Old China Town KL The Malaya Study Group Selangor SG 87

The Malaya Study Group exists for collectors of the stamps, postal stationery and postal history of the states of Peninsular Malaysia which until 1963 formed the Federation of Malaya, including the Straits Settlements of Malacca, Penang and Singapore, the Federated Malay States, Negri Sembilan and Sungei Ujong, Pahang, Perak and Selangor and the Unfederated States, Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Trengganu.The Society has a JOURNAL, "The Malayan Philatelist" and a NEWSLETTER supplied free to members, EXCHANGE PACKETS, AUCTIONS and has produced a number of significant PUBLICATIONS on the stamps and postal history of the area.



by D.R.M. Holley   A List of meters & numbers

A full detailed and illustrated article is in The Malayan Philatelist No 242, Vol 49 No. 3,  July –September 2008 

The 1927 Annual Report of the Post & Telegraph Department of the Straits Settlements states that Postal Frankers were first used in the Colony in June, 1927, and the figures below indicate they came into use in the Federated Malay States at about the same time. 

    YEAR            MACHINES             REVENUE                    MACHINES                REVENUE

                           (STRAITS)              (STRAITS)                       (F.M.S.)                       (F.M.S.)

    1927                     11                                      -                                        -                             $2,950

    1928                     27                                     -                                       8                                -

    1929                     36                                 $92,335                              -                                 -

    1930                     42                                 $99,135                              9                                -    

    1931                     43                                 $89,665                              9                             $9,125

    1932                     47                                 $88,259                             10                            $8,939

    1933                     47                                 $76,727                             10                            $7,926


The numbers of machines in columns 2 and 4 are cumulative.

 I have never found a record or evidence of the licensing of a postal franker in the Unfederated Malay States, viz. Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Trengganu.  

The complete list of those that I have in my collection (with dates) and the firms that licensed them is as follows:

The Midget Machines

   M.1    Baker, Morgan & Co., stockbrokers, Kuala Lumpur. 1927.  The meter stamp is dated  26.7.27, the earliest I possess.

  M.2    Evatt & Co., Penang. 1934.

  M.3    The Kwong Yik (Selangor) Banking Corporation Ltd., Kuala Lumpur. 1932. With  slogan. Figure 5.

  M.5    The Straits Echo, Penang. Dated during WW2.

  M.6    Henry Waugh & Co., Penang. 1929. Also Malayan Collieries Ltd., Kuala Lumpur.  1938.   Figures 3 & 4.

  M.7    Indragiri Rubber Ltd., Singapore. 1933.

  M.8    Singapore Cold Storage Co., Ltd. (Ipoh Branch) 1936. With slogan. Figure 6.

  M.10  John Little & Co., Ltd., Singapore. 1936. With slogan.

  M.11  The Straits Times. Singapore. 1932. With slogan.

  M.14  Mansfield & Company, Singapore. 1931. Also Mansfield & Company, Penang. 1938 & 1939. Latter with slogan.  The one without slogan is shown at Figure 7.

  M.18  E.B. Evans & Co., Singapore. 1929 (2). One with, the other without slogan.

  M.26  Rennie, Lowick & Co., Singapore. 1936 & 1937.

  M.27  The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company, Ltd., Singapore. 1935.

  M.29  Licensee unknown. Singapore. 1937.

  M.32  V.R. Vick & Co., Singapore. 1934. Midget Agents. Figure 2.


The earliest Neopost I have on cover is dated 22 July 1930 but the machine which made it was numbered N.17 so either there was an early rush for Neoposts or they were not commissioned in ascending number order as the Midgets appeared to be.  The details of my meagre list are as follows:


   N.1    Straits Java Trading Co., Singapore. 1936.

   N.17  Ardath Tobacco Co. Ltd., Singapore. 1930.  Figure 9.

   N.20  Guthrie & Co. Ltd., Singapore. 1932.

