In between 1854 to 1862 the infamous Dr. A. R. Wallace...who contributed to the theory of 'Natural Selection' after Darwin's theory of evolution spent his years around the 'Malay Archipelago'...researching
But from his experience as he accounted during his voyage in early Malaya in his research...although he had much British currency at the time of his voyage...quite often Dr. AR Wallace and his team also had to go long periods without food and starvation as he often...in his encounters with early Malay settlers and villagers...had to find gifts or items or even 'commodities' found within the jungle during his scientific expeditions to be heavily bargained and bartered in exchange for 'rice' and 'food' from the early Malay farmers who did not use currencies for trade...
Some even say that it was the comparison he made between the differences of British Civilization and the Malay Civilization at that time, was what made him come-up with the theory of 'natural selection' where when a 'species' cannot and fails to evolve...nature selects it to go 'EXTINCT'.
Ironically in accordance to some of the early research data shown from the book 'Selangor Dahulu dan Kini' published in 1985 also illustrates some of the same problems faced by the Malays which resulted in the lost of early 'Malay Reserve' or 'Bumiputra' land... seen in the 'differences' between advances of Civilization, Education and Technological knowledge.
The book 'Selangor Dahulu dan Kini' illustrates the fact of how Malays come originally from a purely 'self-sufficient', 'self-consuming' agricultural or fishing based villages were in-fact what economist term...Non-Market Economies... or 'barter' trades...without the utility of any commonly denominated or accepted 'coins' or 'currencies' or even the use of a 'centralized' and 'organized markets' for exchanges of goods with proper price mechanisms...
As this academic book illustrates concerning the early growth of the very first Malay Cooperative Village societies and companies for the Processing of 'rice' in the district of Sabak Bernam. 1 of the major problems faced was due to the fact that majority of factories or factory owners for the processing of rice in mass quantities were owned by Chinese early settlers and entrepreneurs, as Industrialization and the use of mechanization had long been utilized in China for the processing of rice before Malays knew or learned about manufacturing and industrial processing.
The traditional village Malay was at a 'disadvantage' in so many ways, as in-fact it was the colonist and British who introduced 'mass agriculture' and techniques through the opening-up of plantations for commodities which to the average Malay may not have much value, but had reaped the British Empire great amasses of wealth for reselling in London and in the markets of Europe unloaded upon the ports of Amsterdam.
The British, after the Dutch also introduced the usage of 'currency' as a form of trade in everyday life...something which only early Javanese, Arab, Bugis, Indian-Muslim as well as Chinese traders who's civilizations have been in trade for centuries before the Malays were commonly familiar with the utility of 'coins' and 'metal objects' from silver which early Malays termed as 'Pitis' or 'Pitih'. The sudden shock and introduction into a NEW form of economy and living from their 'self-consumption' and 'barter-trade' in-fact resulted in what commonly became the lack of 'Financial Knowledge' and 'Management' among the early Malays as although majority of early Malays owned acres of their own land and 'dusuns' or 'kebuns'... in order to exchange from some of the other products needed or desired from the trade brought in by the British, Indians and Chinese required the utility of 'Pitis' or 'currency', thus Malays had to learn to 'sell' their agricultural products, which as the rules of economics with scarcity...supply and demand apply...may not always fetch a good price. Some days when everybody sells 'Cocoa' to a trader or buyer...you get little pitis...( supply surplus pushing the price down ) and somedays when not too many people are selling and the demand is constant or high...they get a good price or a lot of 'pitis' ( demand surplus and supply scarcity ). From the constant fluctuation of 'market' prices which these early Malays did not understood that these early 'village' Malays when trading with some of the early 'Chinese' traders with their 'abacus' would judge "Hmmmm...ore Cino ni JAHAT! MENIPU!" and even thinking because Chinese who not only discovered the world's first calcultaor and INVENTED coins and paper money, with their ability to count, as well as write, along with their ancient knowledge in mining and early manufacturing and processing technology discovered in China compared to the average Malay Civilization...early Chinese and even Indian-Muslim Traders of course dealt much as businessmen as well as 'market makers' or 'middle-men' between the goods from the Malay 'villages' or 'kampongs' to trade with the British.
Thus some of the early Malays also judged the Chinese and Indians as 'sekongkol' or ' conspirators' with the foreigners such as the Dutch and the British 'against' the Malays just to 'bring them down' as well as to 'steal their land' due to every 'Village' Malay who wanted to sell their agricultural goods always getting 'fluctuating' prices all the time, thus judging all foreigners to be 'liars' or 'penipu'...sadly a mindset which hasn't changed among certain factions of the Malays till this present day.
For many Malays...if they wanted to gain money as well as processed rice back then...they had to work laboriously in order to get at least a sack full of rice in the traditional manner, whereas the early Chinese settlers had factories which could process mass amounts of rice. Thus many Malays sold their unprocessed rice to Chinese factories for 'pitis' or cash...only to BUY BACK processed rice from them.
But it was the lack of the ability for 'arithmetic' and 'managing finances' or 'money' which had led much later on to many of the Malays being in-debt. The Malays in order to gain cash would put up the 'deed' to their lands as 'collateral' for a loan, which was supplied from Malaya's earliest bankers...or 'community' bankers...Indians known as 'Chettiars' or 'Chetty's'. Friendly nice men usually carrying an umbrella and dressed in white robe who would lend these village Malay money whenever needed. Unlike today's Ah-Longs who'd go throw a bucket of red paint on your house or car...these 'Chettys' were very kind and soft-spoken nice people who understood and tried to lend a hand.
