The Prevention of Malaria in the Federated Malay States

Reprint 19
The Prevention of Malaria in the Federated Malay States
By Malcolm Watson
400pp. Size:150x220mm. Hardcover

Sir Malcolm Watson's authoritative work on mosquito control is a unique testament to 20 years of indefatigable but back-breaking labour during which he toiled, along with the colonial authorities in the Federated Malay States (FMS) to arrest the spread of malaria and improve public sanitation. Watson has an unmistakable eye for detail, and in this book he meticulously documents the various measures taken towards malaria prevention - along with his own failures and successes in the field - as well as the thorough observations he made of sanitary conditions at selected locations throughout the FMS while he was engaged in this formidable endeavour.

The book, originally published by John Murray of London in 1921 has been made available again after being out of print for many years. The rather unimaginative title of the book is unfortunate, as it may mislead most readers into believing that it was the sort of book that was published with only specialists on medical, health and public sanitation in mind. Nothing could be further than the truth, however. Watson's account is highly readable and technical jargon is kept to a minimum. Of remarkable interest are Watson's incisive observations of living conditions in the FMS which he personally experienced at the time, making it an extraordinary work of unsurpassed depth, and of slightly more than passing interest to the social or economic historian of British Malaya. The book is liberally sprinkled throughout with well over a hundred illustrations, and allows the reader a glimpse of the now greatly altered urban and rural landscape of the Klang Valley.

"This work will stand as one of the milestones in the history of malaria control and the book is therefore of interest from the historical standpoint. To those confronted with the problem of mosquito control in the tropics it will be an invaluable aid, and wherever the drainage problem has to be met in our war upon the mosquito it will be of value as a reference book. The last five pages give the author's conclusions and are well worth reading by anyone interested in the prevention or treatment of malaria."

J.H.A.,The American Journal of Medical Sciences, August 1922

About the Author:

Sir Malcolm Watson (1873-1955) was born in Cathcart, a neighbourhood of Glasgow and educated at the city's High School and ancient University where he made his mark as an exceptionally outstanding medical scholar, qualifying with commendation in 1895. After a period of post-graduate study at University College Hospital in London, Watson decided to sail to the Far East as a ship's surgeon at the end of which he found himself in Malaya early in 1900. Watson applied to the FMS Government for work and was promptly engaged by the Selangor State Medical Service ; in fact, his first and only appointment was that of District Surgeon of Klang, which he took up in 1901. In 1908, in order to devote himself entirely to estate sanitation, Watson took the remarkably drastic course of action of resigning from government service and formed an Estate Hospitals Association, whose full-time medical officer he became in due course. For some years, Watson found himself living a dangerously precarious, and at times close to penurious, existence with his growing family in an attap hut of a Malay kampong. However, Watson had made considerable breakthrough with his work on malaria and he appeared to his contemporaries at this time as 'one of the busiest and happiest men in Malaya'. It would be no exaggeration to assert that it was largely through his tireless efforts that Singapore and Malaya had been delivered from the scourge that was malaria. Watson's work on malaria prevention and public sanitation earned him much gratitude from the colonial government and recognition of this work came in the form of a knighthood in 1924, by which time he had already become an international figure, especially in America where his methods commanded a large following. Watson was to later prove as successful in Southern Rhodesia in the 1930s as he was in Malaya earlier where there was great demand for experts in the management of tropical diseases. In later years, Watson was to retire to Peaslake in the remarkably beautiful Surrey hills, where he died in late December 1955.


  • Introduction
  • Town of Klang from 1900 to 1909
  • Port Swettenham from 1900 to 1909
  • Results of Drainage of Klang Town and Port Swetteham, 1901 to 1909
  • The Story of a Coast Road
  • Kapar Drainage Scheme
  • A Malaria Survey
  • The Malaria of the Coastal Plain and Anopheles Umbrosus
  • The Malaria of Mangrove Swamps and Anopheles Ludlowi
  • The Coastal Hills
  • The Effects of Malaria
  • On Quinie
  • Seafield Estate and Subsoil Drainage
  • Seafield Estate (continued)
  • Seafield Estate (continued)
  • On the Border of the Hill Land
  • Oiling
  • Some other Examples of Hill Campaigns
  • On the Possibility of Altering the Composition of Water and the Anophelines breeding in it
  • The Island Hill
  • The Malaria of Rivers
  • The Reappearance of Malaria
  • Screening
  • On Drainage
  • On Mosquitoes
  • The Malaria of Kuala Lumpur
  • Anti-Malarial Work in Singapore
  • On Statistics
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • List of Illustrations

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