SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Koon, Heng Pek (1984) The Development of the Malayan Chinese Association. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (10MB) | Preview


The study focuses on the dynamics of intra-community Chinese political development and the emergence of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) as a major political force at the multiethnic political centre during Malaya's transition from colony to independent nation state. During the pre-independence years of the MCA's existence, 1949-1957, the party was a hybrid institution which combined ideological and organisational elements of both Westernised and traditional political elites, represented by the Straits Chinese British Association (SBCA), the Kuomintang Malaya (KMTM), and the Chinese Chambers of Commerce-huay kuan establishment . Embodying both modem and traditional elements, the MCA proved a dynamic organisation capable of meeting changing Chinese needs arising from the Emergency, the growth of an assertive Malay nationalist movement, and the accelerating momentum towards decolonisation. Following an internal reappraisal in the early 1950s of its initial character as a traditional mutual aid organisation involved mainly in Emergency-related welfare activities, the MCA became a catalyst for the development of a Malayan-centred Chinese political consciousness. Its leadership chose a communally-based political alliance with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), rather than partnership with the multi-racial Independence of Malaya Party (IMP), as the best means of serving Chinese interests. The party's pivotal role in mainstream Malayan politics is most clearly demonstrated by its cooperation with the UMNO in jointly leading the independence campaign, including the Alliance negotiations with the British and the Malay Rulers which resulted in the promulgation of a constitution that defined the economic, cultural and political rules for independent Malaya. Although the constitution enshrined Malay "special rights" and upheld Malay cultural and political dominance, the MCA achieved its crucial objective of citizenship based on jus soli, thus laying the basis for legitimate Chinese participation in the political life of independent Malaya.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:19

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item