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The article presents information on Malay population in the nineteenth century. So far as British Malaya as a whole is concerned, the first comprehensive census was taken in 1911 when the total population was enumerated to be about 2,650,000, of whom 46.8 percent were Malay, 6.4 percent Malaysian, 34.7 per cent Chinese, 10.1 percent Indian and 1.9 per cent others. All the published population estimates and statistics for the various states of the Malay peninsula have been brought together. The various estimates have been related to the social context in which they were made and to which they refer, in order to draw some general conclusions about the criteria by which such estimates may be judged. Three factors are responsible for the fluctuations in estimated population size. They are straightforward ignorance about the states, epidemics, and migration, either between the states themselves or from outside the peninsula, caused by wars, misrule or economic opportunities.


The article focuses on issues concerning the role of ideology in the manipulation and management of racial and ethnic groups in colonial Malaya, that resulted in tensions and potential conflict situations, as of January 1, 1983. In colonial Malaya, political domination of the indigenous population was achieved through indirect rule by making the traditional Malaya ruling class an instrument of British colonial interests. Political domination and social control, over the immigrant communities was exercised initially through Capitan China and Kangany systems. Systems of domination and control operated by the colonial political structure were closely paralleled with economic structure of the private sector as well. This parallel was consistent with  colonial theory, in that capitalist colonial aimed at the maximization of profits and political domination and social control was a necessary condition for effective economic exploitation.
The article focuses on ethnic differences and the state-minority relationship in Southeast Asia. The diversity and complexity of the human geography of Southeast Asia is rarely surpassed in other parts of the world. Besides recent immigrant Chinese, Indian, European and other communities, the indigenous population have more than twenty-five languages and over 250 dialects. There arethree major religions; and there are profound racial, cultural and demographic contrasts between the coastal areas and the mountainous interiors, between the western two-thirds of Southeast Asia and the eastern third, and between island Southeast Asia and mainland Southeast Asia. New states of Southeast Asia face problems of national cohesion. In all cases, there are centrifugalforces which strain the unity of the state. Some are a result of ethnic differences and some are related to the unjust treatment of minority groups.


The Tamils form a distinct minority group in multiracial Malaysia enjoying political and economic participation in the country. However, nationalism and modernization have brought about an erosion, real and imagined, in the continuity of language, literature, and culture. Ethnic Tamil newspapers, which have always played a role in the cultural continuity of the community, are becoming increasingly assertive in such a role. This article provides a content analysis and the results of a readership survey of Tamil newspapers which underline the significance of the role played by Tamil newspapers. It concludes that while questions remain as to what this role ultimately means with regard to the merging of minority communities into the mainstream economy and society of Malaysia, the importance of Tamil newspapers in the preservation of Tamil ethnic continuity, and therefore cultural diversity in the country, is valued by the Tamil community.

Using 1957 and 1970 census data, four independent variables were used to explore determinants and constraints of Malaysian women's participation in the modern sector: ethnic community, educational attainment, size of place of residence, and marital/family status. Women's labor force participation increased as agricultural employment declined and a sizeable growth in non-agricultural employment emerged; the pattern was consistent with the growth and direction of change in the Malaysian economy over the same period. About one third of women in each of three major ethnic communities (Malay, Chinese, and Indian) were employed, but they had rather distinctive patterns of type of work.

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