Adult Suffrage Comes to Penang and Malaysia, 1951


On December 1, 1951, the first case of universal adult suffrage took place in Malaya. This was when Penang held its first municipal election. This followed swiftly after the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance, 1950 for the Federation of Malaya, became law on January 1, 1951.

The new council.

53. The political composition of the elected part of the new Council is six Radical, one Labour, one U.M.N.O., and one Independent. Functionally they are four lawyers, two doctors, one office assistant, one Government pensioner and one schoolmaster. It was gratifying to find that in a town where the attitude to women is still rather early Victorian, two women contested the elections. One of them topped the poll in her ward and is returned for three years. The other, though not among the first three, had a very good following. I hope that women will continue to play their part in elections and local government, and will follow the good example of the two pioneers.

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