Abstract

This article revisits the formation of the MCA, looking in particular at the roles played by Tan Cheng Lock and Lee Hau Shik (H. S. Lee). Their efforts to get such an organization off the ground in a Malayan Chinese society fragmented by language, political loyalties and economic interests highlight the communal and factional divisions they had to overcome, and explain how Tan Cheng Lock, a locally-born Peranakan who spoke no Chinese, became the body’s leader.

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