The Indians came to Malaysia in large numbers in the latter part of the 19th century primarily to work in the plantations. Many Indians also came to work in the construction of roads and railways and some joined the police force and government agencies. 80% of the Indians were from Tamilnadu and the others were from the states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Pubjab and Gujarat. A sizeable number of Tamils also came from Sri Lanka.


Methodist work started with the coming of James Thoburn and William Oldham to Singapore on 8th February 1885. Thoburn preached the first sermon on the verse “Not by might, nor by power but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” Zech 4:6. Among the many Tamils who came to work in Malaya were Christians. So when the missionaries started Christian work, these Tamil Christians joined them. In 1887, Mr.G.W.Underwood, a Ceylon Tamil offered himself to help in the Tamil ministry. The Tamil Methodist work gradually grew. In 1894, Tamil Methodist work was started in Penang by the Pyketts. There was a school for boys. Simon peter was the first local deacon to serve the church.

Tamil work in Kuala Lumpur was started in 1897 with the coming of Rev.W.T.Kensett. In 1899, Rev.S.Abraham arrived from Ceylon and took over from Rev.Kensett. An anglo Tamil School was started for boys and girls. Rev.Abraham was described as a Tamil John Wesley for he traveled and labored much for the Lord. He was appointed as the first Asian District Superintendent in 1913. He was in charge of 9 preaching stations from Malaka to upper Perak. Another hardworking pastor was Rev.S.S.Pakianathan. He pioneered in the south. He too sacrificially worked and he even went to Medan to minister. In 1895 William Horley started the work in Ipoh. Mr.Job Gnanasigamoney was appointed as a worker and he was an effective worker. Later Methodist Tamil work was also started in Malaka, Kuantan and in other towns. By 1910 there were 700 Tamil Methodists and 20 years later the number doubled. The Anglo Tamil Schools, which were started later, became English schools. Several pastors who served also worked as teachers. Not all missionaries gave importance to Tamil work. Conversions were minimal.


Before 1968, Tamil work came under the jurisdiction of the Malaya Annual Conference (now TRAC) which was early English speaking. The Chinese and the Ibans already had their own annual conferences. As early as 1932 there was talk that the Tamils too form their own Annual Conference. Though the Tamil churches were spread in different parts of Malaya and Singapore, the work did not grow for various reasons.
1)There was a lack of local Tamil pastors. 2) Teacher pastor system had its own drawbacks. 3) The Pakianathan seminary in Tamil Settlement, Ipoh which trained some teachers and other less qualified persons as pastors was discontinued. 4) Most of the Western missionaries who came helped in the English speaking churches and they had their hands full. Out of the many, only two missionaries learnt Tamil.
5) Financially, the Tamil churches were weak. 6) The Tamil church was dependent and lacked enthusiasm. 7) Pastors were frequently changed and this hampered growth.
8) Tamil work was “voiceless.

In the midst of these challenges, from 1960 to 1980, the contribution of the 5 missionary pastors from South India and one pastor from Sri Lanka cannot be forgotten. They gave good leadership and filled the gap well. We also had one missionary from the West working in the Tamil conference. During this period the Conference also invited several good evangelists and experienced pastors from India to come and conduct evangelistic and revival meetings in all the Tamil churches. These servants of God also challenged young people for the ministry and many responded.

What led to the formation of the Tamil Annual Conference (TAC)?

1. The Tamil Work Committee. This committee formed in 1958 advised the Conference (MAC) on matters related to Tamil work. A newsletter carried the news of the Tamil work.
2. 1967 Kuala Lumpur consultation. Many (both the clergy and the laity) were dissatisfied with the lack of growth and development of the Tamil work. The newsletter carried this burden. Thus in 20th August, 1967, a consultation was organized in Kuala Lumpur where 115 representatives from all over the country and Singapore came. Many observations were made about the lack of pastors, lack of interest, lack of finance, problem of language and other matters.
3. A move to form a Provisional Conference was proposed. The members felt that only then will the Tamil work develop. Several good suggestions were made for the initial period in terms of workers, finance and administration. There were also opposing views against this formation citing lack of finance and leadership as the main reasons and that this is not the right time. But it was the strong opinion of the Tamil ministers and lay people that the formation of a separate Tamil conference within the Methodist church is the only hope, not only for the existence of the present Tamil work but also for the future growth in this land.

So in the 1967 session of the Malaya Annual Conference, a resolution was passed for the formation of a Tamil Provisional Annual Conference (TPAC). It was a provisional conference because to form an annual conference, there must be 22 ministers in full connection, but TPAC had only 20 ministers. The following year inspite of another hurdle, TPAC came into being from December 11, 1968. The first TPAC president elected was Rev.T.R.Doraisamy.

The launching fund to form TPAC was not enough. What to do? In that 1968 conference session, about 50 over pastors and lay people went to the beach in Port Dickson and poured out their hearts to God. That was another spiritual beginning. The ministers pledged one month’s salary for the conference work. They challenged the laity and the churches. People began to give.