But the Malay inability to calculate, plan and manage money and finances eventually led to the Chetty's selling off the Malay land pledged as collateral to the 'highest' bidders, and the 'highest bidders' for land during that time were in-fact some of the early Chinese settlers of Malaya whom did not OWN their own lands and usually economized on land, living in closely knitted housing areas, almost slum-like such as the early photo's ( see below ) of Kuala Lumpur during it's Tin mining under Yap Ah Loy.
The Chinese who were the very first civilization to invent the use of coins made from copper, have developed the techniques for extraction and mining for centuries and had brought their skilled labor with them to Malaya.
The Chinese community with their families collected much of this money with the help of some of the early Chinese 'Tau Ke's from manufacturing of 'rice' and 'tin' to actually purchase land to be used as 'schools' for the young children of the early Chinese Malaya settlers. The community would bring in teachers from the mainland to teach their children how to read and write and in their own language as well as Chinese literature to preserve their cultural heritage.
But it was also the ability to trade and manage finances as well as 'invest' for long term, whereby some of the early Chinese were able to save and buy their own lands as well as build the early retail shops...many of these 19th to 20th Century buildings which still stand today in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor, Melaka and other areas around Selangor which were formerly also mining communities in the Old dies dating back to 1912 as written on top of these buildings.
If anyone looks around these streets today, would notice how 'closely' fit these structures are today in some of our towns such as Kajang or Penang where the roads are very narrow without much room for parking. As they were built during the time when only British Officers had a carriage or automobile, and the average transportation was by foot or by 'tri-shaw' or...the 'beca'. But one of the most astounding factor noticed in British documents of early Malaya, was that almost anywhere that Chinese communities had been located, the areas or places would grow into 'towns' and small cities.
But the earliest Malay 'Empire' of Malacca, was by itself a 'trading port' or harbor whereby the Sultan of Malacca merely collected taxes and traders from India, China as well as Arabia in-fact had 'special tax rates' which were LOWER than other outside traders as even up till the 19th Century...The Peninsular Straits was at the 'cross-roads' of trades between the East and the West. But this policy beginning from the time of Parameswara was considered a 'Labor Policy' as he knew it was Arab, Chinese and Indian Traders who brought in the most 'precious' items and goods for trade and their 'skills' in mathematics, writing, coin and currency trading ( early forex ) was what made and flourished Malacca into a rich wealthy port harbor and empire.
The importance of such Diplomatic Relations between China and Malacca were in-fact written in the annals of Chinese Ming Dynasty History as Parameswara himself visited China to meet and establish relations with Emperor Yongle ( 1360-1424 ) of the Ming Dynasty ( as seen in portrait and writing below).
It was also said that the great Chinese explorer admiral Zheng-He, or Cheng-Ho ( 1371-1433 ) -whom was himself a Muslim with the name of 'Hajji Mahmud Shams' visit to Melaka- bringing one of the earliest and biggest maritime Armada, had in-fact further help motivated 'Parameswara's conversion to Islam at the late age of 65.
A matter of fact Islam had reached China centuries longer before it reached the Malay Peninsular and was brought to China by the uncle of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad PBUH ( Peace Be Upon Him )...Saad bin Abi Waqqas in his first mission to China in 650 on the 1st Muslim envoy to China to meet with Emperor Gaozong or Li Zhi ( 628-683 ) -as seen in picture- the 3rd Emperor of the Tang Dynasty ( 618-901 ) during the Caliph Uthman's era.
The Huaisheng Mosque or Lighthouse Mosque which was built by Saad bin Abi Waqqas which still stands in Guangzhou province till today- see photos- is 1300 years old and 1 of the Oldest Mosques in the world.
It is also cronicled in China's history that Parameswara's son 'Megat Iskandar Shah' ( 1414-1424 ) later visited China in 1414, to inform the Ming Emperor that his father had died.
But seeing the value of trade, learning and arithmetics, even the Islamic Prophet Muhammad 'Peace Be Upon Him' ( PBUH ) in a hadith or traditions once uttered:
""Seek learning, even as far as China"
and in the Islamic Prophet's traditional sayings concerning the importance of 'business' and 'trade' in advancing ones own welfare, and increasing one's own Standards of Living as shown by the successes of the early Chinese in Malaya from poverty in acquiring land and their own shops in early Malaya... the prophet Muhammad PBUH according to Al-Ghazali, Ihya ulumuddin, Vol.2 said :
“Encouraged upon you is business for in it is 9 out of 10 of your sustenance”
This is not surprising himself, as The Prophet Muhammad PBUH himself was an honest 'businessman' and trader who's honesty earned him the reputation in Arabic as 'Al-Ameen' or 'the Trustworthy'.
For the very first crucial element in trade and business is TRUST. A word quite often used today in modern finance such as Unit TRUST, TRUST funds, Principle TRUST. For without the element of Trust, trade could not take place nor could happen and is they key to confidence when people even 'choose' their Banks to deposit money today.
But even in the early stages of the mission of Islam, one could also asked?
"Where would Islam BE today without the help of the Prophet's close friend and later father in-law Saidina Abu Bakar As-Sidique'...
