The Development of Malay Civilization

Scientific Essay, 2015

6 Pages


The Development ofMalay Civilization

The nobility and royalty in Malaysia nowadays no longer function as do those who are co-equal with them in the past to promote the Malay civilization, especially in the fields of literature, writing and intellectuals. The situation is far different from what is done by the Johor-Riau royalty in past centuries. The Malay society is lucky if figure like Raja Ali Haji exist among royalties now. Raja Ali Haji was not only a leader, he is a historical figure, a literary figure and philologist. Most important of all, he is an author who focuses Islamic elements in his creative works. Raja Ali Haji stressed either one is a king, officer or judge, he shall purify the soul and the body. They are also advised not to overbearing, not violent, not envious, not greedy, not careless, moderation in deeds, not slow down a job, know how to pay tribute and not lighten religious instruction.[1]

The force adjustment should be a feature of Malay civilization to enable it to survive and go forward to the next century. The Malay society must have the courage to adapt it to the changing values ​​of life that clearly hinder progress and at the same time apply the elements of a good into the heritage of civilization. Studies show that successful civilization is a flexible, versatile and adapted to the conditions.[2]

What is important is not history, but history influence that can bring happiness to people. Preserving ancient civilizations should not cause people to become weak and be left behind. Civilization that has not changed, frozen and cannot form the way, new values ​​and practices, for adjustment and the need of time and place, will die and eventually escaped. The desire to revive the characteristics of the old Malay civilization should not be focused on trivial issues that are not helpful but also increase the difference between the Malays and non-Malays.[3]

A concerted effort should be initiated to form the Malay Civilization International Council that will be the driving force for the establishment of a Malay Civilization Institute. The secretariat of the international council can be based in Kuala Lumpur in cooperation with representatives of the Malay states and foreign countries. The institute may in the form of school or research institutions, as well as a museum.[4]

Malay ethnic group that is located on the Peninsula and the islands of Southeast Asia, the islands of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean have a high civilization. Although not all ethnic groups have the same high level of civilization, but obviously there are groups whose civilization can rival civilizations of Central Asia and the Mediterranean Sea. The closer introduction of Malay civilization is importance because people must know what is passed down to them. This will require intellectual honesty. No matter how high though Malay civilization advance, the fact is that it is unable to defend itself against attack and the effects of Western civilization. Western civilization is not only able to seize the Malay territories physically, but the characteristics of the Malay civilization itself was attacked and destroyed so that the Malays will no longer recognize certain aspects of their civilization and consider all available to them is not good.[5]

The question is whether an attack from Western civilization on Malay civilization is good or not? The fact that we have to accept is that a civilization is not formed overnight, but takes a long time, probably hundreds of years to obtain the means, values ​​and practices that are superior. Although defeated by Western civilization and there are certain aspects of Western civilization that took place as part of the Malay civilization, we must be thankful that the Malay civilization still has not lost all of its features. The Malay civilization does not expire and are not dead. It was still alive although it is sometimes difficult to find similarities between the current Malay civilization and the past Malay civilization that was said authentic in the glorious past era. The difference between old and new civilization means Malay civilization is dynamic and viable. We can still recognize Malay civilization that has old characteristics until it can be isolated from other civilizations in this period.[6]

A civilization that brought success in the age does not necessarily bring the same success in another era. Old civilization that remains unchanged will lead to failure if continued. Successful civilization in this era is not one hundred percent reflects the values, characteristics and practices that are fundamental to civilization. If any aspect of civilization which had been preserved from then until now, is due to the ability to adapt to changing times. While we need to maintain some aspects of our civilization, we must also dare to drop the aspects that do not fit with the times and that we pursue excellence. We must have the courage to implement other elements of civilization if it can help us achieve success.[7]

The difference achievements of various civilizations in this period are more significant than the past. There is no longer any society can isolate and ostracize itself from the outside world. The present communication system has made the world from extensive to just a village or a vulnerable global village. Indeed glories of civilization depend on our heritage. Our heritage would not make sense if the beneficiary was not ready to face the challenges. We must face the challenges wisely and responsibly.[8]

The concept of consensus is important in Malay civilization. Individuals in Malay civilization have always been tied to his family. Western democracies that consider individual as important are now affect individuals thought in Malay civilization. In order to mitigate the effects of such changes, the BarisanNasional concept was designed and Pas at a time can be mixed together with Umno in a row. The line concept is a step to adjust Westminster democracy with Malay civilization. Many Malays threw off words ‘let children die as long custom dont die’ like Malay civilization cannot be modified. The confusion stems from a lack of understanding of the custom word. Custom does not mean that the normal rules apply. Its more accurate meaning is customary law or statute. The Malay society has to make changes to the law when the law is obsolete but it should be executed by consensus rather than by confrontation.[9]

The Malay civilization does not recognize the concept of Western democracy leadership shown by Western thinkers. The Malay civilization used the word management. Someone called leader of the Western democracy is usually translated with the word leadership. This is because there is no other word handed down by our ancestors. Are the Malays have accepted the terms of leadership in the context of Western democracies that are able to attract people like buffalo from the example of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin? The Malays had not reached the level of change management concept. Management means holding hands. The challenge of Malay civilization in the context of Western democracy is whether the Malay leadership was still able to lead, that is holding hands with the follower or he went ahead until become so lonely.[10]