   N.24  Licensee unknown. Seremban. 1939. With slogan. Figure 11.

   N.28  The Dunlop Rubber Co. (S.S.) Ltd., Singapore. 1941.  Figure 10.

 Of the five licensees listed above the only one that switched to a Universal that I have evidence of is Guthrie & Co., Ltd., Singapore. 


The sum total of Universal meter stamps in my possession, with their licensees, is as follows: 

  U.1     Guthrie & Co. Ltd., Kuala Lumpur. 1936 & 1937.  Figures 14 & 15.

  U.2     United Engineers Ltd., Singapore. 1936 & 1940.

  U.3     Henry Waugh & Co. Ltd., Singapore. 1936. With slogan.

  U.4     Robinson & Co. Ltd., Singapore. 1941.

  U.5     Guthrie & Co. Ltd., Singapore. 1935 & 1941. Both with slogans.

  U.6     Netherlands Trading Society, Singapore. 1936 & 1937.  Figures 12 & 13.

  U.7     East Asiatic Co., Singapore. 1935 & 1937.

  U.8     Fraser & Neave Ltd., Singapore. 1935 & 1940.  Both with same slogan.

  U.9     Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation, Ltd., Singapore. With slogan.

  U.10   General Electric Co. Ltd., Singapore. 1936 & 1938.

  U.11   Kodak Limited, Singapore. 1937.

  U.12   Singapore Cold Storage Co. Ltd., Singapore. 1936.

  U.13  Henry Waugh & Co., Ltd., Penang.   

  U.14  Dunlop Malayan Estates Ltd., Malacca. 1941.

  U.15   Joseph Travers & Sons Ltd., Singapore. 1941.

  U.16   Evatt & Co., Singapore. 1938.  Figure 16.

  U.17   Mansfield & Company, Singapore.        

  U.20   Kennedy, Burkill & Co. Ltd., Penang. 1937.

  U.21   Nestle & Anglo-Swiss Milk Products Ltd., Singapore. 1940.

  U.22   McAlister & Co. Ltd., Singapore. 1941.

  U.23   Harrisons Barker & Co., Singapore. 1941.

  U.24   Anglo-Oriental (Malaya) Ltd., Kuala Lumpur. 1937 & 1939.  Figure 17.

  U.25    Licensee unknown. Singapore. 1937.

  U.26   Rennie, Lowick & Co., Hongkong Bank Chambers, Singapore. 1940.   

  U.27   Gibson, Anderson, Butler & Co., Kuala Lumpur.

  U.30   Great  Eastern Life Assurance Limited, Singapore. 1939.   

  U.31   The New Zealand Insurance Company, Ltd., Singapore.  1940.           

  U.32   William Jacks & Co. (Malaya) Ltd. 1941.

  U.34   Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, Singapore. 1946.  As this meter is of the pre-war type (i.e. 'Straits Settlements' included) it is presumed    the H & SBC was the pre-Occupation licensee also.  

  U.35   The Borneo Company Ltd., Singapore. 1941.

  U.37   William Jacks & Co. (Malaya) Ltd., Ipoh. 1941.

  U.40   Sime, Darby & Co. Ltd., Singapore. 1942.     

It will be noticed that most of the gaps come in the second half of the list, i.e. amongst the higher licence numbers.  This I feel sure is because they were in use for a shorter period and I think it is noticeable how many examples I have which are dated in 1940/41 when I suspect the Malayan Government was anxious to economise on adhesive stamps and were encouraging the use of franking machines  


“The Meter Postage Stamps of Malaya”.  Article in The Philatelic Magazine dated 20 November 1942 (Vol. 50, No. 11 – Whole No. 715).  Author unknown.

“50 Years of Postal Franking Machines.”  Pamphlet produced by the G.P.O. to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the introduction of  Postal Franking Machines in U.K. 1922-72.

“Philatelic Backdrop.”  Article in Gibbons Stamp Monthly dated February 2000.

Various advertising

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