The following text is extracted from "Chapter V: Municipalities—Sanitary Boards, Rural and Town" in the 1940 publication How Malaya is Governed, written by S.M. Middlebrook (Malayan Civil Service) and A.W. Pinnick (Malayan Educational Service) (London, New York and Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co.). The preface states that the book was meant “for use in Malayan schools in Standard VIII and above”.
Coming out as it did just a couple of years before the Japanese put a rude end to the intricate system of government that the British over 160 years had slowly constructed for the Malay peninsula, the book provides a good sense of what the official structure of colonialism looked like just before it ended. The series of governing systems put in place after the defeat of Japan in 1945 were quite different, and all were of a transitory nature.
The Japanese centralised control over the whole peninsula without disrupting much of the civil service structure, while the British, on their ...
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