Politically the Malay Peninsula is divided into four sections: the colony of the Straits Settlements and the Federated Malay States; the independent Malay State of Johor, which is within the British sphere of influence; the non-federated states under British protection; and the groups of states to the north of Perak and Pahang which are now recognized as lying within the sphere of influence of Siam.
Johor is the only Malay state in the southern portion of the peninsula, the whole of which is within the British sphere, which has been suffered to remain under native rule.
The population of the peninsula numbers about 2,000,000, of whom about 600,000 inhabit the colony of the Straits Settlements, about 900,000 the Federated Malay States, about 200,000 the Malay State of Johor, and about 250,000 to 300,000 the remainder of the peninsula.
150,000 in Johor, and the remainder in smaller communities or as isolated traders scattered throughout the villages and small towns of the peninsula.
Penang was purchased from Kedah in 1786, and Singapore from the then sultan of Johor in 1819.