The Federated Malay States (FMS) was a federation of four protected states in the Malay Peninsula—Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang—established by the British government in 1895, which lasted until 1946, when they, together with two of the former Straits Settlements (Malacca and Penang) and the Unfederated Malay States, formed the Malayan Union. Two years later, the Union became the Federation of Malaya and finally Malaysia in 1963 with the inclusion of North Borneo (present-day Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore.
The United Kingdom was responsible for foreign affairs and defence of the federation, whilst the states continued to be responsible for their domestic policies. Even so, the British Resident General would give advice on domestic issues, and the states were bound by treaty to follow that advice. The federation had Kuala Lumpur, which was then part of Selangor, as its capital. The first FMS Resident-General was Frank Swettenham.
The federation, along with the other Malay states and British possessions of the peninsula, was overrun and occupied by the Japanese during World War II. After the liberation of Malaya following the Japanese surrender, the federation was not restored, but the federal form of government was retained as the principal model for consolidating the separate States as an independent Federation of Malaya and the Federation's later evolution into Malaysia.
Federated Malay States
نݢري٢ ملايو برسکوتو
Negeri-negeri Melayu Bersekutu
Japanese Occupation: 1942–45
Motto: (Malay: Dipelihara Allah)
Under God's Protection
Malaya in 1922:
|Status||Protectorate of the United Kingdom|
|Legislature||Federal Legislative Council|
|Historical era||British Empire|
• Treaty of Federation
|1 July 1896|
• Japanese surrender
|14 August 1945|
• Malayan Union
|31 March 1946|
|1921||71,571 km2 (27,634 sq mi)|
|Currency||Straits dollar until 1939|
Malayan dollar until 1953
|Today part of||Malaysia|
1 Also the state capital of Selangor
² Malay using Jawi (Arabic) script
³ Later Chief Secretaries to the Government and Federal Secretaries
Although the Resident-General was the real administrator of the federation, each of the four constituent states of the federation retained their respective hereditary rulers (sultans). At the formation of the Federated Malay States, the reigning sultans were:
In 1897 the first Durbar was convened in the royal town of Kuala Kangsar, Perak as the platform for discussions for the four Rulers. This formed the basis for the Conference of Rulers that was created later on under Article 38 of the Malaysian Constitution on 27 August 1957.
The Federated Malay States had a flag of its own until its dissolution in 1946. The flag consisted of four different-coloured stripes, from top to bottom: white, red, yellow and black. Different combinations of these colours represent the four states that formed the FMS — red, black and yellow are for Negeri Sembilan; black and white for Pahang; black, white and yellow for Perak; and red and yellow for Selangor. The same design concept is used in Malaysian national emblem. In the middle is an oblong circle with a Malayan tiger in it.
The National History Museum located near the Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has a replica of the federation's flag.
The coat of arms of the Federated Malay States featured a shield guarded by two tigers. On the top of the shield is the crown (known as Eastern Crown in English heraldry), symbolising the federation of monarchies under the protection of the United Kingdom. A banner with the phrase "Dipelihara Allah" (Under God's (Allah) Protection) written in Jawi is located underneath the shield.
The combinations of the four colours of the shield represents the colours of the flags of the states of the FMS in the same way the stripes of the FMS flag do.
The phrase "Dipelihara Allah" was also adopted as the current state motto for the state of Selangor.
In addition to a state flag, the Federated Malay States also had a naval jack or ensign for use on government ships. The ensign, with the four colours of the FMS, was flown by HMS Malaya, commanded by Captain Boyle under the 5th Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet) during the Battle of Jutland in the North Sea. This was the largest and the only full-scale clash of battleships during World War I.
The protectorate of the Federated Malay States was established after the four Rulers of Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang agreed to a federation and centralised administration in 1895 and in which the Treaty of Federation was drawn up and signed on 1 July 1896. By this treaty and the previous acceptance of the British Residents System in Selangor (1874), Perak (1874), Negeri Sembilan (1874) and Pahang (1888), the FMS were officially turned into a nominally independent protectorate of Great Britain, not to be confused with nearby British possessions like the territories of the Straits Settlements and Unfederated Malay States.
