AS any attempt to chronicle the rise and progress of British influence in Malaya must necessarily deal first with the Crown Colony in felicitously styled the Straits Settlements, so the record closes on the original point of departure. The colony already had many years of life, under greatly varying conditions, and an interesting history behind it when circumstances drove the British Government to consent to an extension of British control to a region till then unknown to the western world. The English character and special aptitude for solving difficult administrative problems has wrought something like a miracle in the Federated Malay States, and the inquirer will naturally ask what was the effect of this sudden development of the Malay States on a neighbour so close and so intimately connected with them.

The territory of this friendly rival may be said to lie wholly between Pinang and Singapore ; it has grown in thirty years from practically nothing to a position of prosperity which places it ahead of all British Crown Colonies ; it has developed an annual trade of thirteen millions sterling, the whole of which passes through the colony ;
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its population has advanced from under 300,000 to over 800,000 ; and the colony supplied from its own service some of the men on whom fell the burden of devising the system of administration which is responsible for the results obtained. These circumstances were certain to have a profound effect, and it is pertinent to ask whether the rise of the Malay States has injured or benefited the British possessions, and in what way.

The answer is that the colony has gained enormously and in every respect by the development of the hinterland. The effect of Malay expansion and the measure of the colony's gain can be judged by the following figures, showing the revenue, expenditure, and trade of the colony from the first full year of its existence as such, and then, at intervals of five years, from the commencement of the residential experiment.


The first complete year under colonial regime was 1868, and by 1874, the year of the appointment of British Residents in the Protected States, the revenue of the colony had increased $150,000 in round numbers. But in the very next year (1875), the first full year of the working of the new experiment, the colony's revenue went up $80,000, and for the next three quinquennial periods there were substantial advances. The remarkable increase in 1904 was obtained by a revision of the conditions on which the excise farms were leased for a new period of three years ; but in comparing the revenue returns of the Straits with those given for the Federation in chapter XII, the reader must bear in mind that the Malay States were answering to the spur of heavy expenditure on works designed to develop their rich resources, while the colony had settled down into its stride after eighty years or more of British government. Without an alteration in the basis of taxation the only causes likely to affect the colonial revenue will be a greater volume of trade and a larger population. The trade returns are certainly remarkable, even when due allowance is made for the constant depreciation in the gold value of the silver dollar. In the seven years from 1868 to 1875 the dollar value of trade rose from 80 to 125 millions, but for the three last periods of five years and the final period of four years the figures are 275, 371, 576, and 710 millions respectively. The last-named amount was equal to about 71 millions sterling, and nearly one-fifth of it represents the value of real imports into and real exports from the Federated Malay States, for the trade of the colony is in the main a passing trade. The dollar value of the trade of the Malay Protectorate in 1905 was therefore more than equal to the dollar value of the entire trade of the colony in 1875, and the handling of such a volume of imports and exports must mean employment and profit to a large number of Straits people of all classes and nationalities.


It may fairly be claimed that the issue of notes by the Straits Government is due to the Malay States, and the face value of the notes in circulation in 1904 exceeded 17 million dollars. The northern settlement (Pinang and Province Wellesley) has, since 1900, been connected by railway with the Protected States, and, as the direct result of the impetus thus given to trade, large smelting works have been built in Province Wellesley, and an iron pier for ocean-going steamers has been constructed in Pinang. Similarly the fact that Singapore possesses the largest tin-smelting works in the world is due to the development of the Malay States. An American attempt to transfer this tin-smelting to American soil, and so obtain, in time, complete control of Malay tin production, was frustrated by imposing a prohibitive duty on the export of tin ore and giving an equivalent rebate on all ore smelted in the Straits Colony, Thirty years ago the European community of Singapore decided that a railway across the island must be immediately constructed, but there is something in the atmosphere of the place which raises objectors to every large scheme of improvement, even after the details have been practically settled. There is no other means of satisfactorily explaining the fact that this railway was only begun and completed within the last few years. The trade of Singapore has grown so rapidly that the Singapore River will no longer accommodate the immense number of cargo boats engaged in serving that portion of the shipping which makes use of the roads, or in conveying cargo by sea to and from the wharves at Tanjong Pagar and Keppel Harbour. After taking local evidence and consulting the most experienced harbour engineers, a scheme was adopted for providing Singapore with a protected harbour 1300 acres in extent, with a long quay wall for the accommodation of coasting steamers, and a reclamation that would in time have paid almost the entire cost of the work. Just when it appeared certain