...whom was a wealthy trader and businessmen and sacrificed his own personal wealth in freeing the very first slaves who converted to Islam such as 'Bilal' and many others?
Could have the early missions succeed easily 'without' such donations or funds from both his wife Siti Khadijah or his close friend Abu Bakar and later on Umar?
But at a larger scale concerning the importance of knowledge in Trade...as an aggregate is Economics.
As it is Trading which brought up most of the early civilizations and empires including Malacca, The Dutch, as well as the British Empire itself.
One aspect or angle which has clearly been left out and stressed upon in Malaysian History text books today, was the very motivations and reasons for the conquest of Malacca and Malaya by so many invaders and colonist as well as the events that led to our subsequent 'Merdeka' or 'Independence' from the British Crown...the most IMPORTANT angle not stressed upon was the Economic Perspective as well as events going on within world history and Europe that contributed to the Rise of the British empire that led to the colonization of Malaya.
It was in-fact Global Trade and competition for the demand of 'scarce' goods such as Spices and so forth from Asia which led to the race for colonies and colonization by Dutch, Spanish, French and the British by which Malaya so happened to be a geographically 'strategic' trading location that complimented the Supply Chain line which connected India as well as the ports of Hong Kong...
1 factor which was not mentioned in Malaysian History textbooks was how far the 'Spice' market was WORTH in-fact during those early periods...
As some of the early Chinese settlers in Johor specialized in the mass plantation of 'Black Pepper' for agriculture...what was not in-fact mentioned in Malaysian text books was:
-1st, what 'pepper' was USED for specifically, which was used for making Salted Meat in Europe. Due to the 'scarce' markets for spices such as 'pepper', the length of time it took then for Sail Ships or Galleons to reach from Asia to Europe...the trade of spice fetched great profits which further pushed for other countries to compete for such a lucrative trade.
-King Charles the 1st of England ( 1625- 1642 ) who was habitually short of money... who was already in-debt in 1640 negotiated with the British East India Company ( BEIC ) to sell to him for 2 years by means of credit, ENTIRE STOCKS of 'pepper' which he used for commodity speculation
-In 1599 it was in-fact the Dutch's 'cornering' of the market for 'pepper' which eventually led to the set up of the London East India Company.
-As in those days...they utilized 'hard currency' such as coins minted from Gold or Silver ( see below ), the 'supply' of coined currency depended upon the level of trade as well as the availability of supply from Gold Mines or Silver Mines, that occasionally, when normal Gold or Silver was scarce... 'Pepper' was also used as a unit of account, such as in Northern Italy where wages were sometimes paid in 'pepper' or Gold. It was in-fact reported in European history that occasionally..'pepper' was preferred MORE than Gold due to it's scarcity, and it's value in Europe.
-As much of Selangor and even early Kuala Lumpur were 'mining' towns for 'tin' which was sougtht after by the Dutch and the British later on... that one of the major reasons for the 'Dutch-Bugis Wars' in Selangor were fought furiously, which resulted in the Bugis being cornered and surrenderin to the Dutch by signing a 'treaty' to sell all 'tin' collected to the Dutch for a FIXED price was because the very same 'tin' was sold on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange...the worlds very FIRST stock exchange with prices listed dating back to 1585 whereby the prices of tin sold in Amsterdam for the European market would fetch a net profit ranging from 200 to up to 400% compared to what the Sultan of Selangor during the Dutch invasion was selling 'tin' for at the time.
Today the Amsterdam Stock Exchange is part of the European Stock Exchange or 'Euronext'.
Sadly, much of our Malaysian History text book seem to leave out the important answers to questions of WHY we were colonized, the reasons behind it, leaving out much important factors especially the 'economic' factors of trade and events in the world especially in Europe that had shaped our country's history into what it is today.
As a country that was 'frequently' colonized by foreign powers, we failed to study the reasons HOW such countries rose to power and prominence, what 'drove' them to our very doorsteps -which was in fact economic factors caused by market forces from trade- as well as studying their policies which contributed to their rise as some of today's super powers such as the Rise and Decline of the British Empire itself or the rise of our other former colonist 'Japan' into today's 2nd largest economic powerhouse after the United States and the 'reasons' behind their successes as nations in order for us to follow, as well as what to 'avoid' from some of their past mistakes.
For example, among the good policies which had contributed to the Rise of England to the formation of the British Empire was the 'Sound Monetary' policies and fiscal strength of the English economy set during the reign of King Henry VII ( 1485-1509 ) to maintain the value of the English 'sterling' coins used for trade within the region. The system of money used in Europe then was 'hard currency' made from 'Silver', and the value of currencies then till today ( for Gold ) was determined by the 'weight' as well as the 'purity' of the content of Silver in their coins. Majority of the Silver coins in Europe were usually 'debased' containing only a small amount of 'Silver' ( 70-25% ), whereas the 'Sterling' coins used during the Mid-Ages often had more value due to their higher level of Silver and purity ( 85-99% ). For this reason also it was believed that the name 'Sterling' was coined...with the Germanic root 'Ster' meaning 'stong' or 'stout' and 'ling' as a common monetary suffix which had it's ascendancy as one of the most preferred currency for trade in Europe beginning from 1272.