With the Treaty of Federation, the Malay rulers effectively gave up their political power in their states, having to act after consulting and only with the due consent of their respective Residents. However, the United Kingdom pledged not to interfere in matters relating to native Malay traditions and Islamic affairs.
A well-ordered system of public administration was established, public services were extended, and large-scale rubber and tin production was developed. This control was interrupted by the Japanese invasion and occupation from 1941 to 1945 during World War II.
The British established the Federal Council in 1898 to administer the FMS. It was headed by the High Commissioner (The Governor of the Straits Settlement), assisted by the Resident-General, the Sultans, the four state Residents and four nominated unofficial members. This structure remained until the Japanese invaded Malaya on 8 December 1941.
From 1896 to 1936, real power lay in the hands of the Resident-General, later known as Chief Secretary of the Federation.
|Frank Athelstane Swettenham||1896||1901|
|William Hood Treacher||1901||1904|
|William Thomas Taylor||1904||1910|
|Arthur Henderson Young||1910||1911|
|Edward Lewis Brockman||1911||1920|
|William George Maxwell||1920||1926|
|Charles Walter Hamilton Cochrane||1930||1932|
|Malcolm Bond Shelley||1934||1935|
After 1936 the Federal Secretaries were no more than co-ordinating officers, under the authority of the High Commissioners, which are always the Governors of the Straits Settlements
|Christopher Dominic Ahearne||1936||1939|
In the Federated Malay States, the individual State were still ruled by the Sultan but was now advised by the State Council for the purpose of administrating the State. The State Council was made up of the Resident (or in certain cases by the Secretary to the Resident), native chiefs, and representative(s) of the Chinese community nominated by the Sultan. The council discussed matters of interest for each respective state such as legislative and administrative issues as well as revision of all sentence of capital punishment. The Resident and his staff (mostly consist of European and Malay) carried on with the administrative work.
For the purpose of efficient administration, all the states of the federation were further divided into districts (Malay: Daerah). Each district was administered by a District Office (Malay: Pejabat Daerah) headed by a District Officer (Malay: Pegawai Daerah).
State capital: Taiping
State capital: Kuala Lumpur (also as the Federal capital)
State capital: Seremban
State capital: Kuala Lipis
The first Supreme Court was established in 1906 and headed by the Judicial Commissioner, in whom supreme judicial authority was vested. The title of Judicial Commissioner was changed to Chief Judge in 1925.
From the earlier period of the federation the currency in used was the Straits dollar issued by the Board of Commissioners of Currency. As the currency depreciated over time, it was pegged at two shillings four sterling pence in 1906. In 1939, the British government introduced a new currency, Malayan dollar (ringgit in Malay) for used in Malaya and Brunei replacing the Straits dollar at par value. It had the smallest denominations of 1 cent to a highest of 1000 Malayan dollar and retained the exchange rate as was from the Straits dollar.
The Federated Malay States main economic activity was mostly focused on agriculture and mining with emphasis on rubber and tin. FMS and Malaya as a whole was the main supplier of these two commodities for the British industrial need. Rubber estates or plantations were established in all four states and tin was mined primarily in the Klang valley in Selangor and the Kinta Valley in Perak. This labour-intensive economic activities prompted the British to bring in immigrant workers from southern India to work at the plantations and workers from southern China to mine the tin.
The economic condition in the period can be viewed as self-sustainable, as the income of the federation was more than what was expended in terms of maintaining the administration and economic activities. In the later period, many resources were poured into the development of the city of Kuala Lumpur, as the capital of the federation. This period also saw rapid growth in terms of communications infrastructure such as interstate roads, the expansion of the Federated Malay States Railways' narrow gauge railway line between the Padang Besar and Singapore, and Port Swettenham (present-day Port Klang). Public schools and academic institutions were also opened along with an improvement in public health. An area in the city was also gazetted as a settlement for the Malay called Kampung Baru. Public buildings were also constructed such as the Kuala Lumpur railway station, the Government Offices of the FMS and Masjid Jamek.
The table and section below illustrated the economic growth of the federation and its member states.
