Malaya: Colony or protectorate?


It is astonishing to hear some professors suggesting we were never actually colonised.

In their haste to demonise Mat Sabu and to uphold Umno’s version of history, they have interpreted history in a most peculiar way.

Many of you have already retorted with the obvious question: If Malaya was not colonised, then what are we celebrating on 31 August every year? Why did we lower the Union Jack on 31 August 1957?

The Straits Settlements – Penang, Dindings, Malacca and Singapore – were obviously colonised as they became a British crown colony under a British Governor reporting to the Colonial Office in London.

But what about the federated and unfederated Malay states under the sultans? Colonies or protectorates?

Historian Farish Noor responds in a text message:

To argue whether the kingdoms of the Malayan peninsula were “colonies” or “protectorates” is splitting hairs in my opinion. The fact is that the sultans were unfairly treated by the British, who opposed the independent-minded sultans (like Sultan Abu Bakar) and they also supported pro-British ones.

Ultimately, they (the British) robbed the Malay rulers of their rights as sovereigns which is why the kingdoms could no longer have independent bilateral links with other states. They also monopolised trade while taxing the natives. Is this no different from outright colonisation?

Any historian should look closer at the unfair treaties the British imposed on the native kingdoms.

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Phua Kai Lit

“Direct rule” versus “indirect rule” — simply different forms of
colonial rule

Indirect rule promoted by Lord Lugard
in Britain’s West African colonies.


Is it Lam Pa Lang?


Its lam pah pah lang.


nkkhoo better be careful with his allegations….


For those who understand hokkien, this is LPPL

Not so nice to say it in full


LPPL is a common phrase used in Singapore Hokkien Ah Bengs.

It sounds like Lampard (of Chelsea FC).


It appears to me that the ruling regime is trying all it can to wriggle out the Bukit Kepong/Mat Indera issue in particular. If this country were colonised, then M Indera could be considered as fighting against the colonist and should be considered a hero. On the other hand if this country was a protectorate, he would be considered a traitor for being at war against the country. Now consider the ramifications on the status of the cpm if “we were colonised”.

Aranda Del Rio

Mat Indera is condemned just like Hang Tuah for fighting justice?


Lets take China as an example. If the Kuominatng win, then the Communist are villain. Now that Communist win its the Kuomintang that is the villain. Its either you join one party or the other to fight the British. Its just that Mat Idera join the other side to fight the British And he lost because the other side lost. What if the other side win, then UMNO would have been the villain and Mat Idera would have been the hero.. Mat Sabu was right because Mat Idera was fighting for a cause and that cause is to kick out… Read more »


Colonised or not , so what? It’s not gonna change anything now. These are political issues just to distract people from more serious stuff going on now. Lets just move on with life, we have a long way to go…. look at Taiwan, South Korea, where were they and look at them now….. The Korean cars are happening, better than the Japanese.

Tikus Segget

Tun Mahathir says, ” Malaysia was never colonised by the British but insisted that their advisers acted as if they were the rulers instead of the Malay Sultans.” This is like saying, I’m not a burglar, I just broke into your house to “borrow” some valuables and cash.


Dear Tikus Segget.

What a nice way to word it.
I hope Tun read your comment.


Chinese world has a personality called Ah Q, he will claim he is a winner (in his inner heart) no matter how he was beaten up or bully.


The outcome of this UMNO stupidty wll be a confused nation. Did we have independence or did we not? Why waste a good working day on 31st August?


Apa makna sambutan Hari Merdeka pada 16 September kalau negara tidak dijajah?

Kalau negera Malayasia di naungi oleh penjajah Inggeris mengapa bendera Union Jack mesti diturunkan dan digantikan dengan bendera Malaysia?

Jika tidak dijajah
1) fakta ilmiah atau buku-buku sejarah yang ditulis selama ini patut dibuang;
2) Semua gred A Sejarah SPM patut ditarik balik;
3) Malaysia tak boleh ambil bahagian dalam Sukan Komanwel;
4) Najib mesti minta ganti-rugi dari kerajaan Britain;
5) Pakar Sejarah mesti minta maaf kepada rakyat.


Flip-flip is a norm in Bolehland.

When Mahathir wanted to whip up British in early 80s, British was called Penjajah.

When Najib wanted to whip up Mat Sabu and PR, British is renamed Pelindung.

All I read from our school textbooks is British was a colonist or Penjajah.


The Sejarah Malaysia textbooks will be revised accordingly ?
Printers take note don’t carry too much inventory of present form4 – form 5 sejarah textbook as syllabus may be revised again.
Confused myself btwn dibawah naugan (protection) or jajahan British..