that Singapore had satisfactorily solved the urgent question of finding shelter for the traffic and lying-in of cargo boats, but was also to secure protection and free wharfage for its considerable fleet of coasting steamers by a scheme that would pay for itself by the sale of reclaimed land, the usual objectors came forward to denounce the engineer's proposals as extravagant and needless, and if the Government adheres to its decision to carry out the work, or any modification of it, a great deal of valuable time has already been lost. If Singapore is to maintain its position as the premier port and market in the Archipelago it must keep abreast of modern requirements, and so improve the docks and harbour that it need fear no competitors. The town of Singapore now contains 250,000 inhabitants, and careful people have expressed the opinion that, with the continued development of the Malay States and the natural advance of a place so favourably situated, these numbers will in time reach a million. It is therefore necessary to look well ahead, to calculate the effect of present and future railway extensions, and not merely to apply a temporary remedy to relieve an ailment which is not the result of infirmity or decay, but the natural growth of a vigorous constitution.

Quite recently the Government wisely decided to take over the great wharf and dock establishment of the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company, and to spend the large sum necessary to extend the premises to meet the urgent requirements of the port. It is, however, difficult to understand the method adopted by the Colonial Office for determining the price to be paid to the Company, or to justify the heavy costs which will be thrown upon the colony by this policy .1

1 Since writing the above the award of the Umpire in the Tanjong Pagar Dock Arbitration has been made public. According to replies given by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in the House of Commons, the effect is that the Straits Settlements has to pay about £3,319,000 to the Dock Company. The colony has also to pay the costs of arbitration which,


It is certain that the prosperity of the Straits Colony is due to three factors: (1) The geographical positions of Singapore and Pinang and the facilities afforded for the coaling, watering, and repair of ships ; (2) the fact that all the ports of the colony are free; (3) the development of the

though not stated, are estimated to exceed £40,000, but that estimate is not authoritative. The award works out, at the present 2s. 4d. dollar, to $755 per share of $100 ; but when the Government elected to go to arbitration the dollar was worth less than 2s., and the award is, therefore, equal to $880 per share. Before notice of expropriation had been given to the company the Government of the Federated Malay States purchased about 3000 shares at prices varying from $315 to $350, and the latter figure may be taken as the market price at that time, though the Under-Secretary stated in the House of Commons that, after notice had been given, the shares were for a short time quoted at $240, and it is difficult to understand why the Government did not buy every share they could get at that price. The Government, with the fullest knowledge of all the facts, appear to have made an offer of $240 a share to the Company, and state that this was met by a demand for $700 a share. No effort was made to settle the matter by amicable arrangement, but the Colonial Office decided to go to arbitration, with the result stated. The shares were quoted in Singapore on 21 June at $485 (sales), and the award was not known till 14 July. There is good reason to believe that there would have been no difficulty in coming to terms with the Company without arbitration, and that the colony---which has to pay both the award and the costs of arbitration---would have been saved about ;if £1,750,000 --- a large sum for a place with a total annual revenue of half that amount. Comment is needless ; but as it will cost about £1,500,000 to put the docks in thorough order and provide the extra wharfage required by the needs of the place, this note is added to qualify my statement that it was right for the Government to acquire the property and spend a sum which the company could not afford to put the undertaking on a thoroughly satisfactory footing. It would have been to the interest of the colony to have acquired the docks by guaranteeing 12 per cent interest on the nominal value of the issued shares, or by paying up to $400 or even $500 a share at a time when the sterling value of the dollar did not exceed 2S. To pay double that price, when the cost runs into millions, is a different thing, and how the Government is going to saddle the undertaking with the interest on the capital they must now borrow to pay the award and carry out the improvements (it will exceed £5,000,000) and still make the business a financial success, without raising the dock charges, is a problem which can only be solved by the "experts" who deliberately sought arbitration in preference to an amicable arrangement, which, besides being far cheaper, would have saved much bitter feeling and all the heavy expenses. Moreover, the Government fixed the sterling value of the Straits dollar at 2s. 4d. , with this award hanging over their heads, when the dollar had for seven years been worth 2s. or less, and for about six months had, for not very evident reasons, risen above that figure.


