Land Law established certified ownership of land, abolishing the previous system based on usage. Many women peasants lost land inheritance due to the male-dominated system. All unused land became property of the state; this was in turn sold cheaply to primarily British capitalists. Peasant farmers often became tenant farmers for rich land owners, thus creating class differentiation. (Ng, 76-77, 79).Economic Demands(1888) Motor companies need rubber to make tires.Wage laborers importedDivide and control; ethnic groups were segregated geographically and occupationallyChinese labored in tin minesIndian laborers imported to clear jungles and build roads; work on rubber estatesMalays remained in rural areas to grow food to feed laborersEconomic role of ChineseIn the region two decades prior to the British: regional trade, agriculture, artisans, tin mining.From 1850-1900, a large immigration movement for labor in tin mines; predominantly urban settlements.Roles of Chinese womenOriginally, they came with husbands, as prostitutes or as domestic slaves.During the 1930s, the Depression and politics in China pushed thousands of Chinese women to immigrate to the Malay Peninsula.Economic role of IndiansInitially recruited to work in sugar and coffee plantations in Penang.Later, British brought Tamils from southern India to work rubber plantations.A minor percentage worked in urban mercantile trade, moneylending and lower civil service occupations.Female Indian labourersFemale workers were not brought in until the late 1920s.Earned less than men. Lower literacy rate, thus often worked on plantations.When positions were cut, women were the first to go.
(Ng, 81)Economic role of Malay peasantsIf peasants lost their land, they often worked for wealthy land owners. Rice was needed to feed the urban population.British held a rubber monopoly, resisting Malay farmers attempts to grow it.Malays had to grow rice:1917 Rice Lands Enactment forced food production1918 Food Production enactmentCapitalism effects womenMen worked to grow cash crops while women maintained subsistence activities at home. Mens work valued more highly than womens. Women were not allowed to tap rubberThe travel and isolation made them vulnerableLocal weavers were put out of work due to the introduction of manufactured goods.
Ng, 78-79Immigrant LabourAwful living conditions and health: malaria, dysentry, beri-beri. Economic Depression (1922-28)Thousands of tin mine workers and rubber state laborers out of a job; some repatriated to China and India.Land ownership and rice growing was restricted by Britain for Malays.Musimgrafik, 78-84Education of the elite1905: Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) established for sons of aristocrats and chiefs.1910: Graduates of this system filled newly formed Malay Administrative Service (MAS)3 effects:Developed and maintained the colonial class structureAn unequal and ethnically divided education systemMaintained gender inequality
(Ng, 82)Education opportunities for women1817: first girls school established (English)An English education had opportunities for secondary or tertiary education.1884: first vernacular (Malay) school for girls in Telok Blanga, Johore.Girls were taught needlework, lace-making, cooking and weaving.1942: Malay Girls College was established.
Global Influences of the early 20th centuryIslamic reform in the Middle EastChinas anti-Manchu movementIndian independence efforts through civil disobedienceIndonesias attempt for independenceSocial ActivismPolitical parties: First Malay political party: Kesatuan Melayu Singapura (SMU) (1926)Communist Party of Malaya (1930)Central Indian Association of Malaya (1936)First Malay left-wing party: KMM Union of Malayan Youths (1937)Unions and strikes: Caxton Press workers (1927), Rubber estate workers (March 1941)Japanese Occupation8th Dec. 1941, Japanese invade Malaya.1st Jan. 1942, CPM founded the MPAJA Malayan Peoples Anti-Japanese Army.Involved all 3 ethnicitiesGrew to 10,000 members15th Feb. 1942, British surrender.Aug. 1945, Japanese surrender.For 4-5 weeks, CPM/MPAJA governed until British reoccupation.British Reoccupy, Sept. 1945British dismantled MPAJA in Dec. 1945Forced Sultans to sign over power; Jan 46 Sir Edward Gent appointed High Commissioner.Britain needed revenue from Malayas tin and rubber industry to pay WWII debtsLabourers were difficult to manage Strikes, shut-outs and work-insMalays organizePKMM or Malay Nationalist Party (Sept. 45)Youth (API)Women (AWAS) 1946Strong anti-colonial and nationalist stance; recruited among Malay rural gentry and peasantry.Height of its membership exceeded 2000Colonial repression resulted in banning of the group in 1948; many detained.MDU (Malayan Democratic Union) (Dec. 45)Becoming a Nation-StateBritains plan: Malayan UnionOppositionIndependence was not included.March 46, UMNO formed.AMCJA/PUTERA peoples constitutional proposalNation-wide hartal 20th Oct 47. Compromise: March congress; UMNO & British.1st Feb. 48, Federation of Malaya replaced United Malayan plan.Political PartiesUMNO (1946)Womens wing: Kaum IbuMIC (1945)MCA (1949)CPM (1951)Alliance (1953)PAS (1955)Emergency (18th June 1948-1960)Emergency Regulations enactedThousands were killed; 34,000 imprisoned without trial; 26,000 Chinese deportedArrested political and militant activistsBanned MCP, MPAJA, and New Democratic Youth League600 New Villages set up (1950-60)
Caldwell, 221-224Toward Merdeka1951 Member System First federal election (1955)Baling Talk28th Dec. 55 CPM and Alliance leaders met; ends in deadlock.Tunku Abdul Rahman and delegation in London: 18 Jan - 6 Feb 56Reid Commission (June 56 - Feb 57)Formulated constitutionDate for merdeka: 31st August 1957.
Gap between rich and poorMost political power - Malay aristocrats Most economic power - ChineseRural Malay were extremely poor. Government assistance for bumiputera: RIDA (1950) later MARAFELDA (1956)FAMA, etc.Malaysian IdentityFederation of Malaysia (1963)+ Singapore, Sarawak and SabahBumiputeraOfficial language debateMalaysian Malaysia vs. Malay Malaysia
1969 General Election ResultsAlliance support had declinedMCA sustained heaviest defeatUMNO support also declinedThe violence on May 13, 1969Official death toll in Kuala Lumpur: 196Three quarters of the casualties were Chinese Malaysians6000 were left homeless after firesCause of such violence?Governments Official Position:Election victory processions by opposition parties incited racial tauntseventual riot in KL.
Another version:Riots were orchestrated from within UMNO.A segment of UMNO wanted to take power from the traditional Malay power holders within UMNO.
Dr. Kua Kia SoongWhose history? Which narrator?How was Malaysia shaped by British systems and structures?
Did these structures affect ethnicity, class and gender? How does this history affect you?
What is your role in shaping social structures?The justification of all historical study must ultimately be that it enhances our self-consciousness, enables us to see ourselves in perspective, and helps us towards that greater freedom which comes from self-knowledge. -Keith Thomas