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The British Legacy on the Development of Politics in Malaya

Mohd Rizal bin Mohd Yaakop


ABSTRACT: This article examines the British political legacy on the development of politics in Malaya. It argues that British legacy had shaped political development in Malaya, especially after Second World War. The British viewed security threats as reasons to justify the policy of intervention and colonial rule in this area. Later, the idea to create political stability and security led the British to initiate political structures and processes in Malaya. The British colonial influence was profound because it established institutions and policies on which the later Malayan ruling regime was based on. This is important to understand the earlier political development in Malaya (now known as Malaysia). The post colonial Malaya inherited the colonial legacy in terms of a multi-ethnic society, the federal type of political system, the political parties and the government. All these are important factors that have shaped Malaya. Accordingly, this article will explore the British existence in Malaya and the reaction of early local political movements toward the British administration. This is followed by an assessment of the society, in which the British implemented a political party system and reinforced the principle of political accommodation between ethnic groups. This article utilized primary data from documents in British National Archive and secondary data such as books, journals and newspaper.

KEY WORDS: British legacy, Malaya, multi-ethnic society, the federal type of political system, the political parties and the government.


About the Author: Dr. Mohd Rizal bin Mohd Yaakop is a Senior Lecturer at School of History, Politics and Strategic Studies UKM (National University of Malaysia) in Bangi, 43600 Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. He can be reached at: and

How to cite this article? Yaakop, Mohd Rizal bin Mohd. (2010). “The British Legacy on the Development of Politics in Malaya” in TAWARIKH: International Journal for Historical Studies, Vol.2(1) October, pp.41-60. Bandung, Indonesia: ASPENSI [Asosiasi Sarjana Pendidikan Sejarah Indonesia], ISSN 2085-0980.

Chronicle of the article: Accepted (August 11, 2010); Revised (September 24, 2010); and Published (October 28, 2010).

Full Text:



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