The Federation of Malaya (Persekutuan Tanah Melayu) agreement was signed on 1 Feb 1948.
Between 1948 and 1950, some 3,120,000 persons became citizens by operation of law. They were:
- Malays 2,500,000 (80.1%)
- Chinese 350,000 (11.2%)
- Indians 225,000 (7.2%)
- Others 45,000 (1.5%)
A further 150,00 Chinese became citizens by application (figures rounded).
The total number of Malayan citizens in 1950 was 3,275,000 out of a population of 5,226,549. Or in other words, another 1,951,549 persons (almost two million) were residing in Malaya but did not hold Malayan citizenship.
The Chinese were 2,011,072 in total, out of which half a million were citizens. Only a quarter out of all the Chinese residing in Malaya in 1950 possessed Malayan citizenship.
In 1950, the Chinese made up 15 percent of Malayan citizens.
In 1952, the citizenship requirements were relaxed. Under the 1952 amended rules, an additional 1.2 million Chinese qualified to become citizens.
The Chinese argued that they deserved to be citizens due to their contribution to the economic development of the country as well as their financial stake. To them, there was no need for Chinese to be able to blend in culturally because their contribution as citizens lies in the economic and financial spheres.
Dr William Fenn and Dr Wu Teh-yao were commissioned by the Malayan British government to produce an education report. Unlike Najib Razak’s favouritest consultancy firm McKinsey that was paid RM20 million to draft the Education Blueprint 2013-2025, Dr Fenn and Dr Wu were not paid a cool RM20 million.
The terms of reference for the study to be carried out by Drs Fenn and Wu alarmed the Chinese leadership.
Local Chinese leaders who were interviewed by the Fenn-Wu team were hostile to the idea of the education system becoming Malayanized.
They were afraid that the government meant to eventually eliminate Chinese schools through converting the education system to Malay.
They also feared that with the Malay ethos being installed as the backbone of the schooling system, Chinese culture too would be eliminated in the long run.
Bottomline: Local Chinese leaders in 1952 believed that there was an “absence of anything that could be properly called ‘Malayan’.”
They did not want to have national school usurp the Chinese school because they could not see anything that could properly be called ‘Malayan’ – and as such representing a ‘national‘ education system – to replace the vernacular school system.
They preferred to stick to Chinese education that transmitted Chinese culture and imparted Chinese values to the pupils.
Yet the Dapsters are now insisting that around that same period (1950s), Chin Peng was distinguishing himself as a ‘Malayan‘ patriot.
While the Chinese community leaders during the communist insurgency did not think in Malayan terms at all, the Dapsters today are insisting that Chin Peng had been waging a Malayan struggle to achieve independence for Malaya (for the 11 separate states clustered as Federated, Unfederated and Straits Settlement).
The Dapsters also hold Chin Peng to be a Malayan nationbuilding hero at a time when three quarters of the Chinese residents in Malaya were not even citizens. Dapsters are projecting their Malaysian Firster bull onto the 1950s when in reality a lot of the Chinese then still had their loyalties directed at the ‘motherland’.
For the Dapsters, the argumentative terrain has always to be one where it’s heads they win, tails you lose.