It was also the wise investments of King Henry VII to invest innovative technology and England's very first 'dry docks' for ship building as well as new designs for English Sail Ships and Galleons which contributed to the rise of England as a dominant power as English Naval Ships were well known as some of the 'fastest' ships among the high seas. An advantage both in terms of war as well as in commercial trade for transportation.
Malaysian History textbooks which we have been using till today are very 'narrow' and 'myopic' in it's point of view taken from mainly the point of view of 'Malaysia' or 'Malaya' then a more Global Perspective or World View to teach us the lessons we should truly learn from history, from nations and civilizations. As economics form part of 'daily lives' and influences our everyday decisions and the prices of goods and services and welfare around us...as a person who studies economics and international finance and trade, world history as well as the adage 'Malay Dilema', to me it is absurd that the subject of Economics is an 'elective' during form 4 and not a basic subject taught at an early age of 13 when first entering high school.
To leave out the Economic factors of trade which influenced our very Malaysian History and shaping our country from Malaysian Textbooks which more focus on local events and mere dates for memorization is even more absurd as it does not give and explanation to the reasons or motives WHY certain events happened the WAY they happen.
Furthermore...detailed information as to what we OWE to the British or what we've adopted from them...from Malaysian Parliamentary system using a Bicemeral House ( Upper and Lower House ), to the early formation of our Central Bank ( Bank Negara Malaysia ) adopted from the model of the Bank of England ( BOE or 'The Old Lady' first established 1694 ) which later also became the model for nearly all countries Central Banks around the world, to monitor 'Monetary Policy', mint coins and issue paper currencies and as well as Government Debt Securities -such as Bonds, as well as our inheritance of the English Common Law used in our Courts Systems today- is also absurd!
Even before the very set-up of Malaysia's Bank Negara or 'Central Bank', the British Empire had experimented with using a 'currency board' system for the issuing of 'One Malayan Dollar Straits Settlements Notes'. As currency boards function without the presence of a Central Bank, in today's currency board system, the notes are usually issued by local banks themselves whereby the government has to negotiate directly for any Fiscal Deficits directly with the domestic banks which also have to coordinate, similar to the Hong Kong dollars of today which use a currency board system with notes carrying the emblems of the issuing banks such as HSBC.
Perhaps many in are unaware that our Bank Negara Malaysia of today, which was modeled from The Bank of England, -which is the world's first Central Bank- originally when the BOE was set-up was in-fact to 'finance' the English trade worldwide and the very activities of the British East India Company ( BEIC ) which was granted a Royal Charter to trade, colonize, mint it's own coined currencies, as well as even go to WAR under British Crown.
The very fact that Malaysia or 'Malaya' was in-fact colonized and managed by the world's very first Global Company and Corporation, is something that is not stressed upon in our Malaysian textbooks in detail. That we were in-fact controlled by a TRADING Company which had shareholders such as Elihu Yale ( founder of Yale University ) whom among it's Board of Directors amassed a huge amount of wealth from such Global Trade and market activities from the very commodities which were coming out of our beloved land.
Furthermore it was not stressed that the British East India Company was in-fact among the earliest 'Joint Stock' Companies in the world, second to the Dutch East India Company, which later paved the way for 'limited liability' to promote injection of new capital and investments by attracting 'pools' of investors to invest in exploration and colonization efforts for the expansion of trade. The very foundation of the BEIC's history is also what gave rise to today's form of 'Limited Liability Companies' ( LLCs ) or 'Sendirian Berhad' which we use in business today as well as setting the foundation for 'Publicly Traded' or Public Listed' companies or 'Berhad' whereby the ownership of shares of these companies could be traded whereby holders would receive the 'net profits' from these companies business activities redistributed as annual 'dividend' payments. But it is indeed SAD that the very RELATIONS of these contributions and developments of the PAST are not LINKED in our everyday lives TODAY within our History Textbooks whereby people, especially our fellow Malaysians could not truly appreciate the lessons and value of the history of mankind's civilization itself.
What Malaysian textbooks do merely mention is how each State in Peninsular Malaya eventually accepted a British Resident. But it fails to mention that, what were the British's 'interest' in each state??? As Britain was in competition with Europe such as with the Spanish, the Dutch and the French for domination of the European market...what were the 'economic' interests in holding each of the States in Malaya...were were the commodities which the British were extracting or cultivating in each state and how did it contribute to the welfare of the British Economy as an Empire as a whole? Among ALL it's major Colonies and countries, how MUCH was 'Malaya's' economic contribution to the Empire in COMPARISON with all the other colonies under the British Crown to 'asses' the very Value of them holding on to our land??? These are in-fact some of the most important questions left unanswered in our history text books of today, which till today the Malaysian Government has NEVER BOTHERED to actually update!
Leaving out or omitting some of these very important facts may sometimes give the feeling that Malaysia had succeeded in developing almost completely independently on it's own and to some extent...for the ignorant and unknowing...thinking that it all happened solely from of it's leaderships ingenuity...which sometimes seems like WHY much of these important factors for learning history were left out giving the general public or Malaysians...an incomplete as well as inconclusive picture of our country as a whole.
A matter of fact, one of the most disappointing factors from years of researching the causes to the infamous 'MALAY DILEMA' which I have found, was the omission of the very reasons which eventually also led to the INDEPENDENCE of Malaya from the British...the ECONOMIC perspective from England's point of view and situation at that time...Financial Distress and BANKRUPTCY of England was also one of the factor's which lead to a peaceful Independence of 'Malaysia' from the British without any skirmishes.