Note: All values are in Straits dollars (One dollar fixed at two shillings and four pence sterling). Data for Pahang included only from 1890 onwards
Ref: Harrison, Cuthbert Woodville. An Illustrated Guide to the Federated Malay States. 1923
The revenue of Selangor in 1875 amounted to only $115,656; in 1905 it had increased to $8,857,793. Of this latter sum $3,195,318 was derived from duty on tin exported, $1,972,628 from finance, federal receipts, and $340,360 from land revenue. The trade balance was chiefly derived from the revenue farms, which included the right to collect import duty on opium and spirits. The expenditure for 1905 amounted to $7,186,146, of which sum $3,717,238 was on account of federal charges and $1,850,711 for public works. The value of the imports in 1905 was $24,643,619 and that of the exports was $26,683,316, making a total of $51,326,935 equivalent to £5,988,000. Tin is the principal export. The amount exported in 1905 was 17,254 tons. The total area of alienated mining land at the end of 1905 amounted to 65,573 acres (265 km2).
The revenue of Perak in 1874 amounted to $226,333. That for 1905 amounted to $12,242,897. Of this latter sum $4,876,400 was derived from duty on exported tin, $2,489,300 from railway receipts, $505,300 from land revenue and $142,800 from postal and telegraphic revenue. The remainder is mainly derived from the revenue farms, which are leased for a short term of years, conveying to the lessee the right to collect import duties upon opium, wine and spirits, to keep pawnbroking shops, and to keep public licensed gambling-houses for the use of non-Malay only. The expenditure for 1905 amounted to $10,141,980. Of this sum $4,236,000 was expended upon railway upkeep and construction and $2,176,100 upon public works. The value of the imports into Perak during 1905 was over $20,000,000, and that of the exports exceeded $40,000,000, making a total of over $60,000,000, equivalent to about seven million sterling. The output of tin from Perak ranged between 18,960 tons, valued at $23,099,506 in 1899, and 26,600 tons, valued at $35,500,000, in 1905. The fluctuating character of the output was due to the uncertainty of the labour supply. The mining population was recruited exclusively from the districts of southern China, and during certain years an increased demand for labourers in China itself, in French Indo-China, in the Dutch colonies, and in South Africa temporarily and adversely affected immigration to the Straits of Malacca. The output had, moreover, been affected from time to time by the price of tin, which was $32.20 per pikul in 1896, rose to $42.96 in 1898, to $74.15 in 1900, and averaged $80.60 in 1905. Exclusive of tin, the principal exports were $108,000 worth of Para rubber, $181,000 of copra, $54,000 of hides, $48,000 of patchouli, and considerable quantities of timber, rattans and other jungle produce.
The revenue of the Negri Sembilan amounted to only $223,435 in 1888. In 1898 it had increased to $701,334, in 1900 to $1,251,366, and in 1905 to $2,335,534. The revenue for 1905 was derived mainly as follows: – customs $1,268,602, land revenue $145,475, land sales $21,407, while the revenue farms contributed $584,459. The expenditure in 1905 amounted to $2,214,093, of which $1,125,355 was expended upon public works. The trade returns for 1905, which are not, however, complete, showed an aggregate value of about $13,000,000. The value of the tin exported during 1905 exceeded $6,900,000, and the value of the agricultural produce, of which gambier represented $211,000 and damar $80,000, amounted to $407,990.
The revenue of Pahang in 1899 amounted to only $62,077; in 1900 to $419,150. In 1905 it was $528,368. The expenditure in 1905 amounted to $1,208,176. Of this sum $736,886 was expended on public works. Pahang is still a source of expense to the federation, its progress having been retarded by the disturbances which lasted from December 1891 until 1895, with short intervals of peace, but the revenue was steadily increasing, and the ultimate financial success of the state is considered to be secure. Pahang owed something over $3,966,500 to Selangor and $1,175,000 to Perak, which had financed it for some years out of surplus revenue. The value of the imports in 1905 was $1,344,346, that of the exports was $3,838,928, thus making a total trade value of $5,183,274. The most valuable export is tin, the value of which in 1905 amounted to $2,820,745. The value of the gutta exported exceeded $140,000, that of dried and salted fish amounted to nearly $70,000, and that of timber to $325,000.
