Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

populations for many centuries. These received from them into their language a very large number of Sanskrit terms, from which we can infer the nature of the civilizing influence imparted by the Hindu rulers. Not only in words concerning commerce and agriculture, but also in terms connected with social, religious and administrative matters that influence is traceable in Malay. See W. E. Maxwell, Manual of the Malay Language (1882), pp. 5-34, where this subject is treated more fully than by previous writers. This Sanskrit element forms such an integral part of the Malay vocabulary that in spite of the subsequent infusion of Arabic and Persian words adopted in the usual course of Mahommedan conquest it has retained its ancient citizenship in the language. The number of Portuguese, English, Dutch and Chinese words in Malay is not considerable; their presence is easily accounted for by political or commercial contact.

The Malay language abounds in idiomatic expressions, which constitute the chief difficulty in its acquisition. It is sparing in the use of personal pronouns, and prefers impersonal and elliptical diction. As it is rich in specific expressions for the various aspects of certain ideas, it is requisite to employ always the most appropriate term suited to the particular aspect. In Maxwell’s Manual, pp. 120 seq., no less than sixteen terms are given to express the different kinds of striking, as many for the different kinds of speaking, eighteen for the various modes of carrying, &c. An unnecessary distinction has been made between High Malay and Low Malay. The latter is no separate dialect at all, but a mere brogue or jargon, the medium of intercourse between illiterate natives and Europeans too indolent to apply themselves to the acquisition of the language of the people; its vocabulary is made up of Malay words, with a conventional admixture of words from other languages; and it varies, not only in different localities, but also in proportion to the individual speaker’s acquaintance with Malay proper. A few words are used, however, only in speaking with persons of royal rank—e.g. santap, to eat (of a raja) instead of mākan; bĕrādu, to sleep, instead of tīdor; gring, unwell, instead of sākit; mangkat, to die, instead of māti, &c. The use is different as regards the term Jāwī as applied to the Malay language. This has its origin in the names Great Java and Lesser Java, by which the medieval Java and Sumatra were called, and it accordingly means the language spoken along the coasts of the two great islands.

The Malays cannot, strictly speaking, be said to possess a literature, for none of their writings can boast any literary beauty or value. Their most characteristic literature is to be found, not in their writings, but in the folk-tales which are transmitted Literature. orally from generation to generation, and repeated by the wandering minstrels called by the people Pĕng-līpor Lāra, i.e. “Soothers of Care.” Some specimens of these are to be found in the Journal of the Straits Branch of the Asiatic Society (Singapore). The collections of Malay Proberbs made by Klinkert, Maxwell and Clifford also give a good idea of the literary methods of the Malays. Their verse is of a very primitive description, and is chiefly used for purposes of love-making. There are numerous rhymed fairy tales, which are much liked by the people, but they are of no literary merit. The best Malay books are the Hikāyat Hang Tūak, Bĕstāmam and the Hikāyat Abdullah. The latter is a diary of events kept during Sir Stamford Raffle’s administration by his Malay scribe.

Authorities.—Hugh Clifford, In Court and Kampong (London, 1897); Studies in Brown Humanity (London, 1898); In a Corner of Asia (London, 1899); Bush-whacking (London 1901); Clifford and Swettenham, Dictionary of the Malay Language, parts i. to v. A-G. Taiping (Perak, 1894-1898); John Crawfurd, History of the Indian Archipelago (3 vols., Edinburgh, 1820); Grammar and Dictionary of the Malay Language (2 vols., London, 1852); A Descriptive Dictionary of the Indian Islands and Adjacent Countries (London, 1856); Journal of the Indian Archipelago (12 vols., Singapore, 1847-1862); Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 33 Nos. (Singapore, 1878-1900); H. C. Klinkert, Nieuw Maleisch-Nederlandisch Woordenboek (Leiden, 1893); John Leyden, Malay Annals (London, 1821); William Marsden, The History of Sumatra (London, 1811); Malay Dictionary (London, 1824); Sir William Maxwell, A Manual of the Malay Language (London, 1888); T. J. Newbold, Political and Statistical Account of the British Settlements in the Straits of Malacca; W. W. Skeat, Malay Magic (London, 1900); Skeat and Blagden, Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula (London, 1906); Sir Frank Swettenham, Malay Sketches (London, 1895); The Real Malay (London, 1899); British Malaya (London, 1906); H. von-de Wall, edited by H. N. van der Tuuk, Maleisch-Nederlandisch Woordenboek (Batavia, 1877-1880); Malay Dictionary (Singapore, 1903), Wilkinson.

