The Malay world in Old Singapore (March 2018)

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Next year, while Singaporeans will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of its founding my Sir Stamford Raffles, Johorians may be wondering if this was a good thing or a bad thing? Afterall, Johor Bahru would not be what it is today if it hadn’t been for Raffles!

When Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore, it was to sign a trading treaty for the British East India Company with the Malay rulers of Singapore (or Temasek as it was known then). Since the 1500’s, Singapore had been part of the Old Johor Sultanate, ruled from the island of Riau. But who was the rightful Sultan of Singapore who could sign such a deal with the British?

Pages of history have been written about this issue, survice to say here that the co-signatories were Sultan Hussein and Temenggong Abdul Rahman, both of whom got a decent pension out of the British in the process. Little did they forsee that the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 would turn Singapore into a Crown Colony, and that their control of Singapore would slowly disappear. Ultimately, Temenggong Abdul Rahman would be granted rights over land in Johor in return for helping the British end piracy in the region, and his son Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim would establish Johor Bahru (then Iskandar Puteri) as his domain to start on his new money-making venture in 1858.

So, to help you look at Singapore from a Malay point of view, here are some places you might like to explore.

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© Helen Gray 2020