Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society

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The Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS) is a learned society based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. [1]


Established in 1877, the society is dedicated to the collection, recording and communication of geographic, historic and cultural information about Malaya, Singapore and Brunei. A primary objective of the society is the encouragement of the study of the region by publishing a journal and undertaking other scholarly activity. Although affiliated to the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (RAS) it is completely autonomous, thanks to financial support from the governments of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei and other organizations. Members, however, have access to the library facilities of the RAS when in London.


The society was founded in Singapore in 1877 as the Straits Asiatic Society by a small group of expatriates led by Archdeacon (later Bishop) George Hose. In 1878, having sought and obtained an affiliation with the RAS, it became the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society with 150 founder members, many of whom were colonial administrators. Archdeacon Hose became the first president, serving as such until 1908. Today the society has more than 1,000 members.

During the colonial period the society was supported by grants from the government and donations from the Sultans of the Malay States and also benefitted from various privileges, such as government-provided premises and printing facilities. In 1923 the society's name was changed to recognise political changes to the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and in 1954, when the Society was also relocated to Kuala Lumpur, to its current name. [2]

The journal was produced from the very early days of the society, initially as the Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and currently as the Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society . Since then 309 journals have been published, as well as 48 monographs, and the journal is considered the oldest active publication in the region.


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  1. "About Us". MBRAS. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  2. "Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society". Singaporeinfopedia. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
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  14. Suryadinata, Leo. Southeast Asian Personalities of Chinese Descent: A Biographical Dictionary. p. 410.
  15. "MALAYSIAN BRANCH OF THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY PERSATUAN ASIA DIRAJA BAHAGIAN MALAYSIA: ANNUAL REPORT for the period 1st January 1997 to 31st December 1997". Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 71 (2 (275)): 148–158. 1998. JSTOR   41493373.
  16. "Annual Report and Accounts". Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 88 (2): 187–202. 2015. doi:10.1353/ras.2015.0018.