The British Intervention Policy in the Malay States: A General Strategic View


  • Mohd Zaini Salleh
  • Ahmad Zaidi Sulaiman


Non-intervention policy, indirect intervention policy, direct intervention policy, economic interests, politicsecurity factors


This article highlights and discusses significant factors and events affecting the British intervention policy in the Peninsular Malay States in the 19th century during the colonial era as seen from the strategic perspectives with regard to the British foreign policy at that time. Certain variations to the British approaches are also highlighted with greater emphasis given in the deliberation of the general comparative analysis based on economic and politico-security factors thorough a general strategic studies view. The article also debates on crucial factors triggering the change in the British’s foreign policy such as the economic downturn in most European countries in the 19th century. The article also emphasizes the strategic views based on power race, and fears in British considerations, were the peculiar elements and factors that came under the mainstream of political and security dimensions determining Britain’s foreign and intervention policies essential to the survival of its economic and political endeavours in the Southeast Asian sub-region by adopted the realism thought. Finally, the article suggests that the impacts of the British intervention policy on the Malay States need to be further deliberated, studied and incorporated in the Malaysian’s strategic studies. The significance of certain events such as the 1824 creation of the demarcation line by the British and the Dutch, and the treaty between the British and the Siamese government in 1909 all of which contributed to the breaking up of the Malay world, a result that can be felt even in the present day, should be analyses in detail. In a different positive light, the article also looks into the foundation of the modern Malay nation imposed by the British such as the establishment of the Straits Settlement, the federated Malay States, and the nonfederated Malay States was not a mere coincident but was in fact part of a wellplanned colonial scheme in a long-view of the strategic values of the sea-control strategy of the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea and part of the British grand strategy in the context of power balance to counter the threats from the north of Malay Peninsular.


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How to Cite

Mohd Zaini Salleh, & Ahmad Zaidi Sulaiman. (2014). The British Intervention Policy in the Malay States: A General Strategic View. Zulfaqar Journal of Defence Management, Social Science & Humanities, 1(1). Retrieved from