First one must understand the Market Forces of Economics of Global Trade and competition during that time. The world in-fact until the end of World War 2 was in-fact divided into two major currencies...
'The Sterling Area' covering much part of the British Empires and at one point, even Japan, and on the other side was 'The Dollar Area'
In the 1930's Britain had created their own 'economic bloc' to shut out US goods. America which fully adopted the principles of 'free-trade' and 'capitalism' of Adam Smith after it's had grew into a major powerhouse for the exports of goods and industrial products in Europe and the world. Up until the 2nd World War, France and Britain realized they could not compete with the USA in the 'open market'.
The very first beginning of this 'economic bloc' took place during the time of Joseph Chamberlain ( 1836-1914 ) as Britain's Colonial Secretary ( beginning 1st of July 1895 ), as Chamberlain had called for further expansion and strengthening of the British Empire and it's colonies with 'Imperial Preference', a form of 'free-trade' with special taxes and tariff's applicable only between countries under the British Commonwealth. This in way was also to protect Britain's trading position and economy with other competitors.
Sadly as one of the major problems during the period was the differences of currency exchange values of nations, where some nations such as the USA and others which had a lower value, made its products much cheaper to purchase by countries with a much higher currency value such as the pound to purchase... thus without controls caused a surge in imports.
Due to this factor the 1930's saw the 'beggar thy neighbor' policy where many countries would purposely 'devalue' their own currencies to increase the competitiveness of its export products in the open market to reduce their Balance of Payments Deficits. This practice of 'self devaluation' of a country's own currency although did help reap profits for exports in the 'short' run, resulted in worsened national deflationary pressures resulting in plummeting incomes, shrinking demand, mass unemployment and and overall decline in world trade in medium and long-run.
These blocs had retarded the flow of capital & foreign investments opportunities in the long run and this condition was what led to the first Bretton Woods Agreement for a system to help regulate the international monetary system by which helped established the International Monetary Fund ( IMF ) as well as the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development ( IBRD ) which now a part of the World Bank Group.
The agreement involving 44 Allied Nations was a system where each country would maintain maintain and exchanged rate within a fixed value or target range, in terms of gold and the ability of the IMF to help 'bridge' temporary imbalances of payments. The system which was more experimental had failed due to numerous causes such as the differences in GDP values as well political conditions and policies between the allied states such as Trade Laws on Taxes and Tariff's between nations thus collapsing in 1971. Today the World Trade Organization ( WTO ) officially established January 1st 1995 seeks to harmonize the standards of trade and policies between nations in our modern world where in the past the Bretton Woods agreement had failed with such a premature attempt.
It was in-fact Britain's financial situation which had driven the move towards 'decoupling' of the British Colonies one by one. Whereby previously up till 1930's, England had practised 'The Gold Standard', whereby a certain denomination of Sterling Notes and currencies were convertible into a standard amount ot weight in Gold. It was the events of the Great Depression of the 1930's which was 1 of the basic causes of the break-up of the Gold Standard.
The events of World War 2 drained up much of Britain's finances as beginning of 7th of September 1940 to 10th of May 1941, England experience what they call in History today as 'The Blitz' which was a period of non-stop bombing by Nazi Germany which began in London for over 57 straight consecutive days leaving massive devastation of England and it's national economy that by May of 1941, over 43 000 British Citizens, 1/2 of them in London were killed. Leaving many British both homeless, and for some of the children...orphaned.
Aside from heightened competition from America-also a former British Colony turned super power- in the open-markets, it was in-fact the events of going through two major World Wars, financing the wars and the devastation which followed afterwards which left England in debt, as originally Britain did not want to sign the terms of the Bretton Woods agreement which it signed on December 6th 1945 when the USA granted Britain aid worth $4.4 Billion US Dollars for it's reconstruction and recovery after the 2nd World War under the 'Marshal Plan' or 'European Recovery Plan', named after George C. Marshal: General of the US Army and US Secretary of State from 1947-1949 to help aid Western Europe in it's reconstruction as well as economic recovery after the devastation left by the 2nd World War. The United States also used this opportunity to 'open-up' trade for US Products, goods and services in Britain
But it was mainly Financial Reasons, after the devastation of the Wars that England had to focus on rebuilding it's economy and many of it's former colonies which could manage itself did so such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
Furthermore with the lost of India's independence in 1947 -the Jewel of the British Crown- it would be costly to continue to maintain and administer the vast nations under the British Commonwealth, thus starting from the late 1940's the spurring off and Independence had already begun. Even as Malaya...or 'Malaysia' later on was negotiating for it's independence in London... so was the British colony of Malta in 1955 which had already received a 'referendum' for Independence.
In-fact, lookiing at the WAY as well as ANGLE by which our Malaysian History Text books were edited and written, it seems more like it was angled to show and highlight the political party and leadership of the United Malay National Organization ( UMNO ) as almost the 'sole' contributor which 'fought' for Malaysia's independence. It's more of an ironic term, as there wasn't much 'fighting' involved or TO be done anyways as Hitler and Churchill had already done most of their fighting long before our Independence.
