Arkib Negara Malaysia

Name translated in English
National Archives of Malaysia
Postal address
Jalan Duta
50568 Kuala Lumpur
Visiting address
Jalan Duta
+60 3 62 01 06 88
+60 3 62 01 56 79

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Opening hours

onday and Friday 9.00-16.00 hrs,
Tuesday to Thursday 9.00-18.00 hrs,
Saturday 9.00-12.30 hrs;
registration hours 8.00-12.45, 14.00-16.00 hrs.

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he building of the National Archives of Malaysia is located in the vicinity of the Parliament House and Lake Gardens. By law, records generally become available for public consultation twenty-five years after their creation. In order to get permission to consult archival materials, letters of introduction and other recommendatory papers (for instance from the Malaysian government) may be necessary. See the following web sites:

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he mission of the National Archives of Malaysia is to hold in custody and preserve archival materials pertaining to the nation's history and to disseminate information regarding their importance to the public. The Archives' vision is to create a generation of citizens with a love for the history and the nation. Its objectives are:

  • to enhance public awareness and knowledge of then nation's history by way of acquiring, and preserving as well as facilitating on access and research of as well as disseminating information on public records and archives;
  • to create an efficient administrative machinery for the government by ensuring that a systematic and modern system of records management by the public sector is in place.

he functions of the archives are:

  • to acquire, accumulate and preserve public records of the nation that have a national and historical value;
  • to provide for reference and research by government agencies and members of the public, as well as carry out research into history of nation;
  • to provide advisory services to government departments on the orderly and systematic management of public records;
  • to disseminate information on the archives to the larger public;
  • to modernize the management and administration of the archives through computerization programs.
Research hall of the National Archives

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fter Malaysia became independent on 31 August 1957, the Public Record Office was established on 1 December of that year. In 1963, its name was changed into National Archives of Malaysia. In 1966, the National Archives Act was passed by the Parliament and received Royal Assent. In the same year the Archives building at Petaling Jaya was opened. The National Library was established as part of the National Archives in 1971 but separated again in 1977. In 1982, the present National Archives building on Jalan Duta was officiated. 1987 saw the placement of the Archives under the Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism.

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he National Archives of Malaysia are placed under the Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism. The institution is headed by a Director-General and consists of the following divisions: Administration, Records Service (acquisition and selection), Archives Service (accessibility), Search and Publication, and Repository and Technical Services. There are eight National Archives branch offices: Johor/Melaka (at Johor Bahru), Kedah/Perlis (at Alor Setar), Sabah (at Kota Kinabalu), Kelantan (at Kota Bahru), Sarawak (at Kuching), Pulau Pinang (in Georgetown), Perak (in Ipoh) and Terengganu/Pahang (at Kuala Terengganu).

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he National Archives provides the following research facilities: research hall with a seating capacity for 120 persons, library, map-reading room, microfilm-viewing room, audio-visual room, copying services and transliteration services. In addition, the Archives set up exhibitions and memorials.

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  • Baxter, I.A., 'Dutch Records from Malacca in the India Office Records', Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 56, 2 (1983).
  • Habibah Zon, Dato', Disclosures from the Records of the Dutch Reformed Church in Malacca at the National Archives of Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, 2003).
  • Hardy, T.J., ed., 'Catalogue of Church Records, Malacca 1642-1898', Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 15, 1 (1937) (reprint of a government paper published by the Government Printing Office at Singapore in 1902).
  • Sheppard, A.M., Report on the Public Records Office and National Archives (1958-1962) (Kuala Lumpur, 1963) (Appendix I, pp. 11-33).
  • Verhoeven, F.R.J., 'The Lost Archives of Dutch Malacca, 1641-1824', Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 37, 2 (1964).

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The VOC archives in the National Archives of Malaysia

he Dutch presence in the region presently covered by the Federation of Malaysia began in January 1641 when the Dutch East India Company (VOC) conquered the town of Malacca (Melaka) from the Portuguese. Including Perak and Kedah on the Malay peninsula, Andragiri and Siak on Sumatra and (after 1787) the Riau archipelago, the VOC kantoor (regional establishment) of Malacca was headed by a Governor. The British occupied the settlements between August 1795 and September 1818. The Dutch possessions were definitely transferred to the British in April 1825.