Malay hinterland. To maintain the advantages hitherto enjoyed it is necessary to spare no trouble or expense to attract shipping by offering every convenience which modern trade requirements can reasonably expect. That the ports of the colony should continue to be free is obvious, and, so far as the colony can exercise any influence in the matter, the further development of the Malay Peninsula is of immense importance. In the early years of the Malay revival much of the success gained was due to the assistance rendered by coasting steamers owned in Singapore and Pinang, and a considerable fleet of small boats has been built and devoted to this service, to the mutual benefit of the owners and the States whose needs they served. The Malay railways are the property of the Malay Government, and, when the trunk line reaches Johore, there must be competition between it and the coasting steamers for the carriage of passengers and goods, but it will be a mistake if the railway is regarded as a commercial undertaking worked with the intention of making large profits as a first object. What might appear to be the gain of the railway as a dividend-earning investment, would probably result in damage to the Malay coast ports and all the surrounding country which has no railway service. It has been one of the features of the Malay Administration to encourage the growth of small towns all over the States, at district centres on the coast as well as inland. If the coasting steamers found it no longer profitable to call at these places, the welfare of the planting and fishing industries on the coast could hardly fail to suffer. There are on the west coast many rivers navigable to small steamers, and all of them fall into the sheltered waters of the Straits of Malacca. On the east coast it is different ; the mouth of every river is barred by sandbanks, and during the north-east monsoon there are heavy breakers right along the coast. At one place only, Kuantan in Pahang, the conditions are rather more favour-


able, and there it would be possible to provide protection at a moderate cost. The advantage of having such a port is manifest, and as the Federated States have plenty of funds, and the project has been under consideration for some years, the necessary works will probably be undertaken shortly.

The interests of the colony and the Malay States are not identical on every subject ; for instance, the colony's currency, --- the Straits dollar, the subsidiary silver and copper coinage, and the Government currency notes ---constitutes the only legal tender in the Federation. It has recently been decided that the gold value of the Straits dollar shall be two shillings and fourpence. Until within the last few months, the exchange value of this coin has, for many years, been only two shillings or less. It is clear that a two-shilling dollar would be much more agreeable to the miner and planter of the Peninsula than a dollar with a sterling value so high as two shillings and fourpence. The colony, however, produces practically nothing for export to gold-using countries, but it is a considerable advantage to all property-owners, bankers, and others who have money invested in business in the colony, to find that the dollar, so long worth only two shillings, has appreciated by over 16 per cent. Still speaking generally, the interests of the colony and the Protectorate are so nearly at one that they must stand or fall together, and neither can afford to adopt a policy which would seriously damage the other. In one respect the Malay States have an advantage : they are not open to the direct attack of an enemy, because no very large vessel can safely get to the shore at any point on the Malay coast. No enemy would find the railway of much use to him, for it would be easy to make it impassable, either by defending a given point or by destroying a bridge, and any attacking troops or blue jackets who landed and penetrated to any considerable place in the


interior would have a poor chance of returning. The Malay States fully recognize that their own position of comparative safety does not entirely safeguard their interests or cover their obligations, and they are therefore prepared to assist in the defence of Singapore should it ever be in danger of attack from an enemy of the Imperial Government.

It may seem strange that, in an account of the results of a policy which owes its initiative to a Secretary of State for the Colonies, so little reference has been made to the Colonial Office. The explanation is simple if the reader remembers that the instructions from Downing Street were that the functions of the Resident were to be confined to the giving of influential and responsible advice. Having laid down that policy the Colonial Office could not well interfere, and, beyond the fact that the Secretary of State kept in his own hands the appointment of the Residents, he was satisfied to hear from the Governor that unexpected success was attending the new experiment, and to read in the annual reports of the Residents the details of the gradual evolution of a scheme of administration the efficiency of which was proved by the results. If the advisers were exceeding their functions there was no reason to complain, so long as every one concerned appeared to be satisfied and the States found means to meet all their liabilities. The terms of Federation empowered a British officer, the Resident-General, to exercise a very large control over the protected States, and from that date (1896) the Colonial Office has, in some important matters, made its authority felt. Reference has already been made to the construction and control of railways, and the relations of the Crown Agents and consulting engineers to the Federated Malay States in regard to these matters. Speaking broadly, the Colonial Office confines its interference to questions dealing with the appointment, promotion, and salaries of European officers selected for service in the Malay States. The whole