But what Britain wanted was to ensure the political stability and peace within the former Colonies among the Commonwealth Nations so as to ensure commercial ties for trade as international trade cannot go on smoothly or be sustained when countries are in a state of political unrest or instability. For this is also why Britain had helped MOST of it's former commonwealth nations in setting up some of the basic foundations for national administration, from the supervising of the set-up for their Central Banks, to their Judiciary and Public Administrative systems...right down to assisting and helping to advise with the drafting of each of the Commonwealth Nations 'Federal Constitution'.
A matter of fact, it would be totally absurd to even think that Malaysia just through UMNO alone could get it's independence from 1 of the biggest empires which 'Malaya' also required assistance to fight back to Japanese during the Japanese occupation of Malaya by which the British had supplied most of the weapons and military training.
Furthermore Malaysian History textbooks seem to 'discount' the very financial contributions of the Chinese Businessmen who had donated money for Malaysia's first Prime Minister: Tunku Abdul Rahman's travel's to London in order to negotiate our countries Merdeka, as a vast majority of the Malays up until the NEP till 1970 were in-fact very poor.
As from the point-of-view of many of the Chinese Malayan businessmen, majority who moved to Singapore to capture the markets in International Trade and Finance... it was also deterring to be under British Rule which exercised it's 'Imperial Preferences' and 'economic bloc', under the 'Sterling Area' with protective tariff measures which prevented them from trading with United States which was already a dominant economic powerhouse at that time and also a rival to England's owntrade. Merdeka for them would also mean the ability to trade more freely with other countries not 'within' the economic bloc of the British Empire or the 'Sterling Area'.
Another sad factor which was literally 'omitted' as well as orally 'twisted' from our Malaysian History Textbooks was the reason for Singapore's separation from Malaysia and the events which led to massacres and tragedy of May 13, which in-fact are interconnected with each other.
What Malaysian History Books try to hide from the public was the fact that in 1964, 5 years prior to the May 13 incident, that there had already been racial riots in Singapore, remembered by Singaporeans as the 1964 Sino-Malay Riots during the Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad whereby 36 people were killed and a total of 556 people in Singapore were injured.
The racial tensions had already begun with the jealousy and agitation made by then Singapore UMNO Youth leader Syed Jaafar Albar... father of UMNO's current Syed Hamid Alba. As in accordance to the accounts seen by former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and International Observers...
according to Australian Deputy High Commissioner W.B. Pritchett quoted:-
"...there can be no doubt that UMNO was solely responsible for the riots. Its members ran the communal campaign or allowed it to happen."
These early incidents which contributed to the separation of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia could be found recorded in the book:
" A Moment of Anguish: Singapore in Malaysia and the Politics of Disengagement" Published by Times Academic Press written by Albert Lau.
The differences in political thought, ideas and agenda came when Lee Kuan Yew called for the formation of a 'Bangsa Malaysia', whereas UMNO led by 'Syed Jaafar Alba' believed in the concept of 'Ketuanan Melayu' or Malay Supremacy. Lee Kuan Yew's call was the FIRST call against racism and a concept of 'ONE Malaysia' decades before currently Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak started to do so only 'after' losing 5 States during the 2008 Elections.
But it was these incidents following the 1964 Sino-Malay riots in Singapore that contributed to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia only a year later in 9 August 1965, as racial tensions and misunderstandings brought forth from UMNO division in Singapore as to avoid anymore bloodshed...Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman announced it's separation from Malaysia as many of the UMNO party members believed that Lee Kuan Yew's call for "Malaysian Malaysia!" would shift the economic power from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.
Upon the announcement, Lee Kuan Yew commented on national TV on 'Road to Independence' on Singapore's 'AsiaOne':
""For me, it is a moment of anguish. All my life, my whole adult life, I have believed in merger and unity of the two territories"
It was in-fact during the announcement of this separation in Malaysian Parliament by Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, that Singapore UMNO Youth: Syed Jaafar Alba stood up before Tunku could finish speaking and left the parliament, as he automatically lost his seat with the separation of Singapore. Other UMNO Ministers told Tunku to take disciplinary action, but Tunku stood calm and patient saying it was okay... a mistake which 5 years later on would cause Tunku to be ousted during the May 13 riots of 1969 and replaced by Tun Abdul Razak.
It was widely said that Syed Jaafar Alba believed Tunku Abdul Rahman to be weak, and a 'traitor' of the Malay race with his 'closeness' with the Chinese and having many Chinese friends whom Tunku was well known to occasionally drink, as well as play 'Mah Jong' with. The politicians in UMNO of that time were very much divided, from the upper middle class, much higher educated Malays with more racial tolerance and understanding such as Tunku himself...and those influenced by the radical politics of Indonesia which call for unified identity which even Chinese Indonesians till today carry Indonesian names.
It was also believed that Syed Jaafar Alba had collaborated with Tun Abdul Razak to 'oust' Tunku Abdul Rahman seeing an 'urgency' to help the UMNO party which was in dire need of funds as well as to help the Malays in a radical way, which right after the May 13 incidents resulted in an ousting of Tunku when the State of Emergency was declared then automatically afterwards Tun Abdul Razak became the 2nd Prime Minister introducing the radical New Economic Policy ( NEP ) which today has become a tool more for 'financing' UMNO's political machine that producing results for the development of bumiputra Malays in general at a competitive level at PAR with non-Malays.
