The Power and Influence of the High Commissioners in Colonial policy-making in Malaya, 1948-1957

Fernando, Joseph M. (2011) The Power and Influence of the High Commissioners in Colonial policy-making in Malaya, 1948-1957. Sejarah, 19 (1). pp. 177-196.

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--Contestations between the Metropolitan and the Periphery: The Role of the High Commissioner in Colonial Policy-making in Malaya, 1948-1957 By Joseph M. Fernando Department of History Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences University of Malaya Abstract This article examines the influence of high commissioners in colonial policy-making in Malaya between 1948 and 1957. It looks at three administrations in Malaya in the post-war period to assess the extent to which high commissioners shaped colonial policy vis-à-vis the Colonial Office in London. Were high commissioners merely instruments of the Colonial Office or were they independent-minded administrators shaping policies in the periphery? To what extent did they represent metropolitan interests, on one hand, and the interests of the territories and its peoples, on the other? Malaya provides an interesting case study for an examination of the power and influence of high commissioners in the chain of colonial policy-making in the face of a serious insurgency and a strong nationalist movement in the post-war period. The first part of the article provides a broad overview of the colonial policy-making process. The following sections then discuss in some detail the influence of three high commissioners in Malaya by assessing their influence in shaping major policies during their tenures. The final section draws some conclusions on the power and influence of high commissioners in colonial policy-making. This article argues that the high commissioners in Malaya dominated colonial-policy making in the post war period. The rapid pace of the developments on the ground and the complexity of the issues that surfaced necessitated a thorough understanding of events on the ground and invariably quick decision-making and the men on the spot were often in a better position to shape the policy responses to the various challenges than the mandarins in London.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: High Commissioner, political powers, Malaya, policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: MR. ADNAN YAHYA
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2011
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2015

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