For Malay civilization there are two other challenges that should be planned, one is trade. The Malay world before the colonial era was full of business done by the Malays. It shall be the policy of colonial occupation wherever applicable, sooner or later the indigenous people expelled from court business into the agricultural valley. In the Malay archipelago, Malay language is the language of business, that's why it spread to become the lingua franca. If Malay management wants progress, the Malay civilization must recover the spirit and value of business that should be part of the Malay civilization.[11]

Another challenge to the Malay civilization is how science and technology can be used as its core development. This is not meant to choose one or two hundred persons that were given a lesson in science and technology in order to become an expert. It mean science and technology become the breath to the Malay civilization and Malay children are educated from primary school so that what is accepted as technology transfer is not just a transfer of machinery, ie when the equipment was outdated, it was discarded because no one else can make innovation. If you look at history, all civilizations that are stronger over time are developed in science and technology. Islamic civilization reached its peak when Islam is far ahead in science and technology.[12]

Scholars in the Malay Archipelago are urged to cooperate in the investigation of Malay civilization. The time has also come for coordination in study to be inherited properly. In the past a lot of research on Malay civilization was made by Western scholars. As a result the research applies bias and misinterpretation in the history of the region. Now it is time for serious research done by our own scholars because they are more than capable of doing such research. Now is the right time for scholars, especially from Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore to cooperate in the investigation of Malay civilization.[13]

The influence of Malay civilization is not limited only to Southeast Asia, even broader than that. There is evidence that shows the development of Malay civilization up to the Malagasy in the coast of Africa in the west, and reached Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean in the east, about 40 miles from South America. It is also said reached New Zealand, to the south and to Taiwan and Okinawa and Hokkaido Island in Japan. Some studies and research show that since thousands of years before B.C., the Malay-Polynesian race has formed civilization in the Malay world.[14]

Malay language has played a major role as a means of spreading Islam in the golden age of Malay-Muslim civilization in Melaka. In the 15th century, Melaka is a business center for the Malay Archipelago and it controls the Strait of Malacca traffic. Malay language also has reached their peak at the time. History shows that during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah (1455-1477), Tun Perak extend the power of Malacca to Kedah, Terengganu, Johor, Kampar, Bengkalis, Carimon Island and Bintan Island. Malay language itself has evolved through a new system of Jawi writing, and serves as a reservoir of philosophy and new thinking.[15]

Through Jawi writing, Malay literature was initially developed around Islamic literature. This includes writing about the teachings about the law, religious observance and the great figures in the history of Islam. Islam also introduces new knowledge. Among them were connecting to religion, the mind, the practice of Islam and many other matters relating to human. Malacca Sultanate has expanded to become the center of politics and active trading. Despite the defeat at the hands of the Portuguese in 1511, the tradition of Malay-Muslims continued and expanded to other areas. Among them is to Acheh, Palembang, Brunei, Banjarmasin, Kelantan, Pattani and Perak. Among these centers, the most active in efforts to continue the tradition of the Malay-Muslims until the 20th century is Johor-Riau tradition. One reason is that after the fall of Malacca, the Malay government centre moved to Johor and then to Riau and Lingga. After the occupation of Malacca and Singapore and the rest of the Malay Peninsula later by the British and Riau islands and parts of Sumatra to the Dutch has separated the Malay into two. Through this colonization, the relationship between both areas started broken and began to grow with the aspirations of their people.[16]


Anonymous. 1983. Bangsawandululaindarisekarang: Musa. BeritaHarian, 11 December: 1.

Anonymous. 1986. Julung2 kali sejarawanTimur. Barat bersemuka.BeritaHarian, 10 November: 8.

Anonymous. 1989. Main peranansebagaialatsebar agama Islam. BeritaHarian, 2 February: 3.

Anonymous. 1989. Mengembangtamadun. BeritaHarian, 19 August: 4.

Anonymous.1989. TamadunMelayudikaji, dikupas. The Straits Times, 24 August: 5.

Anonymous. 1989. Tamadundibinaolehpimpinan, ekonomidanilmu. BeritaHarian, 24 August: 4.

Mafoot Simon. 1989. Dr. M: PenyesuaianperluuntuktamadunMelayu, BeritaHarian 16 August: 1.

Mafoot Simon. 1989. MajlisantarabangsatamadunMelayu?.BeritaHarian, 20 August: 1.

Mafoot Moss Simon. 1989. Antara gemilangsilamdancabaranharimuka. BeritaHarian 20 August: 4.

Zainal Jamari. 1986. Sarjanaperluselaraskanpenyelidikan. BeritaHarian, 12 November: 6.


[1] Anonymous. 1983. Bangsawan dulu lain dari sekarang: Musa. BeritaHarian, 11 December: 1.

[2] Mafoot Simon. 1989. Dr. M: PenyesuaianperluuntuktamadunMelayu, BeritaHarian 16 August: 1.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Mafoot Simon. 1989. MajlisantarabangsatamadunMelayu?.BeritaHarian, 20 August: 1.

[5] Mafoot Moss Simon. 1989. Antara gemilangsilamdancabaranharimuka. BeritaHarian 20 August: 4.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Anonymous.1989. TamadunMelayudikaji, dikupas. The Straits Times, 24 August: 5.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Zainal Jamari. 1986. Sarjanaperluselaraskanpenyelidikan. BeritaHarian, 12 November: 6.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Anonymous. 1989. Main peranansebagaialatsebar agama Islam. BeritaHarian, 2 February: 3.

[16] Ibid.

Excerpt out of 6 pages


The Development of Malay Civilization
National University of Malaysia
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Civilization, Malay, Scholar, West
Quote paper
Uqbah Iqbal (Author), 2015, The Development of Malay Civilization, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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