Malay Nationalism in Malaya Essay

1648 WordsSep 13, 20127 Pages
“The rise of Malay Nationalism was a result of British colonial rule.” Do you agree with this statement? Malay nationalism in Malaya refers to the ideological movement for the attainment and maintenance of autonomy, sovereignty, unity and identity of the Peninsula-centric Malay nation. There were several stages to the rise and development of Malay nationalism in Malaya, the first being the buds of Malay ethnic consciousness and a progressive awakening of a one Malay community (bangsa Melayu) – a notion that was built on common cultural traits, namely religion and language, mostly propagated and promoted by elites and intellectuals. This allowed for the self-identification of the Malays as members belonging to the Malay nation where an intense bond of solidarity towards the nation, as well as other members of the nation, would be fostered, an emergence of nationhood. This was the driving force that compelled the Malays – members of the Malay nation – to unite in causes to protect and uphold the interests of their Malay community that were put under threat by British policies implemented during the British colonial period between 1874 and 1957, marking the surge in Malay nationalism. One prominent British policy that threatened the interests of the Malays was the Malayan Union. The Malayan Union was implemented in 1946 and abolished in 1948 due to strong opposition by the Malays. Firstly, the Malayan Union undermined the Malay traditional political system – the ruler-centric kerajaan system – by reducing the political position and status of the Malay rulers as the Sultans would have to resign their powers, except in religious matters, to the British Crown. The kerajaan system was challenged due to the differences in the Malay and British political beliefs. While the Malays believed that the Sultans should have absolute rule and govern with religious codes in

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