share

Colonial Construction of Malayness: The Influence of Population Size and Composition

by Kiran Sagoo

East-West Center Working Papers, International Graduate Student Conference Series, No. 27

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: 2006
Binding: paper
Pages: 13
Free Download: PDF

 

Malaysia's present population of 26 million is ethnically classified under the categories of "Bumiputera," "Chinese," "Indian," and "Others." These ethnic classifications of "Malay," "Chinese," "Indian," and "Others" mask the diversities of ethnicities within each category. Using census categories as a tool for analysis, this paper focuses on the creation of the category of "Malays and Other Natives of the Archipelago" which first appeared in the 1891 Straits Settlements census and the various ethnicities it compassed that have influenced the boundaries of Malayness today. It focuses on migrants from the Dutch East Indies who were classified under the category of "Malays and other Natives of the Archipelago," and demonstrates that the absolute and relative population size of these communities and the Malay population in relation to other communities, was a major factor which determined their inclusion into the above category which laid down the boundaries of Malayness.