Site hosted by Build your free website today!



  • the policy of non-intervention
  • reasons for the change to a policy of intervention
  • case study : British intervention in Perak 1874
  • the Pangkor Engagement

    Policy of Non-Intervention

  • EIC was a trading company; only wanted to make great profits through peaceful trading
  • Did not want to interfere in local politics which might embroil them in war and unnecessary expenditure
  • EIC busy developing its possessions in India
  • Abolition of trade monopoly in 1834 brought other European traders into the area; reduced the company’s profits

    Policy of Intervention

  • Increase in demand for tin & other raw materials
  • Need for markets to buy British goods
  • Need for new fields of investment
  • Anarchy in the Malay states
  • Change in British policy of non-intervention
  • Opening of the Suez Canal & increased European interest in the East
  • Fear of European rivals

    1. Increase in demand for tin & other raw materials

  • Industrial Revolution
  • Development of the tin-canning industry
  • Malay states were very rich in tin
  • To ensure supply of tin, Britain need to extend their control over the Malay states

    2. Need for new markets to buy British goods

  • Industrial Revolution and large-scale production
  • New territories would become new markets for British goods

    3. Need for new fields of investment

  • Lost of EIC monopoly of the China trade
  • Straits merchant lost much there & looked elsewhere to invest
  • Malay states ideal because of agricultural & mineral wealth potential
  • Wanted British govt intervention in these states to bring about law & order so that they can invest safely in the tin mines & plantations

    4. Anarchy in the Malay States

  • Causes

    5. Change in British Policy of Non-intervention

    1. Value of British investment in the Malay states
  • British interest in Malay states needed protection to prosper
  • Estimated that trade in Malaya about £3 million a year and it was largely British capital that finance this trade
  • Thus the British government was prepared to consider a new policy

    2. Change in British attitude

  • Lord Kimberley appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1870
  • Belonged to a new breed of British politicians
  • Believed Britain had a responsibility to spread the benefits of its rule worldwide
  • 1873 : Sir Andrew Clarke appointed as Governor of the Straits Settlements

    “whether any steps can be taken to promote the restoration of peace and order to secure protection to trade and commerce”
    “it would be advisable to appoint a British officer to reside in any of the states”

  • Led to the introduction of British Residents in Malaya
  • Change in British Policy of Non-intervention

    3. Change of government in Britain in 1873

  • Conservative Party ; Benjamin Disraeli
  • favoured imperialism to boost British prestige
  • “Forward Policy” - extend British control over more colonies overseas

    4. Suez Canal & European Interest in the East

  • Trade increased between East & West increased with the opening of the Suez Canal
  • Trade passed through friendly or occupied areas except Malaya; route could be threatened
  • Britain-Gibraltar-Malta-Aden-India-Burma-Straits of Malacca-Hong Kong-China
  • Straits of Malacca became more important
  • Strong possibility and growing fear that other European powers would want to make Malaya their colony

    5. Fear of European rivals

  • France
  • spreading control in Indo-china
  • Holland
  • expanding into Indonesia
  • Spain
  • established in the Philippines

    6. Fear of European rivals

  • Russia
  • looking for new colonies
  • Germany
  • after reunification in 1871, desperately looking for colonies in the East
  • Rumours
  • Germany negotiating bases in P Langkawi and northern Malay
  • many German business companies in S’pore

    British Intervention in Perak 1874

  • Discovery of tin in Larut
  • The First Larut War 1861
  • The Second Larut War 1865
  • The Third Larut War 1872
  • The Perak Succession Dispute
  • The Fourth Larut War 1873
  • Raja Abdullah’s Letter to the Governor

    PERAK in the 1860s

  • many internal troubles
  • succession quarrels in the Perak royal house
  • wars among Chinese tin miners in Larut
  • disruption by piracy


  • Perak, known as the "Silver State", (perak means silver)
  • Used to be one of the richest states in Malaysia.
  • The state capital is Ipoh which became known as "The City of Millionaires" when many miners made their fortunes in the nearby tin mines around a hundred years ago.
  • Perak was one of Malaysia’s wealthiest states until the world-wide recession in the late Eighties took its toll on the state.
  • The collapse of the world's tin industry (Perak’s main source of revenue) led to tin prices falling sharply, forcing mines to be closed


  • Maxwell Hill or Bukit Larut is Malaysia's oldest and smallest hill resort
  • Located 9 km from Taiping in Perak
  • Blessed with a cool temperature and beautiful natural surroundings

    Discovery of Tin in Larut
  • 1848 : Long Jaafar discovered rich deposits of tin in Larut
  • He invited Chinese miners from Penang to work the mines in Larut
  • Tin mining very successful - Sultan made Long Jaafar the Chief of Larut
  • Succeeded by his son Ngah Ibrahim in 1857

    Secret Societies in Larut
  • Hai Sun Secret Society
  • mostly Hakkas occupyong an area in Taiping
  • Ghee Hin Secret Society
  • mostly Cantonese; finding the best mines in Taiping occupied, they moved to Kamunting
  • Initially contented with their own mining operations, they were soon overcome with greed and jealousy
  • Fought over mining claims and control of water courses so necessary for tin mining