The remaining VOC records at the National Archives of Malaysia

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For more than a century after the Dutch conquest of Malacca, the Dutch Reformed Church used the former Catholic church building on St. Paul Hill to conduct its religious services. Only in 1753 a special protestant church was built, now referred to as Christ Church and situated next to the 'Stadthuys', the former Dutch town hall, in the city centre. The Church organized religious services, took care of the poor, widows and orphans, and performed baptisms, marriages and burials. The headquarters of the Dutch Reformed Church in Asia was located at Batavia (present-day Jakarta), the administrative centre of the VOC in Asia. Here, the Church was placed under the central government (Hoge Regering) of the Company. The Church at Batavia and its branches at VOC settlements in Asia maintained close contacts with the Synod and various Classes of the Church in the Dutch Republic.

The remaining archives of the actual VOC government of Malacca are not kept in Malaysia anymore. A part has been transferred to London in 1927 and can now be consulted at the Oriental and India Office Collections of the British Library (reference code R/9). Other papers originating from these archives are stored in the National Archives of Indonesia at Jakarta and the National Archives of the Netherlands at The Hague (see below). The Dutch records currently kept at the National Archives of Malaysia are all originating from the Dutch Reformed Church at Malacca. In 1899, these church records were catalogued by T.J. Hardy, whose findings were published by the Government Printing Office at Singapore. A reprint of this catalogue appeared in 1937 as 'Catalogue of Church Records, Malacca 1642-1898' in the Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (Vol. 15, no. 1). At the time of Hardy's research, the church records comprised 35 volumes, covered the period 1642-1898 and were kept at the Stadthuys in Malacca, the former Dutch town hall.

First page of the first baptismal register, 1642. Three of the four mothers were of Portuguese descent. Source: Doop Boek 1642-1688

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At their current location in the National Archives at Kuala Lumpur, the records of the Dutch Reformed Church at Malacca number only 14 volumes, covering the period 1642-1825. They consist of:

  • doopboeken (baptismal registers), 5 volumes, 1642-1790, 1800-1825;
  • resolutien (proceedings of the church council), 4 volumes, 1694-1825;
  • kerkboeken (financial records), 4 volumes, 1782-1822;
  • miscellaneous, including lidmatenboeken (church membership lists), 1 volume, 18th century (there are also volumes dating from the British period containing church membership lists, which start in 1824).

These volumes (or at least most of them) appear to be described under the following numbers in the catalogue of Hardy: 2, 8, 10, 14, 16, 18, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29 (?), 30 (?), 31, 33 and 34. In addition, there are two items originating from the Roman Catholic St. Peter's Church in Malacca: marriage registers (1768-1838) and burial registers (1787-1827). All aforementioned records have been put on microfilm (see the survey in Katalog Mikro Arkib Negara Malaysia, which is available at the Archives).

List of Malay marriages, 1789. Also Chinese and Indian Muslims were listed, for all couples had to pay a fee for registration. Source: Kerk Boek

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The church records that still remain are obviously incomplete. In 1919, however, copies were made of part of the documents, which are now kept in the National Archives of the Netherlands at The Hague in three volumes in the collection of Aanwinsten (acquisitions, finding aid code

  • inv. no. 1376:
    - copies of resoluties (proceedings) of the church council of the Reformed Church at Malacca, 1712-1740.
  • inv. no. 1378:
    - copies of resoluties of the council of justice for the churches of Malacca, 1711-1808;
    - copies of correspondence of the church council at Malacca, 1648-1669.
  • inv. no. 1380:
    - copies of correspondence of the church council of the Reformed Church at Malacca, 1752-1796, 1806-1825;
    - copies of lidmatenboeken, 1709-1825;
    - copies of reports concerning the various churches in Malacca, 1713-1793;
    - copy of an ordnance concerning funeral registers, 1766;
    - copy of a regulation concerning funerals, 1716;
    - copy of a survey of receipts and expenditures, 1781-1820;
    - copies of inventories of church possessions, 1808-1824;
    - copies of marriage registers;
    - copies of burial registers, 1788-1852.

Besides, inv. no. 1665 (finding aid code consists of seven volumes with nineteenth-century copies of various documents belonging to the archives of the reformed community at Malacca including an index to personal names.

Furthermore, inv. nos. 1372-1375, 1377 and 1379 (finding aid code comprise original papers dating from the period 1642-1892 deriving from or concerning the Dutch Reformed Church in Malacca.

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