The Malayan Union History

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In 1945, the Japanese surrendered and the Second World War ended. The period between the Japanese surrender and the return of the British to Malaya gave the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) the opportunity to take over the government in Malaya. History shows that the MCP got to control Malaya for 14 days. During that time and from time to time thereafter its members created trouble and chaos. Later, the British returned to Malaya in September 1945. To restore peace, the British Military Administration (BMA) was established.

In the chaos military rule was felt necessary. The military system of administration did not last and in its wake the British proposed a new system of administration known as Malayan Union. In January 1946, the Constitution of the Malayan Union was passed and on 1 April 1946 the Malayan Union was officially proclaimed, with Edward Gent as the first Governor. (Nazaruddin Hj Mohd Jali 2003, Malaysian Studies 2010 :30) The main objective of the British in introducing the Malayan Union was to ensure that the economic interests of the British in Malaya were protected.

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Therefore the British felt in order to protect their interest, a standardize administration under one ruling system (Malayan Union ) were needed. With the idea of one ruling system could do more efficient administrative beside cut down cost. At the same time, with this system may strengthen up the defense after the chaos in the internal states. The British also trying to united all races become one races to ensure the labor force and the investment of their interest are in secure and reliable.

In Malayan Union proposed, British had stated that their ultimate objective was to grant independence to the country. It was also said that the British deliberately set up the Malayan Union because of the hatred some British officer had against Malays for supporting Japanese during their Occupation Malaya and instead felt grateful to MPAJA (in particular the Chinese) who opposed the Japanese. Therefore the British needed to ensure they can control Malays political power. The Malayan Union that was proposed made up of the nine Malay states included Penang Island and Malacca.

The Malayan Union did not involve Singapore which thus states still remained as British colonial territory under the rule of a British Governor General, who was also above the Governor of the Malayan Union. The governor of the Malayan Union was the chief administrator, with its centre in Kuala Lumpur. There are two council will assist Governor to executed governmental task which are an Executive and Legislative Council. The Malay rulers only advised the Governor, while their sovereignty as rulers of their own states was wiped off.

The rulers’ authority was only in issue pertaining to Islam and the head of the Malay Council of Advisors. The States Council was retained for purposes of managing the local government, but was still subjected to control by the central government. About citizenship was based on the principle of jus soli. Through this principle, Malayan citizenship was obtained if the foreigner was 18 and above, and had resided in Malaya for 10 out of a period of 15 years before 15 February 1942. The citizenship also will be given to a person who was born in Malaya after the forming of the Malayan Union.

There will be equal rights for all citizens regardless of race and origin. This includes the entry into government service and the right to vote in the general election. (Nazaruddin Hj Mohd Jali 2010-pg31) There are many reason from the opposition against the Malayan Union and caused the plan failed to be executed. The Malays generally strong opposed the creation of the Malayan Union. The opposition was due to the methods Sir Harold MacMicheal used to acquire the Sultans’ approval. The implementation of the Malayan Union administration have impact on the reduction of the Sultans’ powers.

Among the Malays the ruler is the supreme head and has the power to protect them. The ruler’s loss of power meant the lost of Malay power. Also another issue is regarding the granting of citizenship to non-Malay immigrants and their descendants especially the ethnic Chinese, not only because of their racial and religious difference but also because their economic dominance was seen as a threat to the Malays. (Nazaruddin Hj Mohd Jali 2010-pg32) The non-Malay were not so interested in the Malayan Union, accusing it being colonial and undemocratic.

They lost interest because of the British decision to postpone the enforcement of the citizenship right. Their spirit of nationalism was still in the direction of their country of origin. They voiced their dissatisfaction over the press because it did not include Singapore. (Nazaruddin Hj Mohd Jali 2010-pg33) When there is proposed of the Malayan Union after World War 2, the communal feelings and hostility still existed between the Malays and the Chinese as a result of the Japanese Occupation. The conditions in Malaya then were still not really peaceful.

The Malayan Union was accused of putting the Malays at a disadvantage and favouring the non Malay. (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Malayan_Union) In another hand, it is known that the Union was drawn up in London and the idea was first expressed by the British on October 1945. The plan is proceeds without taking into account the situation and wishes of the people in Malaya. There was also strong objection to the use of political blackmail to get agreement signed. This is few of the factors why the British have done bad introduction and make the people of Malaya not satisfied.

It is also surprised that opposition against Malayan Union also came from former British officers in Malaya such as Frank Swettenham, R. O Winstedt, George Maxwell and Cecil Clementi Smith. This all former resident were familiar with Malay culture, voiced their objection through the press in London urging the British to protect the interests and the special rights of the Malays. It was even said that because of the objection from the former British officers, the British abolished the Malayan Union.

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The Malayan Union History. (2017, Mar 07). Retrieved from

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