Malays in Singapore

Topics: Singapore, Race and Ethnicity, Malaysia Pages: 2 (666 words) Published: September 19, 2013
In this section of the essay, I will give a brief overview of the Malays in Singapore and thereafter the progress that they have made as an ethnic group and their gender equality.
In pre-colonial Singapore, the Malays are the indigenous people living on the island. It is also essential to lend credit to Sang Nila Utama who renamed the island of Temasek to ‘Singapura’ which consists of a combination of two Malay words; Singa meaning ‘lion’ and ‘pura’ meaning temple. As the British came and established Singapore as a trading port, large numbers of immigrants especially from China starts to arrive and gradually settle down in Singapore. In addition, the revolution in China led to an increasing numbers of single Chinese women who migrate over to Singapore. Overtime, the rate of natural increase for the Chinese greatly outnumbers the rate of immigration itself. This has led to an over booming of Chinese as the dominant ethnic group among the Malay natives in Singapore (Lee, 2011). Although there is a large numbers of Chinese, the Malays enjoy a range of privileged job in the British’s administrative bureaucracy such as police man and post man.

Situations start to change after World War II with the onslaught of political awakening which eventually leads to the merger with Malaya. However, the ‘marriage of convenience’ was unsuccessful and Singapore separated from Malaya in 1965. This had led to bitterness between the two countries and the concept of racial inequality starts to be institutionalized. Due to the strong beliefs that Malays had towards their religion, there is general perception that the Malays may face dilemma should Singapore goes into armed conflicts with Malaysia one day (Transitioning.Org, 2011). As such, institutions such as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has key posts that would not be held by Malays for fear their religious background may come into conflict with the style of operations within SAF.

The gender issues within the Malay...

References: Lee, S. A. (2011). Singapore: from place to nation (2nd ed.). Singapore: Pearson Custom Publishing.

Transitioning.Org. (2011). Racial discrimination is well and alive in Singapore. Retrieved from

Li, Tania 1989. Malays in Singapore. Culture, Economy and Ideology. Singapore: Oxford University Press.

Mikula, M (2005). Women, Activism, and Social Change. New York: Routledge.
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