In the year 1976, the one Methodist church in Malaysia and Singapore had to become two separate autonomous Methodist churches. The final session of TPAC was held from November 28 – December 1, 1976. The Bishop was Rev.T.R.Doraisamy and the Presiding Elder was Rev.Prabhu Das Roberts. Then from December 2-3, the first session of TAC was held. Rev.John Kovilpillai was elected as the first conference President of TAC. The first Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia was Rev.C.N.Fang of the Chinese Annual Conference. There were 23 churches with 2617 confirmed members in TAC. (The Singapore counterpart was called as the Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC)



The formation of TPAC was on this prayer “Not by our power but by thy spirit”. As there were several factors to overcome, the Tamil church tried to overcome them one by one through much prayer and determination.

A) To overcome the financial problem, several endowment funds were established. An outreach fund was started to enhance the work of evangelism and missions. More outreach bases were started. The Ministerial Training Fund was started to support pastors in training. The conference benevolence fund was established to support the ongoing work of the conference. It is amazing to note that the giving towards this fund grew from strength to strength. Every local church was challenged to support her own pastor and many churches did that.

B) Shortage of pastors: In 1968 when TPAC was formed, there were only 20 ministers in full connection. Of this only 4 were young Malaysian pastors. Others were either old or they were foreigners. The conference took serious steps to rectify this need. Refresher courses were given. Existing pastors were encouraged to go for higher training. The challenge for more pastors was given and new young candidates were recruited for full time ministry. From 1970, the Lord has been bringing new youths for ministry every year. In the beginning they were sent to India for training. Now they are sent to STM.

C) Outreach and church membership: There were about a million Indians in Malaysia and Singapore in 1968. The Tamil church saw a big challenge ahead of her. Many plans and programs were drawn to reach the unreached. Because of the lack of pastors, some pastors were overworked. Greater emphases were given for lay participation. Laity seminars were held in district and conference levels. Seminars on evangelism were conducted. Estate ministry was intensified. Speakers from India were invited to conduct revival and evangelistic meetings. Though there have been some improvements, the membership growth has been minimal. A Church Growth Task Force has been formed to spearhead church growth in TAC.

D) Greater participation: After the formation of TPAC, the Tamil church members were able to participate actively in conference matters and the ministry. Because of the system of equal representation from all component conferences in the General Conference of the Methodist Church, more Tamil clergy and laity were able to represent in all the churches and other ecumenical agencies.



1. Districts in the conference: In 1968 there were 6 districts including Singapore District with a total of 28 churches. In 1976 with the exclusion of Singapore District there were 23 local churches in 5 districts. By 1995, the conference had grown to 39 churches. Selangor which had 12 churches was divided into two districts namely Selangor District and Central District in 1995.

2. Eastern District: For many years there were only 2 churches (Kuantan and Raub) in the Eastern District in the state of Pahang. Eastern District was then made into a missionary district. Today there are 6 churches in that district.

3. Missions and MMM: Several local churches were involved heavily in missions. On 7th August 1993, the Malaysian Missionary Movement of TAC was formed. Churches and individuals gave much for this cause. Today we have the TEACH centre in South Thailand and we are sponsoring several projects and pastors in other countries.

4. Supply Pastors: After 1980 there were no supply pastors. The work grew and there was a need for more workers. Men with less academic qualifications but having a call for ministry availed themselves. They are a great asset. Today we have 8 supply pastors. They upgrade themselves through TEE courses in STM.

5. Lay Preachers Training Institute (LPTI): From 1997, all those who are doing the lay preachers course are asked to come for the LPTI for centralized training once a year. Two or three subjects are taught to them. The response is very encouraging. Once they have finished the prescribed course they will be given Lay Preachers License.

6. New Buildings: Over the years many churches built their own church buildings and parsonages. Some worship in shophouses. The largest church building is in Tamil Settlement, Ipoh built in 1997 with a seating capacity of 1000 people.

7. Regular Ministries: Over the years the conference, various departments and other agencies have matured. There are regular women’s conferences, youth camps, prayer warrior camps, leadership seminars, children’s camps, pastors’ schools, Church School Teachers Training programs, Missions Exposure Trips, Young Adults Camps, Music and Worship Seminars, LCEC Retreats, Evangelistic and Revival Meetings, Inter church programs and ministries. These are done in the local, district and conference levels. Some of these programs are well represented and members look forward for these yearly programs. At the end of 2005, we have drawn out “Vision 2015”, a ten year plan of church growth and ministry.

8. Wisma TAC: For many years TAC administration work was done in the office space given by the Kuala Lumpur Tamil Methodist Church. A proposal was made that we buy a property for TAC. In the year 1984, the present Wisma TAC in Jalan Tun Sambanthan was bought for RM 990,000 and this building was dedicated on 26th November 1984 by Bishop C.N.Fong. A double storey house (Rumah TAC) has been bought for the serving president to live.

9. Many TAC students are going into the colleges and universities for higher education and training. Some of these students backslide or go to other churches. Given the right kind of direction and support these students can be well spiritually developed, and God willing they can also give leadership once they are working. TAC has started a campus / varsity ministry.