    The First Larut War 1861

  • First open clash in July 1861 over the control of a water course
  • The First Larut War ended with Ngah Ibrahim becoming the richest and most powerful chief in Perak

    The Second Larut War 1865

  • Both sides were unhappy and required a small incident to spark off another clash
  • this time, it was over a gambling quarrel
  • involved other Chinese and Malay secret societies
  • Both sides forced to come to terms only because they were exhausted
  • a temporary period of calm followed

    The Third Larut War 1872

  • The third war was the result of a scandal between the Ghee Hin leader and the wife of a relative of the Hai San leader
  • It was at this time that Raja Abdullah took the side of the Ghee Hins
  • Raja Abdullah was a claimant to the throne of Perak and an enemy of Ngah Ibrahim
  • The war between Chinese miners was now a civil war involving Malay chiefs of Perak

    The Perak Succession Dispute

  • From 1871, there was dispute over who the Sultan should be
  • 3 candidates : Raja Yusof, Raja Ismail & Raja Abdullah
  • Each had his own power base and supporters who would not accept either of the other candidates
  • When Raja Ismail succeeded in making himself Sultan, Raja Abdullah refused to accept this
  • Sided with the Ghee Hins as we have seen to gain their support

    The Fourth Larut War 1873

  • Counterattack by Ghee Hin
  • Situation in Perak became chaotic
  • Malay chiefs embroiled in the war were alarmed at the disorder created by the secret societies
  • Straits merchants complaints to Sir Harry Ord fell on deaf ears; policy of non-intervention
  • Sir Andrew Clarke, new Governor of the Straits Settlements soon launched a policy of intervention

    Raja Abdullah’s Letter to the Governor

  • 30 Dec 1873 - Raja Abdullah wrote a letter to Sir Andrew Clarke asking for “a man of sufficient abilities to …… show us a good system of government”
  • William Pickering (The Chinese Protector)was sent to Larut to persuade the warring Chinese to accept British arbitration
  • Frank Swettenham (later Resident of Selangor and Perak) was sent to invite Malay chiefs to a meeting at Pulau Pangkor


  • Terms of the Pangkor Engagement
  • Consequences of the Pangkor Engagement

    The Chinese Engagement

  • The Chinese leaders agreed to British arbitration, to disarm their warboats and to sign a written agreement
  • The Chinese Engagement was signed on board the ship Pluto

    Terms of the Pangkor Engagement

  • Raja Abdullah was recognized as Sultan of Perak
  • Raja Ismail was given the title of Sultan Muda, a monthly pension of $1,000 and a small territory assigned to him
  • Ngah Ibrahim remained Mentri of Larut but not as an independent ruler
  • Asst Resident to advise him on admin of Larut

    Terms of the Pangkor Engagement

  • British Resident
  • Sultan Abdullah was to accept a British Resident who was paid by the Sultan
  • His advice must be asked and accepted on all matters of administration
  • Exception : those concerning Malay customs, traditions and religion
  • The Resident was to be given a place of residence by the Sultan
  • Revenue

    Consequences of the Pangkor Engagement

    1. The Chinese Engagement

  • resulted in a satisfactory division of the tinfields
  • Leaders of both sides agreed to keep peace
  • Accept decisions of the govt commission set up to settle disputes between the two parties
  • To the Chinese, this was a satisfactory arrangement
  • Tired of warfare and wanted to settle down to business of mining tin

    2. The Malay Chiefs

  • The signing of the Pangkor Engagement was carried out too quickly for them to realise the full implications of the treaty
  • They did not realize it meant a loss of power as Sultan Abdullah must act on the advice of the Resident
  • Even Abdullah himself was mistaken that he could take advice only if he wished to
  • Did not fully understand the terms of the treaty; difficulty of translation

    Comparison of terms of the Pangkor Engagement

    Article VI (Eng Version)
    That the Sultan receive and provide a suitable residence for a British Officer to be called Resident, who shall be accredited to his Court and whose advice must be asked and acted upon on all questions other than those touching Malay Religion and Custom.

    Article VI (translated Malay Version)
    That the Sultan receive and provide a suitable residential house for one officer….. whose title shall be British Resident. The Sultan of Perak shall have to consult with him on all matters and the working of Perak State except that he cannot interfere with Muslim religious affairs and Malay Custom

  • The treaty created two Sultans of Perak
  • Ismail refused to accept the title of Sulatan Muda or the pension
  • Ngah Ibrahim
  • Clarked ignored the fact that Ngah Inbrahim was recognized as the independent ruler of Larut by Ord.
  • Cpt Speedy was now Asst Resident

    3. Sir Andrew Clarke

  • exceeded his instructions and authority
  • He claimed this was necessary to maintain peace and protect British interests
  • He was not reprimanded because he had strong support from new government in England, the Secretary of State for Colonies and the business community of the Straits Settlements

    Importance of the Pangkor Engagement

  • The agreement was a historic one which marked the beginning of the Residential System in Malaya
  • The Residential System was one of indirect rule
  • The Sultan remained Head of State, but he must accept the advice of the British Resident in all matters of administration and government
  • Extended to the states of Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Pahang