Jawi Transliteration Project

Welcome to the Jawi Transliteration Project, a Jawi printed text newspaper archive consisting of 2,000 Jawi-script newspaper and magazine articles published between 1930-1941 in the Straits Settlements and the Malay Peninsula, transliterated into romanised Malay, and presented in a fully searchable format.

During the period from 1930-41, there were at least 110 Malay language newspapers published throughout the Straits Settlements and the Malay Peninsula. The Jawi Transliteration Project focuses on four newspapers: Warta Malaya (published in Singapore), Majlis (Kuala Lumpur), Saudara (Penang) and Majalah Guru (Negri Sembilan). These publications had a strong readership among the Malays that makes them ideal for studying Malay aspirations and intellectual thought. They also represented different geographic centres of Malay intellectual thought, being staffed by the leading Malay ideologues of the day whose vision for Malay society would become the basis for post-colonial societies in British Malaya and the formation of an epistemic community that actively participated in contesting and negotiating different visions of the Malay future.

The selection of Malay newspaper editorials and Letters to the Editor will provide scholars a prism to better understand the complex and dynamic changes taking place in Malay society, and more significantly, challenge the current historiography of an elite-driven nationalism and an elite-formulated nationalism. While the elite view is manifested in the Malay editorials, we contend that the ordinary Malay participated in shaping and transforming some of the views put into the public domain by the elites through the Letters to the Editor. There was constant contestation, negotiation and re-negotiation of elite discourses in the public sphere to form a common vision or, more often than not, a compromise vision of the Malay future.