But prior to the elections already...UMNO Youth once again in-fact had already showed it's TRUE COLORS to the general public and people...by the waving of the Keris "Malay Traditional Dagger" and screaming to 'bathe it in the blood of Chinese'.
This incident in-fact which the MCA had called for apologies in the beginning were 'ignored' in-fact their answers in the beginning was that it was, 'unnecessary' for them to apologies as the Keris is just a part of the Malay garment as they claimed... not referring to the very words being said and behavior shown and with racial sentiments condoned. Only AFTER the loses of the 2008 General Elections did a very belated apology arrive from UMNO for this particular incident...which was too late...the people have already seen them for who they truly are...as a party fueled by the fires of racial sentiment, separation and hatred towards other races.
But such Racial Violence and condoning of ignorance and delinquency among the Malays could easily be seen in an incident which I remember clearly which appeared on the front cover of the Malay Mail...where due to a small misunderstanding, a group or gang of Malay Illegal Racers or Mat Rempits brutally attacked 3 Chinese in their cars...1 of them being a girl who was also dragged out and beaten by this group of Malay criminals...
I for one have not yet MET a Chinese Mat Rempit and know too well the social-ills and moral degradation among the Malay youth of today...many whom share a common background of Low Education and Low Income families...mass migrating in search for jobs in the Capital City. Their common background from the rural areas is in-fact proof that UMNO has FAILED to bring proper development and good job opportunities to the Malay's living in the rural areas.
Even in acordance to Urban Economics on Urban Crime, Dr. Glaecer one of the top Urban Economist from Harvard University has done a study between the relation between city size and crime and that studied in 1995 of over 80 countries worldwide... that cities in 'dictatorship' countries tend to be oversized or over-concentrated with high population densities in comparison with fully democratic countries. In his paper, he also concluded that unequal development is 1 common factor among dictatorship countries and corruption where the wealth of other States are squandered and shared by corrupted officials and cronies living within the capital city areas.
But instead of truly 'helping' these Malays...the Putera UMNO division fills itself with these illegal racers or 'Mat Rempits', by which it uses mostly those 21 and above who are of legal voting age as support voters for UMNO and merely 'entertaining' them than offering them proper continuing education or job training opportunities to improve their welfare...
Only a few days ago before Merdeka for this year of 2009... once again...the extremist Malays in NGO's associated and linked to UMNO start their 'racial senitment' behaviors again by approaching the State Secretary Building of the State of Selangor by carrying the severed head of a cow, to so call protest the reallocation of a Hindu Temple. These men even kicked the head of the dead cow for everyone to see. The incident which occured right after Friday prayers meant to incite racial tensions and anger among the Indians and Hindu community in Malaysia as the cow in Hindu is a sacred animal, where these men chanting God's name in Islam say that there will be 'bloodshed' ( that word again...always calling for blood ) if the Hindu Temple were to be built in the area of Section 23 of Shah Alam. Furthermore claiming that if the Temple were to be built in their area could 'disrupt' their functions as Muslims. But their actions are NOT the actions or behaviors of Muslims as Islam does not teach Muslims to insult other religions, nor does it teach to defile an innocent living being nor to take the life of a creature that is lawful in Islam unless it is to be eaten.
Such Malays especially the actions of those in UMNO have more often than not contributed towards dissent, cautiousness as well as even hatred stereotyping by other races towards Malays due to the actions and behaviors portrayed by such ignorant, uneducated and wayward Feudal Malays.For me sometimes, just seeing the general level or the state of my own Malay people and the actions of such individuals or group of leaders makes it even embarrassing to BE a Malay at times, as their behaviors also tarnish the teachings and image of Islam itself and they embarrass the whole Malay race even at a more international level.
It's sad when you look back at history even beginning with the Melaccan Sultanate, the level of closeness in terms of diplomatic relations which Parameswara had held with China and the citizens from India as well as Arab traders and compare it to the politics and the level of racial separation, sentiment as well as hatred being held by the leaders of UMNO of today.
Some even calling them 'pendatang asing' after being born and bred here. But if we and the I myself as a Malay ASK myself...
WHERE would Melaka or the Malays be today without the goods such as tea, silk and porcelain coming from China?
WHERE would the old Malay empire which Malays hold so proud in it's short 100 year reign before the Portuguese invasion be without the cotton and precious 'spices' coming from India?
WITHOUT such International Trade and Good Diplomatic relations and foreign tax trade policies... would there ever have BEEN a Malay or Malaccan Empire???
WHERE would Malaya be if it weren't for the skilled labor in 'mining' in extraction and processing for 'tin' if it weren't for the Chinese? Would there even BE a town of Kuala Lumpur or many other former mining town residents today???
With the Malays by majority whom came from non-Market economies with their own lands to cultivate for self-consumption...WOULD THEY have done all the mining, or mass plantation agriculture of 'black pepper' or even for 'rubber' tree plantations IF the British Colonist had forced them to do it???
Even today our country is still pretty much dependent on foreign labor for hard laborious work such as for construction and other services from 'foreign workers' such as from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia... which makes me wonder, what does it mean to be a 'TUAN Melayu'? Does it mean to simply sit back and relax like a boss and not need to work hard as OTHER races have done and simply feed off the TAX REVENUES of such hard labor like some King?
