The Pro-West Heritage Idea in Malaya

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2015

8 Pages



P.J. Drake in his writing Currency, Credit and Commerce: Early Growth in Southeast Asia [1] discuss Malaya’s economic structure before 1914 which are fundamental to the economic development of Malaysia today. Before the First World War, Malaya export growth is based on domestic resources and offerings is driven by market opportunity and entrepreneurship. This leads to the importance of short-term trade credit, availability of capital and the reinvestment of profits. The initial driving force of Malaya’s economic development is the government, labor, capital and companies that concentrated in raw materials. International payment systems, financial mechanisms and exchange rate fluctuations play a role in influencing capital investment in Malaya. London is the center of international trade at the time, merchant firms play a role as a British trade representative in Malaya.[2]

Communication and transportation systems are two important aspects in the development of economic, social, administrative and defence of Malaya. British arrival has improved both these systems to facilitate business and investment interests.[3] Malaya's economic development is highly dependent on foreign investment and freedom of foreign exchange is very important to investors. Before gaining independence from the British, Malaysia’s financial system is similar to other British colonies. The most important financial institutions at that time were the commercial banks monopoly by British. Interbank market in domestic currency and foreign exchange developed but there is no long-term capital market. London is a repository of local long-term savings and a major source of long-term funds for investment in Malaya.

While other Malaya’s economic history researchers writing such as Wong Lin Ken (1965),[4] Lim Chong Yah (1967),[5] J.C. Jackson (1968),[6] Yip Yat Hoong (1969),[7] Kernial Singh Sandhu (1969),[8] J.H. Drabble (1973)[9] and A.J. Stockwell (1976)[10] only take certain aspects of the Malayan economy, such as rubber, tin, population and economic characteristics that are different without trying to relate it, this study discusses the economic history of Malaya before 1914 in general. This study takes J.H. Drabble writing (1974)[11] which concluded that the arrival of the British in Malaya did not determine the pattern of economic development that emerged later. "Vent-for-surplus" model from Hla Myint[12] appropriate describes the initial process of Malaya’s economic growth Malaya.

Myint shows two ways how the people of Malaya immerse themselves into the money economy and wages. The first way is to supply agricultural products to the export market. The second way is to get the wages from mines and plantations of foreign ownership that has been established in the country. In Myint analysis, transport is required to open rural areas in Malaya, and foreign export-import firm is also required to act as a mediator between the people and the world market. Government activities, migration events as well as capitals and companies are three powers that spur early growth in Malaya’s early economic. British intervention in Malaya gives advantages to those who want to improve the economy. For example, a new law of the land namely Torren system has affected patterns of economic growth in the Malays and also an element of individualism. In addition, there is an opportunity to borrow money from the government. Better communication system also helps the development of a wide range of commercial activities.[13]

There are thickened Pro-Western idea in the Malay rulers mind Malay during the British colonial era, as shown by the Sultan of Perak on 3 May 1924. He says that although only 50 years old Perak was under British sovereignty, Malaya’s prosperity and progress are rapidly growing under British sovereignty. It caused British administrators are smart, broad-minded and fair such as Sir Frank Swettenham, Sir Hugh Clifford and Sir Ernest Birch. He requires that all Malay teenagers learned English culture, language and idea. He also wants all Malay teenagers to play English game. He personally very fond of polo and hope Malay teenagers will do the same. By talking and playing together, both sides will know each other and understand each other's views. The same thing also expressed by the Regent of Perak on 11 June 1924.[14]

Sultan of Perak next state benefits that have been obtained by Perak since been under British protection 60 years ago. They already have a system of roads and railways as well as good amenities for modern living.[15] Sir Frederick James, a former Straits Settlements Colonial Secretary also like to thank the people of Malaya because along with the British in the face rubber prices depression and fluctuations in the price of tin. Tin is expected to continue to be an important asset of the Federated Malay States. He also proposed the merchant class in Singapore and Penang for donations in the development of the productive forces in Malaya.[16]

