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Ghosh, Kalyan Kumar (1976) Decentralisation of Power in the Federated Malay States, 1920-1929. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Following a Prologue explaining the importance and scope of the subject, Chapter I describes the administrative traditions of the West Coast Malay States and the accentuation of the problem of over-centralization of power after these states formed the Federated Malay States. Chapter II describes the turmoil of dissatisfaction which boiled among Malay Rulers, European Civil Servants and merchants against the Federal Secretariat between 1918 and 1920, and explains how the question of formation of a Union of Malaya, created a need for relaxation of central control in the federated states. Chapter III discusses the void between the federal administration and many rural Malays created by over-centralization, and some problems of Malay participation in administration. The regular recruitment of Malays, started with the formation of the Malay Administrative Service (Chapter IV), permitted them to share power in the district administration with European Civil Servants but the measure did not satisfy the aspirations of the federated states for autonomy. The achievement in this regard was unimpressive, and no power of the Chief Secretary of the federation diminished before 1924 (Chapter V), because of peripheral issues raised. After 1924 the Sultan of Perak, the Colonial Office and the British High Commissioner favoured the gradual abolition of the Chief Secretary's office (Chapter VI), but a premature disclosure of this proposal was exploited by pressure groups to create a strong opinion prejudicial to the proposal. Since these groups were themselves divided, the High Commissioner succeeded in delegating power to allocate funds to states in twelve services (Chapter VII) but permitted a strong centre to continue. Chapter VIII evaluates the considerations which entered into the policy of decentralization in the 1920s, assesses its achievements in the light of difficulties faced in these states and analogous situations, and indicates its future impact.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:22

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