With the threat of Germany, the British Navy was in a drive for expansion. As a contribution, the Government and people of the Federated Malay States agreed to finance the commissioning of HMS Malaya; this was a motion proposed in the Federal Council by the Sultan of Perak in 1913 and supported by the Sultan of Selangor. The battleship which cost $25,000,000 (approximately £2,945,709) was one of five of the Queen Elizabeth class, displacing 31,000 tons, mounting fifteen-inch guns and capable of 25 knots (46 km/h). The most modern ships of their day, they formed the 5th Battle Squadron and fought as such at Jutland in 1916. HMS Malaya was also refurbished and was in service throughout World War II.
After the Japanese landed in Malaya on 8 December 1941, the Japanese forces began their invasion of the Malay Peninsula. Japanese forces began their invasion of the FMS by crossing the Thailand–FMS border at Kroh. Ipoh, the state capital of Perak, fell on 26 December 1941. Kuala Lumpur, the capital of the Federated Malay States and the State of Selangor, was captured on 11 January 1942. Seremban, the state capital of Negeri Sembilan, was captured two days later. Kuantan, in the eastern component state of Pahang, fell on 30 December 1941, meanwhile the capital, Kuala Lipis was taken by the Japanese on 7 January 1942. With the conclusion of the Battle of Gemas on 15 January 1942, the entire FMS was now in Japanese hands.
After the war the federation was dissolved formally on 1 April 1946, and was incorporated into the Malayan Union thereafter. This in turn was succeeded by the Federation of Malaya in 1948, which gained independence in 1957, and finally the establishment of Malaysia in 1963.
While the four states issued their own postage stamps as before, there were additional issues for the Federated States as a whole.
The Federated Malay States were within the flight path of American aviator Amelia Earhart on the Thailand–Singapore leg of her final and fatal attempt to cross the globe in 1937. She was given permission to enter FMS airspace with provision to land at Taiping Airport on 7 June 1937.
This article lists important figures and events in the public affairs of British Malaya during the year 1909.Coat of arms of Malaysia
The coat of arms of Malaysia (Malay: Jata Negara) is a coat of arms comprising a shield or escutcheon, two tigers for supporters, a crescent and fourteen-pointed star for a crest and a motto. As the Malaysian coat of arms descended from that of the Federated Malay States under British colonial rule, it resembles European heraldic designs.Cyril Reed
Cyril Norman Reed (10 July 1906 – 6 July 1991) was an Indian born cricketer who in addition to playing ten first-class matches in India between 1928 and 1948, also played Minor counties cricket for Bedfordshire and international cricket for the Federated Malay States and the Straits Settlements.Federated Malay States Railways
The Federated Malay States Railways (FMSR) was a consolidated railroad operator in British Malaya (present day Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore) during the first half of the 20th century. Named after the then recently formed Federated Malay States in 1896 and founded five years after the formation of the federation, the company acquired various railways that were developed separately in various parts of Malaya, and oversaw the largest expansion and integration of the colonies' rail network encompassing the Federated Malay States, the Unfederated Malay States (except Trengganu) and the Straits Settlements, with lines spanning from Singapore to the south to Padang Besar (near the border with Siam) to the north.Federated Malay States cricket team
The Federated Malay States cricket team was a team that represented the Federated Malay States in international cricket matches between 1905 and 1940. Cricket has been played in Peninsular Malaysia since the 1880s, and the Federated Malay States usually combined with the Straits Settlements cricket team to form the Malaya cricket team. Indeed, of their 37 recorded matches, only one was not against the Straits Settlements.Flag of the Federated Malay States
The flag of the Federated Malay States (Negeri Negeri Melayu Bersekutu) represented the union of the four Malay states of Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang in a federation as a protectorate under the British Crown.
The flag was striped horizontally with an overall 1:2 to ratio with white stripe at the top, red, yellow and black at the bottom. In the center was a white oblong, with a horizontal major axis, and a Malayan tiger (Malay: Harimau Malaya) leaping, face to the left.
