Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pangkor Treaty 1874

Pangkor Treaty 1874
In the 17th century Pangkor Island was an important base for Dutch, who were keen to monopolize the Perak tin trade.

Early in the 19th century Pangkor Island, along with the coastal strip known as the Dindings, was ceded to the British as a base for the suppression of pirates.

Later in the century the island had its name stamped indelibly on history with signing of the Pangkor Treaty (1874).

From the treaty, British recognized Abdullah as sultan of Perak in exchange for his acceptance of a resident on these terms.

The Pangkor Treaty in 1874, which was signed by the Malay sultans, gave full authority for the British to control the country, stipulating that the sultans receive and provide a suitable residence for British officer to be called resident, who are accredited to his court and whose advice must be asked and acted upon on all question other than those touching Malays religion and ‘adat’ (custom).

It simply means that religion is clearly separated from secular matter such as politics, administration, law, economics, education and so forth.

Islamic and Malay customs are under the jurisdiction of the sultans, the rest came under the British.

By signing of the Pangkor Treaty on January 20, 1874 the former commander of Menteri Ngah Ibrahim’s forces, colorful adventurer called Captain Speedy, was installed as Assistant Resident.

Three commissioner, including Frank Swettenham, a young civil servant qualified in Malay, and William Pickering, who was fluent in Chinese, were dispatched to Larut to supervise the dismantling of the Chinese stockades, and resolve the disputes over mines and watercourse which had fueled the conflicts.

In early November, pending official posting as Adviser, Singapore’s colonial secretary, J. W. W Birch took up residence on the Lower Perak River.

J. W. W was assassinated at Pasir Salak in November 1875. Colonial troops were called in to fight what proved to be short-lived war. Sultan Abdullah was exiled and new British sanctioned sultan was installed, The next British Resident Sir Hugh Low, was a very different character.

He had already gained administrative experience in Borneo, was fluent in Malay and was noted botanist – even had a pitcher plant (Nepenthes Lowii) name after him.
Pangkor Treaty 1874

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