10. Social Ministry: All our churches are involved in different social ministries. Methodist Women have a home (Shekinah Home) in Klang where they are for Senior Citizens.



Bishops: Rev. C. N. Fong, 1976-1988
Rev. Dr. Denis Dutton, 1989-1996
Rev. Dr. Peter Chio, 1997-2004
Rev. Dr. Hwa Yung, 2005-

TAC Presidents: Rev.John Kovilpillai, 1976-1988 (he also served as pastor)
Rev.Noel Arputharaj, 1989-1990 (first full time president)
Rev.James Solamadan, 1991-1992
Rev.David Tharmakan, 1992-1998
Rev.P.Tevaraji, 1998-

TAC Lay Leaders: Mr.D.R.Daniel, 1976-1987
Mr.K.Pandian, 1988-1994
Mr.Paul Devadason, 1995-1996
Mr.Peter Palaya, 1997-2000
Mr.T.Tharmapal, 2001-2006
Mr.Steven Solomon, 2007-2008
Mr.T.Tharmapal, 2009-

Conference Secretary: Rev.Noel Arputharaj, 1976-1988
Rev.Devadason Peter, 1989-2000
Mr.V.Tharumaraj, 2001- 2008
Mr.Jayapal Joseph, 2009-

Conference Treasurer: Mr.Sam Supramaniam, 1976-1992
Mr.Cecil Victor, 1993-2000
Mr.V.Jacob, 2001-2008
Mr.Samuel Gunalan Peter, 2009-

Finance Board Chairman: Mr.E.V.Nesaretnam, 1976-1984
Mr.P.S.Nagaratnam. 1985-1988
Mr.J.D.Rajaram, 1989-1992
Mr.Anthony Row, 1993-

Methodist Women Presidents: Mrs.Violet Dass, Dr.Saro Pakianthan, Mrs.Jean Kovilpillai, Mrs.Lila Chelliah, Mrs.Kamala Devadason, Mrs.Mary Devadason
Board of Ministry Chairmen: Rev.Noel Arputharaj, Rev.David Tharmakan, Rev.Victor Vethamani, Rev.A.E.Joseph, Rev.Devadass Ratnam

Youth Directors: Rev.David Tharmakan, Rev.Simon Chandran, Rev.Victor Vethamani, Rev.C.Jayaraj, Rev.Emmanuel Rajasher, Rev.Dennis Raj, Rev.David Rashpandy, Rev.James Ravindran,




















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1. Thesis: History of Tamil Methodist Churches by Soma Rajan, 1988/89
2. Thesis: A study of the Methodist Tamil Work in Malaysia with particular reference to the formation of TAC, 1981 by Rev.Victor Vethamani.
3. Past Journals of Methodist Annual Conference and Tamil Annual Conference.
4. Oldham: Called of God by T.R.Doraisamy.
5. Christianity in Malaysia, Edited by Robert Hont, Lee Jam Hing and John Rosborogh.












NO 1968 NO 1976 NO 1998
1 Alor Setar 1 Alor Setar 1 Alor Setar
2 Sungai Petani 2 Sungai Petani 2 Sungai Petani
3 Penang 3 Penang 3 Penang
4 Taiping 4 Taiping 4 Kepala Batas
5 Ipoh Town 5 Ipoh Town PERAK DISTRICT
6 Tamil Settlerment 6 Tamil Settlerment 6 Ipoh Town
7 Kampar 7 Kampar/Gopeng 7 Tamil Settlerment
8 Sungai Siput 8 Sungai Siput 8 Kampar/Gopeng
9 Teluk Intan 9 Teluk Intan 9 Sungai Siput
10 Sitiawan 10 Sitiawan 10 Teluk Intan
11 Kuala Lumpur 11 Kuala Lumpur 12 Taiping
12 Sentul 12 Sentul 13 Jelapang/Tasek
13 Tanjong Malim 13 Tanjong Malim CENTRAL DISTRICT
14 Klang 14 Klang 14 Kuala Lumpur
15 Port Klang 15 Port Klang 15 Sentul
16 Bukit Rotan 16 Bukit Rotan 16 Tanjong Malim
17 Banting 17 Banting 17 Rawang
18 Raub 18 Raub 19 Sungai Besi Serdang (95)
19 Kuantan 19 Kuantan SELANGOR DISTRICT
20 Seremban 20 Seremban 21 Port Klang
21 Malacca 21 Malacca 22 Bukit Rotan
22 Kluang 22 Kluang 23 Banting
23 Cha’ah 23 Cha’ah 24 Petaling Jaya
SINGAPORE 25 Shah Alam (98)
24 Pasir Panjang 26 Sungai Pelek
25 Punjabi church EASTERN DISTRICT
26 Seletar 27 Raub
27 Sembawang 28 Kuantan
28 Short Street 29 Mentakab
30 Jerantut
31 Bentong
32 Cheroh
33 Seremban
34 Malacca
35 Cha’ah
36 Kluang
37 Alor Gajah
38 Tangkak
39 Asahan
40 Johor Bahru