scheme for the reorganization of the various branches of the Government service and for the payment of salaries in sterling was submitted to, and received the approval of, the Secretary of State. There were two very excellent reasons why this should be so : first, because the salaries of all European officers in the Straits service were similarly revised at the same time, and were also placed on a sterling basis ; and, secondly, because it was then laid down that the officers in both services should be interchangeable, and that all of them should thus be granted the benefits of a wider field of employment and promotion. All the members of the covenanted services of the colony and Federated States are now selected after competitive examination by the Civil Service Commissioners. One examination is held for admission to the Home, the Indian, the Malay, and the Eastern Colonial Services (the last include Ceylon, the Straits Settlements, and Hong Kong), the papers for all candidates are the same, and successful competitors are posted to the various services in the order in which they pass the examination. The test is a severe one, and, if it is admitted that competitive examination is the best means of recruiting the Government services in these places, no exception can possibly be taken to the present system; but, having regard to the special circumstances of the Malay States, (which are not British possessions) it is probable that the most satisfactory method of filling vacancies in that service would be by nomination, followed by competitive examination, at fixed annual periods, amongst those nominated. The conditions as to age, etc., and the scheme of examination should remain as at present, but if all competitors had first to receive a nomination from a responsible authority, say the Secretary of State or the High Commissioner, there would be less chance of the appointment of any one who was really unfitted to hold a Government Office in the Malay States.

What are known as the Colonial Office Regulations are supposed to have force in the Malay States, though it might be hard to find any sufficient authority for their observance. These regulations were framed many years ago, and though occasionally revised in some details, they are expected to apply equally well to places so different as Ceylon, Malta, British Honduras, and Sierra Leone. It is not necessary to criticize them further than to say that the Governor of a colony with a population of several millions and a revenue of millions sterling cannot grant a week's leave to a clerk without consulting his Executive Council, and cannot sanction the unforeseen expenditure of sixty pounds without obtaining the sanction of the unofficial members of the Legislative Council, The Federated Malay States have no constitution of the Crown Colony type, and, therefore, they have been able to spend their funds without these restrictions, to the great benefit of the country. The Crown Colonies are, of course, on a different footing, but it is probable that amended regulations could be framed for the important colonies which, while providing all necessary safeguards, would give greater liberty of action and better results. It is perhaps curious that Great Britain, with so many colonies in different parts of the world, has never adopted any system, such as that which obtains in the French colonies, by which the best methods of administration are carried from one colony to the other by one or two inspecting officers, who periodically visit the colonies and advise the Governors and heads of departments as to the introduction of reforms. Such men, of high standing, liberal views, and large experience, would become most valuable advisers to the Secretary of State and his assistants, and would supply the necessary link between the most distant dependencies and the controlling authority in the Mother Country.

There is one subject which touches the distant worker


more nearly than is perhaps realized ; it is the great value which these exiled servants of the King attach to the dispensation of honours. After all, it is not unnatural that a man should highly prize this public recognition of good service, and when he spends all the best years of his life thousands of miles from his country, his home, and his friends, often in an unhealthy climate, always deprived of many things which make for happiness, he is apt to feel some bitterness when he sees that others, with less effort and less reason, have gained some coveted distinction denied to him. There is no need to discuss the feeling or how far it is worthy ; it is there, and not less strong if seldom expressed. To men who unite character with the acknowledged performance of great services, the best reward is the consciousness that they have made life better for others, have accomplished something that will last, that will bear good fruit long after they have passed. To these the failure to obtain this kind of recognition means less ; but even they cannot altogether avoid some heart-sickness when others, with less claim, obtain the public recognition which never comes to them. If there were no dispensation of honours for services such as these, there would be no feeling of bitterness. If such distinction were only conferred for great and special services, no reasonable man could complain. The soreness and the sense of neglect, possibly even some jealousy, are caused by what looks like the uneven distribution of loaves and fishes. It is no doubt difficult to decide between the merits of those whose names are, for various reasons, put forward for recognition, and others who have lived their lives out of sight and hearing, on the frontiers of the Empire, striving earnestly to better the lot of an alien and unattractive race. So many of England's sons, no better and no worse than others, but still men whose whole hearts are in their work, who give everything they have to drive the littlest of the wheels of State, proud of


their opportunity and determined to make the most of it, so many of these die exiled, unhonoured and unknown, and lie buried thousands of miles from kith and kin, without ever tasting most of the pleasures which others will not sacrifice, that one is fain to wonder whether the Colonial Office ear is sometimes deafened to distant murmurs by the importunate cries of those at the door.

Compared with large questions of public policy and the common weal, a plea for the recognition of individual merit sounds trifling. But is it so ? We know that the best ships and the best guns are useless without the right men to handle them, and that is the case in the equally exacting, if far less exciting life of the exiled civilian. The country does not want eye service and lip service --- just enough to satisfy outward seeming ; it asks for all his time and zeal and ability, and to get it the servant should feel that good work will be rewarded.

