This study deals with the establishment of British rule – the ‘Residential system’ as it was known to contemporaries – in the Malay Peninsula
This study deals with the establishment of British
rule – the ‘Residential system’ as it was known to contemporaries – in the Malay Peninsula. It was introduced between 1874 and 1895 into the three west coast states, Perak, Selangor and Negri Sembilan, and the east coast state of Pahang. The study focuses on Perak and Selangor, where British rule was first introduced, the problems of government first in countered, and policies evolved to deal with them as they arose. The term ‘British rule’, used of the form of administration in the Malay states during the period, is itself a challenge to conventional interpretations, which represent the British officers as advisers to the Malay rulers, through whom the government of the country was carried on. The interpretation breaks down on investigation, but the theory of government, the way in which it developed and there alities which it covered remain to be discussed. The thesis describes the accommodation reached between fact and fiction, and the manner in which it was established, the way in which the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Governor of the Straits Settlements and the Residents exercised authority in the states nominally under ‘advice’, and finally the part played by Malay rulers and chiefs
and Malay local authorities in the government of the states. The subject of this thesis was originally conceived as a study both of the formation of British policy and its execution through the structure of government in Malaya. It was intended to consider how far uniformity in government had been achieved before 1895, when the state administrations were placed under the control of a Federal chief executive, their civil services amalgamated and many of their departments placed under Federal heads. The whole subject is a large one, and has not been covered in the manner originally in tended. The formation of policy is discussed at length, but the structure of government has been treated selectively. The relations between the Colonial Office and the states are dealt with, and the relations between the Governor, the Resident, the Sultan and the Chinese headmen as reflected in the workings of the State Council, are dealt with in a paper on the State Councils submitted as Appendix III. The policies of the state governments and the implications of Federation have been omitted. A monograph published by the writer in 1954, and
bearing on the development of the residential system in Perak is here with submitted in amplification of some of the points made in the study.