Report by Hugh Clifford on Kelantan and Terengganu Expedition (1938)

Report by Hugh Clifford on Kelantan and Terengganu Expedition (1938)

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From 1891 to 1895, the Pahang War disrupted Britain’s enclosure of territory on the Malay Peninsula. Fought in response to an uprising by up to 700 rebels in Pahang, the war was not only a means for controlling damage to British interests but also an arena for a subtle, geopolitical contest between Britain and Siam for the Siamese tributaries, including Kelantan and Terengganu.

During this period Terengganu, sheltered by legal and territorial constructs that kept the Siamese frontier open until 1902, was becoming a hub for 
perang sabil (‘holy war’) against British and Siamese ‘competitive colonialisms’. Known to be providing discursive, human, and other political resources to the Pahang rebels, Terengganu came to be portrayed as a ‘wild’ and ‘benighted’ place by Pahang’s British Resident Hugh Clifford, an important broker of the colonial race-thinking deployed as a means for controlling and taming the frontier.

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