Primary Source

British Police Station, Rasah, Malaysia

Drawing of 2 wooden structures. Both have two stories. Further description in the source annotation.


Many of the earliest British buildings in the Malay Peninsular were inspired by contemporary Malay structures. Most of these buildings do not exist anymore because they were built to serve temporary functions and were eventually replaced by permanent structures once masonry became available. Pictures of such structures survive in publications from that period such as the depiction of a police station in “Rassa”, which is currently the modern town of Rasah in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. This publication dates from 1884 and displays the degree of Malay influence on British constructions from that period. This structure is surrounded on all four sides by verandahs and was also constructed on stilts. At a slightly later period, buildings were gradually built out of masonry and such buildings include the former police station, old district office and Sultan Abdul Samad’s palace at Jugra in Selangor, all of which was constructed between 1875 and 1879. Most of these buildings are now derelict, with the sole exception of the police station, which is now a museum. The police station was similar to a Malay building in many ways. It was built on stilts and had verandahs on all sides. The roof was built out of attap leaves. It was constructed with light materials and could have been built quickly. Structures like this could also have been replaced or repaired easily and conveniently. Towards the end of the 19th century, more colonial structures were built out of stone. This was due to the constant threat of fire that broke out regularly.

This source is part of the building materials and transnational encounters teaching module


"Police Station at Rassa" in “The Golden Chersonese and the way thither” by Isabella L. Bird, 1884, p. 230. Accessed via the Digital.library Server at Penn Libraries - University of Pennsylvania.

How to Cite This Source

"British Police Station, Rasah, Malaysia," in World History Commons, [accessed February 22, 2024]