As it is written in Chapter 3 of Mark Jesus himself once said in verses 24-25:
" And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
Furthermore the Koran writes in Chapter 'Surah 2' ironically entitled 'The Heifer' in verse 148:
"To EACH is a goal to which GOD turns him; the STRIVE TOGETHER ( as in a race ) towards ALL that is GOOD. WHEREVER you are, GOD will bring you TOGETHER. For GOD has power over all things."
Furthermore in the same chapter in verse 42 of the Koran writes:
"And cover NOT the TRUTH with FALSEHOOD, nor CONCEAL the Truth when you KNOW what it is."
As we seek to find out the TRUTH about our past as well as our nations history the truth shall always reveal itself in the end as it is also written in The Bibel in Mark Chapter 7 verse 7 Jesus also said:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
As has been illustrated through history that it was the lack of 'knowledge' and education which was what Malays in-fact lacked compared to the other races in this country from the beginning...the lack of knowledge in trade, doing business and finance which led to the loss of lands among the Malays.
It is also Trade which brought up Melacca, and it was also because of Global Trade and Competition that Melacca was and Malaya was colonized over and over again, and it is also Trade which brought up some of the greatest world superpowers from Britain, to France, Germany, Japan as well as the United States.
It is also trade which is what the very Muslim Prophet Muhammad PBUH told muslims to do...and not politics.
It is also 'knowledge', which so many Malays lacked in the beginning to have such skills in arithmetic calculations, finance, investment and trade that the prophet had told muslims to seek knowledge all the way to China itself... knowledge which still so many Malays today lack being consumed and focused on unrelated issues continuously brought up by UMNO to sway the very attention of Malays away from our OWN shortcomings as a people, as a civilization and as a race.
The REAL Malay Dilema has and ALWAYS has been in-fact an Economic one...and economical problems require Economical Solutions...NOT political ones as has been the KEY to the success of other races such as the Chinese and non-bumi's in this countryl..independent from much or any help from the Federal Government for over 200 years now since Kuala Lumpur under Yap Ah Loy.
While some silly ignorant Malays would like to worry so much about NEP policies and 'bumiputra' quotas for government tenders and procurements...they forget to see that there are MANY other businesses both non-bumi or Malay that have flourished and even succeeded WITHOUT doing any businesses in dealing with the Federal Government.
HOW MANY government contracts and tenders for supplies do Franchise businesses such as PJ Old Town or Secret Recipe take away from the bumi's in government??? A matter of fact many of Vincent Tan's Berjaya Group's investments are heavily in foreign franchise companies and concepts in Malaysia... how many government procurement contracts and tenders does Berjaya 7-Elevens, Coffee's Starbucks, or Pappa Johns Pizza or even Krispy Kreme take away from bumi's in the Government??? NONE!
Yet I know MANY of these Berjaya Group Franchises that employ a LOT of Malays and also provide them with good working incentives and salaries... ( but then again, IF these franchises WERE supplying to the Ministries in Government...so far I Haven't had ANY Starbucks Coffee or even Secret Recipe or Krispy Kreme's during any government 'meetings' where tea and coffee is served.
YET UMNO always tries to paint the picture as if Malays could not even SURVIVE or LIVE without the NEP and itself...when history has even proven that we have even lost Singapore due to UMNO's racist and immoral behaviors. Singapore which had taken over the role of Melacca during the British Empire's reign and till today remains the main harbor as well as foreign currency exchange, banking and financial service center till today for the whole of South East Asia.
Yet despite such mindset I've known many more Malay businesses as well as non-Malay which have not only lived or survived, but even SUCCEEDED without any aid from the Federal Government or the NEP just by doing business.
Yet do we Malays even ASK ourselves...WHY is it that those NOT being help SUCCEEDED, while those being handed SO MUCH help still continue to FAIL??? THAT is the question we as Malays should ask ourselves today. Cos when it comes to doing business, if you have the passion, the hard work, the patience, and the determination to succeed, added with the knowledge...eventually you will! If you have a good service or product to sell, the product sells ITSELF!
So let us take this moment together during this very BLACK 31st of August 2009 Merdeka to reflect upon ourselves and remember whom we are, and where we started, and where we would be TODAY if we did not have each other or lived together in this SAME land...
As for those who chose to incite racial hatred, the ignorant among the Malays in UMNO who only choose to sow the cords of racial dissent... the Koran has this to say about them:
"The parable of those who REJECT Faith is as if one were to shout like a GOAT-HERD, to things that LISTEN TO NOTHING but calls and cries; DEAR, DUMB and BLIND, they are VOID of wisdom."
Chapter 2 Al-Baqarah verse 172.
As is written in the Koran...I would like to ask ALL of your who do not believe in Racism, Racial Segregation and belief in equality and a peaceful Malaysia... of what even Lee Kuan Yew once called:
for all of us to LEARN from the mistakes of the past, but most of all the learn from the hardships, struggles and toils as well as strengths of others as well, be it from a race, or a nation, empire or civilization. As the Malay old saying goes:
"BUANG yang keruh, AMBIL yang jernih. Baru TEGUH peribadi"
"CAST OUT the murky, and TAKE what is CLEAR. Only then would our hearts be STRONG."
Let us truly come together and unite during these dark hours...and remember a time long ago...
when due to trade and good relationships between cultures and by working together was how we developed, to gain our independence and become where we are today...
POST NOTE: Thanks brother Imran for your effort. It amazes me to see how we have change from the past. Readers need to take time to read and reflect on it.