The first political Malay association in Singapore, Kesatuan Melayu Singapura (KMS), or Singapore Malay Union, was established on 14 May 1926 with Mohammad Eunos Abdullah as its first president. KMS was formed as a source of organised support for Eunos following his appointment as the first Malay member of the Straits Settlements Legislative Council in 1924.
The leaders of KMS were mostly English-educated Malay journalists, government officials, merchants, and persons of traditional, secular and religious standing. They advocated the socio-economic progress of the Malays, especially in terms of opportunities for higher education among the younger generation.
The birth of KMS marked “a turning point in the political attitudes of the Malays” for it signalled the beginnings of efforts by the community to actively promote their rights and interests. One of its earliest and most notable achievements was the establishment of the Jalan Eunos Malay Settlement, also known as Kampung Melayu, in 1929. More importantly, KMS was a forerunner of the various Malay political parties that emerged later in the post-war period, in particular the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in Malaysia.
1. Roff, W. R. (1994). The origins of Malay nationalism (pp. 190–191). Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. Call no.: RSING 320.54 ROF.
2. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005 (p. 155). Singapore: NUS Press. Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR.
3. Roff, 1994, p. 192.
4. Roff, 1994, p. 191.
5. Soenarno, R. (1960). Malay nationalism, 1896–1941. Journal of Southeast Asian History, 1(1), p. 10. Retrieved September 24, 2013, from JSTOR.
6. Roff, 1994, pp. 192–194.
7. Soenarno, 1960, p. 9; Turnbull, 2009, p. 156.
The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.