[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
The Chinese in pre-independent Malaya
The Chinese in pre-independent Malaya
Before the independent in Malaya the word Malays meant:
Javanese, Sumatrans, Indonesians, people from Minangkabau and
many another East Indies island, Arabs and Arab-educated Mahomedans,
as well as Malays proper from Malaya itself.
The word Chinese meant:
half a dozen sub-groups from the southern provinces of China,
but divided by dialect into Hakkas, Cantonese, Hokkiens, Teochew,
Hainanese and other smaller groups, like the Baba Chinese who had
established themselves since the 15th century and spoke Malay and no
Chinese but were proud of being Chinese and had intermarried with the
Malays, the Queen's Chinese or Straits Chinese.
The word Indians meant:
Tamils, Punjabis, Sikhs, Pathans, Bengalis, Ceylonese, Burmese
and many others.
The British created a nation out of these ingredient races
before they left Malaya, but at the cost of the Chinese .
In 1941 the Japanese conquered British Malaya. The Japanese favoured the
Malays and recruited them for police and militial work in order to
suppress the Chinese population in Malaya and Singapore. The Chinese
organized jungle guerrillas to fight the Japanese. The
Malayan-People's-Anti-Japanese-Army was formed. When the Japanese were
defeate this army paraded in most of the towns in Malaya and also in
Singapore. Chin Peng ( his real name is Ong Boon Hua) the leader of MPAJA
was sent to England to take part in the Victory March and he was awarded
the OBE (Order of the British Empire). After the British reoccupied
Malaya they employed those Japanese trained Malays policemen and
militial workers. Former jungle guerrilla leaders were systemtically
arrested and jailed.
The British created a scheme called Malayan Union so that they could
rule Malaya directly without consulting anyone in Malaya. The Malays
were against this scheme and showed desire for independence. The Chinese
were too much involved in the civil war in China.
A second scheme was set up to replace the Malayan Union. This scheme was
very unfair to the Chinese as the British feared that the MPAJA could
establish a Communist Republic in Malaya. The Malays were considered the
Sons of the soil" whereas the Chinese were "Outsiders". In order to
counterbalance the economic power of the Chinese special privileges
were given to the Malays in administrative posts. The Chinese protested
strongly but to no avail.
"Sons of the soil" would automatically become citizens of Malaya. It
was not automatic for the Chinese. Many of the Malays were not born in
Malaya but came from Indonesia or Arab countries.
According to the newly drawn up citizenship regulations the Chinese
must give proof that both their parents were born in Malaya. There were
very few Chinese women in Malaya before the war because, under the British
colonial policy, only man-labour was wanted. So male-Chinese asked for
brides from China. Mothers of most of the Chinese were born in China. The
result of this was that only 375,000 Chinese out of one and half million
in Malaya were eligible for citizenship.
Before independent, which was in August 1957, the population composition
of Malaya including Singapore was 44 per cent Chinese, 41 per cent Malays
and 15 per cent Indians, Eurasian, British and others. The British and
the Malays excluded Singaopre in the newly created Federation of Malaya
as Singapore was 80 per cent Chinese. Thus without Singapore the
percentages wer 45 per cent Malays, 38 per cent Chinese and 17 per cent
Indians and others. At that time this question was always asked:
How do you want the Chinese to become loyal citizens of Malaya when you
start racially discriminating against them?
I don't know much about the present day situation as I had left that
country many years ago.