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Mohd Eunos bin Abdullah is appointed municipal commissioner 1922

On 21 December 1921, The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942) reported that the nomination of Mohd Eunos bin Abdullah as a municipal commissioner of Singapore had been approved by then Governor of the Straits Settlements Laurence Nunns Guillemard.[1] On 30 January 1922, Eunos was listed for the first time as one of the commissioners present at the ordinary meeting of the commissioners.[2] More significantly, he was the first Malay to be appointed a member of the Municipal Commission in Singapore, which was the governing body  overseeing local urban affairs at the time.[3]

Widely regarded as “the father of Malay journalism”, Eunos was born in Singapore in 1876.[4] After graduating from Raffles Institution, he worked in the office of the Master Attendant of Singapore Harbour, before becoming the harbour master at Muar, Johor.[5] Eunos’s career in Malay journalism began in 1907, when he was invited by the owner of Singapore’s oldest English-language newspaper, The Singapore Free Press, to edit the paper’s Malay edition, the Utusan Malayu (“Malay Herald”).[6] He left Utusan at the end of 1909.[7] In 1914, Eunos became the editor of the Lembaga Melayu (“Malay Institution”), which was the Malay edition of the Malaya Tribune English newspaper.[8] He remained the editor until the newspaper ceased publication in 1931.[9]

Due to his considerable influence within the Malay community, Eunos was subsequently appointed a justice of the peace, and subsequently a municipal commissioner.[10] As a municipal commissioner, Eunos regularly attended the Municipal Commission’s monthly meetings to discuss municipal matters.[11] In November 1929, he participated in the commission’s assessment of Ford Motor Company of Malaya’s application to set up a car-assembly plant in Tanjong Katong.[12] In 1923, Eunos was nominated as a member of the Muhammedan Advisory Board for Singapore, which had been established in 1915 to advise the colonial government on Muslim religious matters and customs.[13] The following year, he became the first Malay to be appointed an unofficial member of the Straits Settlements Legislative Council.[14] In 1926, he founded and became the first president of the first political Malay association in Singapore, the Kesatuan Melayu Singapura, or Singapore Malay Union.[15]

During the August 1932 monthly meeting of the Municipal Commission, Eunos was identified as one of two municipal commissioners who had abused their public office by being heavily in arrears in their payments due to the Municipal Fund.[16] He had resigned from the Municipal Commission before the meeting.[17]

Eunos passed away on 12 December 1933.[18]

References
1. Untitled. (1921, December 21). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 6; Sir Laurence Nunns Guillemard arrives. (1920, February 3). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Municipal Commission. (1922, January 30). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Roff, W. R. (1994). The origins of Malay nationalism (p. 160). Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. Call no.: RSING 320.54 ROF; Nik Ahmad bin Haji Nik Hassan. (1963, May). The Malay press. Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 36(1)(201), 49. Retrieved March 25, 2015, from JSTOR.
3. The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), 21 Dec 1921, p. 6; Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. St. J. (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (Vol. 2) (p. 317). Singapore: Oxford University Press. Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS].
4. Roff, 1994, p. 159.
5. Roff, 1994, p. 159.
6. Roff, 1994, p. 159. [The Utusan Malayu (1907–1921) mentioned in this article should not be confused with the Utusan Melayu newspaper which was first published in 1939.]
7. Nik Ahmad, May 1963, p. 46.
8. Nik Ahmad, May 1963, p. 48.
9. Nik Ahmad, May 1963, p. 48; Roff, 1994, p. 161.
10. Roff, 1994, p. 160.
11. $1,000,000 for new railway. (1928, September 29). The Straits Times, p. 10; Another warning about revenue. (1931, April 30). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Municipal Commission. (1929, November 30). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. One more conference failure. (1923, January 6). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 6; Matters Muslim. (1929, December 12). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG
14. Radin Soenarno. (1960, March). Malay nationalism, 1896–1941. Journal of Southeast Asian History, 1(1), 10. Retrieved March 25, 2015, from JSTOR; Untitled. (1924, March 15). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Roff, 1994, pp. 190–191.
16. Commissioners’ abuse of privileges. (1932, August 27). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. The Straits Times, 27 Aug 1932, p. 12.
18. Death of Inche Eunos bin Abdullah. (1933, December 13). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

 

The information in this article is valid as at March 2015 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.

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