South East Asia Geography – 5

MALAYA

Geography Of Malaya : Malaya peninsula had an area of about 53000 sq.miles with a population of 85,00,000 in 1966. It had a central mountain chain with altitudes ranging from 4000 to 8000ft. there are also coastal plains extremely narrow at some places and as wide as miles at other places. On the western shores rubber growing islands are found. Vast deposits of tin are also found in the country. In so far as agriculture is concerned in Malaya it consisted of small plots of the natives and also large scale plantations of Europeans and Chinese. It was in these large scale plots that before world war II about 45% of world’s supply of rubber was produced. In 1930’s Malaya was world’s largest rubber producing country.

The Population : the natives of the peninsula are descendant of proto Malaya with considerable mixture of Arab, Indian and Chinese blood. In 1947 total population of 5,808,000 included 43% malas,44% Chinese, 10% Indians and remaining wee Europeans principally the British. Most of the Malays were British subjects whereas Chinese majority consisted of foreign residents. In the words of Clyde and beers, “But although the Chinese formed the overwhelming group n Malaya in the20th cent, it was India rather than Chinese culture that influenced the historic patterns native Malayan life. Indian commerce, Indian Buddhism and Hindu had reached Malaya by sea in the early centuries of Christian era.”