The facts already recorded lead unmistakably to the conclusion that the future of the Straits colony depends upon the observance of principles which have brought it to its present position of prosperity, and that is even more true in the case of the Malay States. Free trade and facilities for shipping are necessary to the expansion of the colony, which is essentially a place of business, a market, a port of call, the Clapham Junction of the Eastern seas. The future prosperity of the Malay States depends upon a continuance of that special sympathy and consideration for Malays which those who were entrusted with their fortunes in the past insisted upon as a duty and came to regard as a pleasure. There must be even justice for all, a liberal land policy, the encouragement of immigration, especially from Southern India and China, the expenditure of public funds on great and carefully considered works of development and public utility. Lastly, the high standard of the public service must be maintained, the right class of man must be attracted to give his life and


energies to an administrative task of profound interest, and the Government must continue to insist that its servants learn the languages of those whose affairs are placed in their keeping, must consult their interests first, and always remember that "they are there for the benefit of the people of the country."

Only a few months ago there died in Perak a man who cannot be replaced. He was the Raja Muda, the cousin and natural successor of the Sultan. He cannot be replaced because he was in the prime of life, of fine character, experienced in all the affairs of State, able, energetic, just and high-principled, honoured and loved by his countrymen, and deeply respected by all Europeans who were fortunate enough to know him. It will be necessary to go to another generation to find a Raja Muda ; the choice is not large, and men of the type of the late Raja Musa1 are rare. His loss will be keenly felt by the Sultan of Perak, who himself stands for all that is best in the Malay ruling class. Sultan Idris has all the qualities possessed by his cousin with a higher intelligence, a wider experience, and while Raja Musa was shy and retiring, the Sultan has great charm of manner and is a fluent speaker. The Sultan is a very earnest Muhammadan, without a trace of bigotry, and he is recognized as a high authority on questions of Muhammadan law and religion. In all the Malay States there is no one who, by his authority, influence, and direct assistance has done so much to promote the success of the new system of administration as Sultan Idris, on whom the Prince of Wales conferred the Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George, when His Royal Highness visited Singapore on the memorable colonial tour of 1901.

Amongst the Perak chiefs, men with great influence and a wide authority, there are not a few who have

1 Raja Muda is the title of the heir apparent ; Musa was the name of the late Raja Muda of Perak.


proved their capacity to hold high office. One must be mentioned, the Dato Sri Adika Raja, I.S.O., the ablest Malay in the four States, and who in his sphere has been to British officers as loyal and firm a friend, as valuable an adviser and assistant as the Sultan of Perak, his master. There are earnest and capable Rajas, loyal and energetic chiefs, in all the States. It would be wrong to try and name them, for an accidental omission could not be remedied. It is enough to know that they are there, and the three I have mentioned suffice to prove that the Malay must not be regarded as a negligible quantity in his own country. The Sultan of Perak, the late Raja Musa, and the Dato Sri Adika Raja were in no sense the product of English education. None of the three ever had any experience of an English school, but all of them learned much by a keen observation, by a desire to serve their country, and by a close association with British officers in all that has been done to bring the Malay States to their present position. A Far Eastern race which can produce men like these, who, under such circumstances, develop principles as high as those which guide the best Europeans and strive to live up to them, is not to be despised or dismissed as useless.

We have learned by long experience, by our own blunders, and by such success as has attended our venture in Malaya, that when you take the Malay --- Sultan, Raja, chief, or simple village head-man --- into your confidence, when you consult him on all questions affecting his country, you can carry him with you, secure his keen interest and co-operation, and he will travel quite as fast as is expedient along the path of progress. If, however, he is neglected and ignored he will resent treatment to which he is not accustomed and which he is conscious is undeserved. If such a mistake were ever made (and the Malay is not a person who is always asserting himself, airing grievances, and clamouring for rights) it would be


found that the administration had gone too fast, had left the Malay behind, left him discontented, perhaps offended, and that would mean trouble and many years of effort to set matters right again.

All is well now, and a reasonable consideration for the people of the country will keep it well. The danger is that the legitimate aspirations of a people who are too reserved to complain aloud may be overlooked. If this record, with its lessons of the past and the experience of a long and close intimacy with Malays, serve to warn others to avoid that danger, the purpose of the book is gained.

Time means progress and expansion for all that part of Malaya which comes under British influence. It will continue to make rough places smooth and to attract strangers of all colours and nationalities to a country big with possibilities of great development. But time will not change the Malay character, or alter the fact that the Malays are " the people of the country " whose confidence we have gained by making their interests our first consideration.

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