Ethnic Groups In Malaya Essay

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A few decades ago, Malaya was colonised by the British. Later on, in 1896, the Federated Malay States were formed and Malaya has since transformed politically, economically and socially. This left lasting colonial impacts that are still remnant till today. During the process of colonisation in Malaya, the British had to cater to not just one group of people but three very different groups; the Malays, Chinese and Indians. These three groups had varying demands which the British tried their best to fulfill. As a result, these various changes impacted the three ethnic groups in numerous ways, both positively and negatively. However, just how great were these impacts on the ethnic groups in Malaya? (And?) which group exactly, benefitted the most…show more content…
On hearing that, common belief would be that the Malays benefitted the most out of the 3 because of their status (abundance?). The Malays did receive a lot of privileges, however upon closer analysis, it was mostly the Malay elites, the Sultans and chiefs who received the benefits. The Malay Elites were privileged as they were given better opportunities for western education and higher ranking colonial administrator jobs. This increased their rate of employment and income. This made their standard of living much higher and the Malay Elites were able to live comfortable lives. On top of that, the British arrival in Malaya also benefitted Sultan Yusof as his position as Sultan was secured. The British also compensated the Sultans and chiefs when they made changes to the system and therefore the Sultans had a steady income. The British also did what they could to boost the rubber and tin industries in Malaya, giving the commoners in Malaya more job opportunities, allowing them to earn more money. However, the common Malays did not benefit much from the job opportunities offered as most of them were either given to the Indians who were sent to work as labourers in Malaya. Therefore, the British rule did not affect the local Malays as they still appeared to be under the rule of their Sultans and they lived life as per normal. Later, as the Chinese population grew,…show more content…
With the help of the British, a majority of the Chinese who had first started out as just a worker were able to rise up in status significantly. The main purpose of majority of the Chinese who came to Malaya was for employment. At first, the Chinese population in Malaya was so small that a community could not be formed. The Chinese population grew considerably when the British introduced a new policy of awarding the highest bidder the right to tax in revenue farming. This meant that the highest bidder to pay rent for a plot of land would then acquire the land and be able to tax whoever bought their goods and keep all the revenue earned. They did not need to give any percentage of what they earned from extra taxation to the British. This resulted in increased income inequality as the rich Chinese got richer as they could afford to bid for taxation rights while the poorer ethnic groups could not. With revenue farming, more and more Chinese workers were migrating to Malaya, in hopes of getting employed, which then led to a Chinese community being formed. Within the Chinese community, many of them started to demand for the sale of opium in Malaya. However, it was only available in China. Hence, as a result of this increase in demand for opium, the British decided to set up an opium trade, which would be exported from China. This business was extremely profitable, so the British were willing

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