Penang: The Rebel State (Part Two)


Displeasure with the Federation ignited Penang’s secessionist movement which lasted from 1948 to 1951. In this final part concluding last month’s article, we witness the movement’s struggle to gain traction, and its speedy demise.

The initial impetus for secession was provided by the Penang Chamber of Commerce under the leadership of D.A. Mackay. In November 1948 the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce was asked if they would be interested in forming “a movement designated to get Penang out of the Malayan Federation in order that it might re-join Singapore as the Straits Settlement.”

By early December, the irresistible momentum for secession was building up. The Penang Straits Chinese Association voted in favour of secession and this was unanimously backed by an emergency general meeting of the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce on December 12.

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