Malay Secret Societies in the Northern Malay States, 1821-1940s

Monograph 39
Malay Secret Societies in the Northern Malay States, 1821-1940s
By Mahani Musa
185pp. Size: 146x222mm. Hardcover

This study describes the origins, function and roles of secret societies in Malay society. The Malay secret societies emerged in the northern Malay states of the west coast of the peninsula between 1821 and the 1940s. These societies were the main avenue to solve various problems which resulted from socio-economic development and competititon among the Malays. They reflected an early Malay mode of organization at a time when political parties and associations had yet to be formed. Some of these societies started as religious and welfare organizations. Later they lapsed into criminal activities due to the failure of the existing leadership to control these tendencies. Just like the Chinese secret societies, members of the Malay secret societies were bound by an oath of secrecy which made detection by the police rather difficult.

Translators' Note

  1. Introduction
  2. a. The Kedah-Siam War and the Creation of a Migrant Community in Penang and Province Wellesley
    b. The Distribution of the Inhabitants of Penang and Province Wellesley after 1821
    c. The Kedah Malays’ Anti-Siamese Uprising and Support from the Local Community
    d. The Emergence of a Domiciled Community after the Reinstatement of the Kedah Sultanate
    e. Jumaah Activities and its influence on the Malay Communities in Province Wellesley
  3. a. Social Change in Penang and the Emergence of the White Flag and the Red Flag Secret Societies, 1830s to 1860s
    b. Competition among Islamic Groups in Penang and Providence Wellesley, 1830s to 1860s
    c. The Assimilation of the Indian Convict Community into the Multiracial Community in Penang
    d. The Muharram Celebrations in Penang in the Nineteenth Century e. Muharram Celebrations around 1845
    f. Muharram Celebrations around the 1850s
    g. Malay-Muslims in Chinese Secret Societies
    h. From Jummah to Secret Society: The Emergence of the White Flag Society and the Red Flag Society
  4. a. The 1867 Penang Riots
    b. The Cause of the riots
    c. The Riots
    d. Reasons why the White Flag and the Red Flag Collaborated with the Chinese Secret Societies
    e. Criminal Acts Commited by the Malays During the the Riots
    f. Ordinances and Religious Rulings
  5. a. The White Flag and the Red Flag up to the 1940s
    b. Boria and Intra-District Rivalries
    c. Gangsterism
    d. The Boycotting of Mosques and Burial Grounds
    e. The Establishment of Footbal Clubs
    f. Anti-Boria Campaigns
    g. Education and the Emergence of Alternative Associations
  6. a. Secret Societies in Perak, Kedah and Perlis
    b. Patterns of the Activities of the Secret Societies in Perak c. The Perak Malays’ Anti-British Secret Pact (1874-1875) d. The White Flag and the Red Flag in Perak (1879-1880s) e. Malay Secret Societies in Perak in the Twentieth Century f. Malay Secret Societies in Kedah g. The Tuan Bulat Secret Society and the Sofian Club in Perlis
  7. Conclusion
Appendix A: Confirmation made by Omar bin Bashirah A’Khalid on the order of the Governor of Penang to all the Malay inhabitants of Penng Island and Province Wellesley prohibiting them from joining Chinese Secret Societies
Appendix B: Leaders of the White Flag and the Red Flag in Penang and Province Wellesley in the nineteenth and twentieth century
Appendix C: Names of people involve in the Tuan Bulat Secret Society in Behor Mali, Kayang

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