Security markings on British Malaya Stamps

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Updated: 17 Jan 2019

See Jeff Turnbull's Malaya Perfin Catalogue on the Perfin Society web-pages.


  • 1826 Singapore, Penang & Malacca become the Straits Settlements, ruled from India
  • 1 April 1867, the Straits Settlements become a Crown colony administered from Singapore
  • 15 February 1942, Singapore surrendered to Japanese Army on
  • 15 August 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies on
  • 5 September 1945, British troops returned to Singapore and a British Military Administration [BMA] was formed to govern the Straits Settlements until March 1946.
  • 1 April 1946, the Straits Settlements was dissolved and Singapore became a separate Crown Colony.
  • 16 September 1963, Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak were formally merged and Malaysia was formed.
  • 9 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia and became the Republic of Singapore.
  • 1965 October - Singapore becomes the 22nd member of the Commonwealth.
See Time line of Singaporean history here.


  • On 1 February 1823, the civilian post office opened at Singapore.
  • Indian stamps were used from 1854 to 1 September 1867 in Malacca, Singapore and Penang when the Straits Settlements became a Crown Colony.
  • 1856 the octagonal Indian type cancellers began being used: B/109 for Malacca, B/147 for Penang and B/172 for Singapore.
  • On 1 April 1877 the Straits Settlements joined the Universal Postal Union [U.P.U.]
  • Stamps overprinted "British Military Administration" [BMA] were used from 1945 to 1948 throughout the Malayan States.

Straits Settlements:

  • Malacca, Singapore [along with Christmas Island] and Penang [along with Province Wellesley and until 1934 The Dindings] were incorporated under one government in 1826 with the governor was located at Penang. 
  • In 1836 the seat of government was transferred to Singapore. 
  • Administration was transferred from India to the Secretary of State for the Colonies on 1 April 1867 when the Straits Settlements became a Crown Colony. 
  • The Cocos [Keeling] Islands were transferred to the Straits Settlements on 7 February 1886. Labuan was attached to the Crown Colony in 1898becoming the fourth settlement in 1906. Labuan was transferred to North Borneo in 1946. 
  • The Crown Colony was dissolved in 1946.


  • In 1946 Singapore became a separate colony.

Malayan Union:

  • In 1946 Penang and Malacca were incorporated into the Malayan Union.

Federation of Malaya:

  • was formed in 1948 out of the Malayan Union.

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contact info

Michel Houde


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