British relations with the government of the Malay States will always remain good. This is because they were invited as partners to enter and British intend to retain any existing monarchy in Malaya. British do not have a mandate to change the monarchy to the democratic or popular government. Malay States High Commissioner, Sir Hugh Clifford will not allow any intervention either directly or indirectly involving the political aspirations or commercial materialism against the existence of monarchies in Malaya. Chinese and Indians who entered also under the rights granted by the local government for foreigners in, do business and make a profit as long as they follow the law and behave. Malay land belongs to the Malay community and not those engaged in exploiting its resources even if it brings many benefits.[17] Although the monarchy system of government will continue, the public is entitled to know every government activities, causes of actions undertaken, the principles and rules guiding government policy and methods that will be done to reach the goal.[18]


[1] P. J. Drake, Currency, Credit and Commerce: Early Growth in Southeast Asia, Hampshire, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2004.

[2] Among several important studies on this subject are G.C. Allen & A. Donnithorne, Western Enterprise in Indonesia and Malaya, London, Allen and Unwin, 1957; K.M. Stahl, The Metropolitan Organization of British Colonial Trade, London, Faber and Faber, 1951 and J.J. Puthucheary, Ownership and Control in the Malayan Economy, Singapore, Donald Moore, 1960.

[3] Azharudin Mohamed Dali, Perkembangan Sistem Telekomunikasi di Selangor: Telegraf dan Telefon 1874 - 1896, Kuala Lumpur, Persatuan Sejarah Malaysia, 2001.

[4] Wong Lin Ken, The economic history of Malaysia: a bibliographical essay dlm. Journal of Economic History 25, 1965, pp. 244-262.

[5] Lim Chong Yah, Economic Development of Modern Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Oxford University Press, 1967.

[6] J.C. Jackson, Planters and Speculators: Chinese and European agricultural enterprise in Malaya, 1786-1921, Kuala Lumpur, University of Malaya Press, 1968.

[7] Yip Yat Hoong, The Development of the Tin Mining Industry of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, University of Malaya Press, 1969.

[8] Kernial Singh Sandhu, Indians in Malaya: immigration and settlement, 1786-1957, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1969.

[9] J.H. Drabble, Rubber in Malaya, 1876-1922: the genesis of the industry, Kuala Lumpur, Oxford University Press, 1973.

[10] A.J. Stockwell, The historiography of Malaysia; recent writings in English on the history of the area since 1874 dlm. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 5, 1976, pp. 82-110.

[11] J.H. Drabble, Some thoughts on the economic development of Malaya under British Administration dlm. Journal of Southeast Asia Studies 5 (2), 1974, pp. 199-208.

[12] Hla Myint, The Economics of the Developing Countries, London, Hutchison, 1965.

[13] Anthony Milner, The Invention of Politics in Colonial Malaya: Contesting Nationalism and the Expansion of the Public Sphere, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 117.

[14] Our Own Correspondent., LOCAL WIRES. MALAYS’ TRIBUTE TO BRITISH ADMINISTRATION. in The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 12 June 1924, p. 6.

[15] See Our Own Correspondent, SULTAN OF PERAK’S REMINDER. “A MALAY COUNTRY”. Speech at Opening of New State Council in The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 18 February 1932, p. 8. Kenyataan Sultan Perak statement on16 February 1932.

[16] Our Own Correspondent., MALAYA ASSOCIATION DINNER. SULTAN OF PERAK ON EDUCATION. in The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 30 June 1924, p. 5.

[17] See Anonymous, The Monarchies of Malaya. in The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 17 November 1927, p. 8. Malay States High Commissioner statement, Sir Hugh Clifford on 16 November 1927.


Excerpt out of 8 pages


The Pro-West Heritage Idea in Malaya
National University of Malaysia
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
408 KB
British, Economic, Malay, Malaya, Pro-West Idea
Quote paper
Uqbah Iqbal (Author), 2015, The Pro-West Heritage Idea in Malaya, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: The Pro-West Heritage Idea in Malaya

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free