Why suddenly we have this ‘Colony vs Protectorate’ issue after years of Merdeka? Simply because Umno is so confused itself and hastily got its cronied ‘professors’ to say things, unfortunately in contradicted manners, as they are all uncoordinated in a desperate attempt to ward off Mat Sabu. Historical account is an human interpretation of past events depending on the point of view and ‘filtration process’ of the so-called historian, and only reflects the so-called ‘truth’ that the party in-power (the victor) wants its people to know. Til now, malays are still debating who are the real wira between Hang Tuah… Read more »


UMNO wants Malaysians to continue to believe that the Malay sultans amiably outsourced the defence and administration of their sultanate to the British Crown. Being representatives of the amicable imperial Lord Protector, the British advisors, residents and High Commissioner, over 2 centuries, all had “kow tow” to the Sultans.

Merdeka is just a celebration to the end of this beautiful relationship.


Aiyah! I pity those students attending lectures given by Sultan Idris Teaching University (UPSI) head of history Zainal Klin. What a …! Why is Malaysia (Malaya then) is in the Commonwealth with the British Queen as the Head? The pre-Merdeka days, the Governor was appointed by Britain, who did he represent? By jolly, this (Zainal) was sure a perfect spinner…just like his master of spins, the UMNO PM. This debate has raised then heads of so called, Ketuanan UMNO Melayu…! Going back to the Bible, a faithful once asked Jesus, do we pay taxes to the Romans? Jesus replied, give… Read more »


Politicians have great capacity altered reality.

Reporter : Did u smoke marijuana ?

clinton : I did not inhale

Syiok Syiok

no wonder Prof Khoo KK for the last 2 weeks, when appearing on RTM or TV3, became less arrogant in his “komen”.
Looks like his sejarah interpretation has now been questioned by his paymasters ? If so out taxpayers’s money have been used to fund nonsense sejarah research ?
YusriKRU reported to make new version of Bukit Kepong; and may be Prof Khoo can be his penasihat for a role as 3 Bintang or Marine Police crew ???

Aranda Del Rio

I read from a blog that Prof Khoo started out as a football commentatator on a local football magazine in the early 70’s.
As there was no ESPN or Supersport then, he could not ‘cari makan’ on as a football pundit ( like Shebby on ESPN and the [email protected] gang on Supersport).

Later he took a ‘career twist’ to be a ‘BN’ historian, (widely seen as) interpreting sejarah to suit the agenda of his master, the rest is history (no pun intended)…

Prof Khoo can become a Tan Sri as a sejarah pundit. …


What should worry the Malays is that their elites are so willing to sell their souls for the sake of power and personal gains. All community depend on their elites to stand up for the truth, it it does not matter to them, it does not matter to most of the community. Such falling away of the truth and integrity destroy community in the end. Its community intellectual and character (betrayal) – for communities that are undeveloped, its cultural and social suicide. The Malays may have some sophistication but taking it for granted is future recipe the same thing for… Read more »

UMNO scholars twisted again to say Malaya was British protected states, not colonized states. I advise those professors (not sure from which third-class universities) to open a good dictionary to understand what is sovereignty. Malay sultans lost control for everything except for Islam and Malay customs matters to British, yet these professors shamelessly to claim Malaya was a sovereign nation. Who pay the salary of policemen in the Bukit Kepong police station? The Johor sultan or British administration? Can Prof. Khoo Kay Kim and Tun Hanif answer this basis historical question? If the salary was paid by Johor Sultan, then… Read more »

Tikus Segget

managed to watch only the last 2 mins of ‘Bukit Kepong’ recycled movie (the one that earn Jins Shamsudin a Tan Sri title) on TV2 last nite. can someone please confirm if Mat Indera was featured in that movie.


I watched this propaganda film more than 20 year ago. I only remembered these bandits speak Mandarin.

Those policemen and soldiers served under the Jack Union (might have been) executed if Malaysia were Indonesia where the left-wing freedom fighters won the independence war.


Probably Saudara Kua Kia Song’s new book will provide fresh insights into the Merdeka matter ?

Of Patriots and Pretenders: The Unofficial History of our Struggle for Independence


As I doubt Prof Khoo and Tun Hanif would read this blog, saudara nkkhoo should write to them directly and then show us their response to these ‘objective’ & ‘no-nonsense’ questions. Otherwise, it is just merely asking for syiok sendiri.


Do you have emails for these two highly paid intellectuals?

Otherwise your suggestion is also another “syiok sendiri.