In addition to a state flag, the Federated Malay States also had a naval ensign. The ensign, with the four colors of the FMS, was flown by HMS Malaya (commanded by Captain Boyle under the 5th Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet) during the Battle of Jutland, where it was said to make Malaya resemble "an enraged P&O," due to the ensign's resemblance to the house flag of the shipping line.
The colors and the four stripes represented the four states of the federation. The colors white, red, yellow and black represented the colors used in the flag of the four states;
Red and yellow for Selangor (white was added in 1965)
White, yellow and black for Perak
Red, black and yellow for Negeri Sembilan
White and black for PahangHugh Fraser (colonial administrator)
Hugh Fraser (1891–1944), was a British colonial administrator. He was the last acting Colonial Secretary of Straits Settlements before the fall of Singapore in 15 February 1942 to the Japanese Occupation and was interned in Changi Prison. He subsequently died in Outram Road Prison in 1944.Lancelot Elphinstone
Sir Lancelot Henry Elphinstone (2 September 1879 – 11 October 1965) was the 22nd Attorney General of Ceylon.
The son of Sir Howard Elphinstone, 3rd Baronet and Husband of Jane E Jamieson. Elphinstone was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was appointed Attorney General of British Honduras in 1913, Solicitor General of Trinidad in 1919, and Attorney General of Tanganyika Territory in 1921. He was appointed Attorney General of Ceylon on 6 October 1924, succeeding Henry Gollan, and held the office until 1929. He was succeeded by Edward St. John Jackson.From 1929 to 1932 he was the Chief Judge of the Federated Malay States. He was knighted in the 1931 New Year Honours.List of High Commissioners of the United Kingdom to Malaya
In 1896, the post of High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States was created; the High Commissioner represented the British Government in the Federated Malay States, a federation of four British protected states in Malaya. The High Commissioner's official residence was King's House (now part of a hotel, Carcosa Seri Negara), located inside the Perdana Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur, then the capital of the Federated Malay States. King's House served as an important place for royal dignitaries and distinguished guests.
The Governor of the Straits Settlements had always been ex-officio the High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States; the Governor's official residence was in Singapore, the capital of the Straits Settlements, and was known as Government House (now Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore).
In each of the five protected states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu, and Johore (usually collectively referred to as the 'Unfederated Malay States'), the British government is represented by an Adviser: the Adviser to the Government of Perlis; the Adviser to the Sultan of Kedah; the Adviser to the Government of Kelantan; the Adviser, Trengganu; and the General Adviser to the Government of Johore.
The Straits Settlements was dissolved in 1946. Singapore became a Crown colony in her own right. The rest of the Straits Settlements (i.e. Penang and Malacca) was merged with the Federated Malay States, Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu, and Johore to form the Malayan Union, another Crown colony. The native rulers in the Federated Malay States, Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu, and Johore ceded their power to the United Kingdom, thus turning these territories into British colonies. The new Crown colony of the Malayan Union was headed by a Governor – the Governor of the Malayan Union.
In 1948, the British government returned power to the native rulers of the former protected states, and the Malayan Union was transformed into the Federation of Malaya – a federation of protected states and Crown colonies (Penang and Malacca had remained Crown colonies throughout the Malayan Union era). The Federation of Malaya was headed by the High Commissioner for Malaya.