(H. Cl.)

MALAY STATES (British). The native states of the Malay Peninsula under British protection are divided into two groups: (1) federated, and (2) non-federated.

I.—Federated States

The federated states, under the protection of Great Britain, but not British possessions, are Perak, Selangor and the confederation of small states known as the Negri Sembilan (i.e. Nine States) on the west coast, and the state of Pahang on the east coast. Each state is under the rule of a sultan, who is assisted in his legislative duties by a state council, upon which the resident, and in some cases the secretary to the resident, has a seat, and which is composed of native chiefs and one or more Chinese members nominated by the sultan with the advice and consent of the resident. The council, in addition to legislative and other duties, revises all sentences of capital punishment. The administrative work of each state is carried on by the resident and his staff of European officials, whose ranks are recruited by successful candidates in the competitive examinations held annually by the Civil Service commissioners. The sultan of each state is bound by treaty with the British government to accept the advice of the resident, who is thus practically paramount; but great deference is paid to the opinions and wishes of the sultans and their chiefs, and the British officials are pledged not to interfere with the religious affairs of the Mahommedan community. In the actual administration of the Malay population great use is made of the native aristocratic system, the peasants being governed largely by their own chiefs, headmen and village elders, under the close supervision of British district officers. The result is a benevolent autocracy admirably adapted to local conditions and to the character and traditions of the people. A recognition of the fact that the welfare of the Malays, who are the people of the land and whose sultans have never ceded their territories to the British, must be regarded as the first consideration has been the guiding principle of the administration of the Malay States, and this has resulted in an extraordinary amelioration of the condition of the natives, which has proceeded concurrently with a notable development of the country and its resources, mineral and agricultural. To the work of development, however, the Malays have themselves contributed little, sound administration having been secured by the British officials, enterprise and capital having been supplied mainly by the Chinese, and the labour employed being almost entirely Chinese or Tamil. Meanwhile the Malays have improved their ancestral holdings, have enjoyed a peace and a security to which their past history furnishes no parallel, have obtained easy access to new and important markets for their agricultural produce, and for the rest have been suffered to lead the lives best suited to their characters and their desires. Each principal department of the administration has its federal head, and all the residents correspond with and are controlled by the resident-general, who, in his turn, is responsible to the high commissioner, the governor of the Straits Settlements for the time being.

The estimated aggregate area of the Federated Malay States is 28,000 sq. m., and the estimated population in 1905 was 860,000, as against 678,595 in 1901. Of these only about 230,000 are Malays. The revenue of the federation in 1905 was $23,964,593 (about £2,795,000), and the expenditure was $20,750,395 (about £2,460,000). The imports for the same year were valued at $50,575,455 (about £5,900,000), and the exports at $80,057,654 (about £9,340,000), making a total trade of nearly 15¼ millions sterling. The principal sources of revenue are an export duty on tin, the rents paid for the revenue farms of the right to collect import duties on opium, wine and spirits, and to keep licensed gambling-houses for the exclusive use of the Chinese population, railway receipts, land and forest revenue and postal revenue. The tin is won from large alluvial deposits found in the states of the western seaboard, and the mines are worked almost exclusively by Chinese capital and labour. Since 1889 the Federated Malay States have produced considerably more than half the tin of the world. Recently there has been a great development in agricultural enterprise, especially with regard to rubber, which is now grown in large quantities, the estates being mainly in the hands of Europeans, and the labour mostly Tamil. The states are opened up by over 2500 m. of some of the best metalled cart-roads in the world, and by a railway system, 350 m. of which, extending from the mainland opposite Penang to the ancient town of Malacca, are open to traffic. Another 150 m. of railway is under construction. The government offices at Kuala Lumpor, the federal capital of the states, are among the finest buildings of the kind in Asia. The whole of this extraordinary development, it should be noted, has been effected by careful, sound and wise administration coupled with a courageous and energetic policy of expenditure upon public works. Throughout, not one penny of debt has been incurred, the roads, railways, &c., being constructed entirely from current balances. This of course has only been rendered possible by the extraordinary mineral wealth which the states on the western seaboard have