A “Memoryscape” Malayan Union 1946: The Beginning and Rise of Modern Malay Political Culture

  •  Mohd Helmi Abd Rahim    
  •  Normah Mustaffa    
  •  Fauziah Ahmad    
  •  N. Lyndon    


This study researches an experiential and narration-oriented of historiography of an event in Malaysia, theMalayan Union 1946. The Malayan Union was introduced by the British just immediately after the end of theSecond World War, the ending of Japanese Occupation in Malaya. In October, 1945, the British announced abold decision to end their indirect rule in the Malay states through uniting all the states into a Malayan Unionunder a Governor with executive powers. The proposal also initiated a Malayan form of citizenship which wouldgive equal rights to those who claim Malaya as their homeland. On 1st April 1946, the Malayan Union officiallycame into existence with Sir Edward Gent as the Governor. The Malays opposed the creation of the Union.Several aspects were seen to be the beginning and rise of modern Malay political culture; (1) the formation of afirst Malay political party, (2) defending of the Sultanate as the highest Malay rulers, (3) defending the Malayrights and privileges of their homeland, (4) the reformation of Malay and Malayan politics, (5) the beginning of‘social contract’ between the Malay and the non-Malay immigrants and their descendants, (6) the participation ofnon-Malays in Malayan politics, (7) birth of the independent of Malaya from the British, and (8) the birth of theConstitution of Malaysia. These factors shall be discussed as inscription of historical memory. Nevertheless, thepost-Malayan Union that escalates to today’s political landscape as somehow sees the event and situationdifferently as what being seen before. This study will analyze these thoughts through a constructive discussioninferring the future of Malaysian politics of pluralism.

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