When Malaya gained independence from the United Kingdom, the position of the High Commissioner for Malaya as the de facto head of state was replaced by the Paramount Ruler, or the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, of Malaya, appointed by the rulers of the nine Malay states. The title 'High Commissioner' became that of the senior British diplomat in the independent Malaya (and later in Malaysia), as is normal in Commonwealth countries.Malayan dollar
The Malayan dollar (Malay: ringgit, Jawi: رڠڬيت) was the currency of the British colonies and protectorates in Malaya and Brunei until 1953. It was introduced in 1939, replacing the Straits dollar at par, with 1 dollar = two shillings four pence sterling (60 dollars = 7 pounds).Malaysia Federal Route 86
Federal Route 86, also known as Jalan Jelebu or Jalan Seremban–Simpang Pertang, is a main federal roads in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. The roads connects Seremban town in the south to Simpang Pertang, Jelebu in the north. It was the earliest federal roads in Negeri Sembilan, built in 1911 by the Federated Malay States (FMS) government.Revenue stamps of Malaysia
Malaysia first issued revenue stamps as the Straits Settlements in 1863, and continues to do so to this day. Over the years, a number of entities in modern Malaysia have issued revenue stamps.Royal Malaysian Customs Department
The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (Malay: Jabatan Kastam Diraja Malaysia), abbreviated RMC or JKDM, is the government agency responsible for administrating the nation's indirect tax policy, border enforcement and narcotic offences. In other words, KDRM administers seven main and thirty-nine subsidiary laws. Apart from this,KDRM implements eighteen laws for other government agencies. KDRM is now known as JKDM (Jabatan Kastam Diraja Malaysia) when Dato' Sri Hj. Ibrahim bin Jaapar takes over as Director General of Customs in 2009.Stanley Wilson Jones
Stanley Wilson Jones (1 July 1888 – 17 January 1962) was a colonial administrator. He was a cadet of Malayan Civil Service in 1911 and spent his civil service career in Federated Malay States and Straits Settlements. He was British Resident of Selangor and Colonial Secretary of Straits Settlements.Straits dollar
The Straits dollar was the currency of the Straits Settlements from 1898 until 1939. At the same time, it was also used in the Federated Malay States, the Unfederated Malay States, Kingdom of Sarawak, Brunei, and British North Borneo.Sultan of Pahang
Sultan of Pahang is the title of the hereditary constitutional head of Pahang, Malaysia. The current sultan is Al-Sultan Abdullah ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah. He is the Head of the Islam in the state and the source of all titles, honours and dignities in the state. Historically, the title was also used by rulers of the Old Pahang Sultanate.Thomas Sercombe Smith
Thomas Sercombe Smith (1858 – 31 March 1937) was a British civil servant and judge. He was the Colonial Treasurer of Hong Kong and Puisne Judge of Supreme Court of the Straits Settlements.
Smith was born in Canton, China in 1858 to Rev. Smauel Joseph Smith of Chelmsford, Essex. He attended the Wesleyan College as a boarding pupil in 1871.
He was appointed a Hong Kong cadet in 1882. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in November 1893 and served as acting Registrar-General in 1895. He was Police Magistrate in 1899 and 1907. He left Hong Kong in 1907. He was appointed Colonial Treasurer of Hong Kong from 1897 to 1898. He was acting Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong in 1898. In 1874 he was secretary to the Retrenchment Committee, and assisted the Attorney-General in the Taipingshan Arbitration.
Smith became a Puisne Judge in 1904 and later served in the judiciary of Federated Malay States where he presided over Proudlock murder trial in 1911. He retired as Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of the Straits Settlements.
He was also a cricketer.Unfederated Malay States
The term Unfederated Malay States (Malay: Negeri-negeri Melayu Tidak Bersekutu) was the collective name given to five British protected states in the Malay peninsula in the first half of the twentieth century. These states were Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, and Terengganu. In contrast with the four adjoining Federated Malay States of Selangor, Perak, Pahang, and Negri Sembilan, the five Unfederated Malay States lacked common institutions, and did not form a single state in international law; they were in fact standalone British protectorates.
In 1946 the British colony of the Straits Settlements was dissolved. Penang and Malacca which had formed a part of the Straits Settlements were then grouped with the Unfederated Malay States and the Federated Malay States to form the Malayan Union. In 1948, the Malayan Union was reconstituted as a federation of eleven states known as the Federation of Malaya. Nine of the states of the new Federation of Malaya continued as British Protected States, while two of them, Penang and Malacca remained as British colonies. The Federation of Malaya gained full independence from the UK in August 1957.Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
The Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine is the medical faculty of the National University of Singapore and one of three medical schools in Singapore. It is the oldest medical school in Singapore and Malaysia and boasts a list of distinguished alumni, including a Prime Minister of Malaysia, a President of Singapore, the first female Malay physician and notable Malaysian and Singaporean politicians.