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Thread: Malaysian History: Insight Into The History Of Malaya In The 40s and 50s

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    Malaysian History: Insight Into The History Of Malaya In The 40s and 50s

    In Dec 1941 when Japan invaded Malaya, the British colonialists ran off in a most disgraceful manner, abandoning the Malayan people to their own devices and mercy of the marauding Japanese invaders. The Malayan people to their credit, organized and formed the Malayan People Anti Japanese Army (MPAJA) with leadership provided by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).

    Insight Into The History Of Malaya In The 40s and 50s


    Picture essay about the history of Malaya in the 40s and 50s

    The British Empire command half of the earth then. The commonwealth countries are among the richest and most resourceful then. As mentioned below that Malaya contribute half of the British annual revenue, mathematically Malaya would have been the richest country in the world at that time.

    Perhaps Mat Sabu have done his homework in regards to the subversive issue.

    Thanks Pappan for fowarding the Photo-essay of Malaya : Circa 1948 - 1960: The Communist uprising written by an unknown writer. The anecdotal style of writing enhanced with rarely seen photos of that time makes for compelling reading.

    However, it’s quite obvious that the writer is from an elite Malayan Chinese family. How many Malayan then has the luxury of having maids and owning family car (an armour plated one at that!) ? Thus, he writes from the perspective of a local elite, the tiny minority who benefitted much from colonial rule. Many of the local elites then work in cohorts with the colonial master to suppress the anti colonial forces since they too wanted to maintain the status quo.

    The opening statement on the killing of 3 plantation managers as the “cause” that triggered the emergency is a classic British colonial masters’ propaganda “excuse” to launch the Emergency with its draconian security laws.

    The fact is, the British has been secretly preparing for this inevitable “show down” with the Malayan anti-colonialist forces since they returned to Malaya after the Japanese surrendered at the end of 2nd World War.

    In Dec 1941 when Japan invaded Malaya, the British colonialists run-off in a most disgraceful manner, abandoning the Malayan people to their own device and mercy of the marauding Japanese invaders. The Malayan people to their credit organized and formed the Malayan People Anti Japanese Army (MPAJA) with leadership provided by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).

    The Japanese ruled over Malaya with an Iron fist for 3.5 years. The period known as the Japanese Occupation years was a time of immense suffering for Malayan. The economy was in a shamble; there were severe shortage of essentials, food was scarce and there is no security of employment. Also, the people were subject to arbitrary arrest, abuse and torture. The only hope for the people then was the MPAJA which waged a fairly successful guerilla war against the Japanese and was the only source of protection against Japanese atrocities.

    After the initial shock of defeat at the hands of the Japanese and seeing that Malayan have organized up to fight the Japanese rule, British agents returned to Malaya secretly in 1944. The British knew that they must work with the MPAJA if they want to have any future in Malaya when the Japanese are defeated.

    Thus, the British worked clandestinely in support of MPAJA during the Japanese occupation, supplying the MPAJA with arms and training. Do refer to the book “ The Jungle is Neutral” by Spencer Chapman, a British soldier who wrote about his time in the jungle fighting alongside the Malayan communist guerillas against the Japanese occupiers

    As the war prolonged, the Japanese felt the burden of overextended forces and resources. In Malaya, the Japanese where starting to lose their grip while the MPAJA were increasingly in influence and area of control.

    However, the dropping of the A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 brought a dramatic sudden end to Japanese occupation of Malaya.

    The American being the “victor” and also being on the side of their fellow British imperialist cousins, naturally want to ensure that the Japanese occupiers in Malaya surrender to the British instead of MPAJA and CPM.

    However, on the ground the MPAJA was in real control of many parts of Malaya immediately after the Japanese surrendered. Thus, the British had to rely on a deceiving strategy to regain control of Malaya. On returning to Malaya, the British allowed the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and many other left organizations to operate legally. However, they insisted that the MPAJA lay down their arms. At the same time the British secret agents, the Special Branch, worked overtime to monitor and assess the strength and weaknesses of the anti-colonial forces. During that time many organisations such as, PUTERA-AMCJA were set-up to agitate for Independence..

    By 1948, the British felt strong enough to move against thePUTERA-AMCJA and CPM. They banned the PUTERA-AMCJA, CPM and many left wing organisations. Just before the declaration of the Emergency, the British arrested more than 1,000 Malay left wing activists who were anti British and supporters of CPM.

    At the same time, the British cultivated the Malayan elites and Sultans to support them. The British portrayed the CPM as a Chinese organization and stirred up racial tension.
    The British succeeded in using the classic divide and rule strategy.

    Malaya was too important to Britain because of its rich resources. In the 50s, Malaya as a colony contributed to half of mother England’s annual revenue.

    The killing of the three rubber plantation managers was a pretext for the British to launch an all out war to suppress the anti-colonialist forces.

    Right from the word go, British was already on the upper hand as they had been preparing for the war for the last 3 years!
    The British has the advantage of resources; control of the rules and regulations, firepower, control of the media, control of transports and manpower.

    They played on the differences between the races and in many cases deliberately acted as agent provocateur to instigate races clashes between and Chinese and Malays so that Malayan were divided and thus too weak to fight the colonial forces.

    Declaration of Emergency allowed the British to enact draconian “emergency” laws such as detention without trial, control of printing permit, arbitrary arrest, forced relocation of residents, expatriation to home countries, imposition of curfew, formation of secret police etc… Many of these laws are still in existence today as they are useful tools for the ruling elite to control the people.

    The British mobilized army forces from Commonwealth countries including; NZ, Australia, India, Nepal, Fiji, Britain, South Africa to fight the anti colonial forces in Malaya. It is estimated the British has a combined army strength of 40,000 against the Malayan Peoples Liberation Army (MPLA) of 8,000.

    The British propaganda worked overtime to label the anti colonialist forces as terrorists while portraying themselves as Malayan saviours. But in reality British was fighting to suppress the anti-colonial force which by then had formed the Malayan Peoples Liberation Army (MPLA).

    Despite British’s superior fire power and manpower resources, the British was fighting a losing war, thus they resorted to some drastic measures to contain the MPLA. Initiated by Briggs, the people (mainly Chinese) were herded into concentration camps called “New Villages”. The Malayan Chinese numbering about half a million who were then living or squatting on the fringes of the jungles were forced by the British to relocate from their land and live in these designated “New Villages”.

    These new villages were like concentration camps; surrounded by razor blade wires and patrolled 24 hours at the entrance. Living in the new village, away from their land imposed tremendous inconvenient and suffering to the people. All the villagers can only go out after sunrise and have to be back in the village before dusk.

    It was a strategy which proved to very successful in depriving the MPLA of its support base apart from the new village plan, the people were also subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention without trial. Of course torture was included in the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) of detention. The draconian Internal Security Acts (ISA) which allows detention without trial and the Batu Gajah and Kamunting detention centers are the legacies of the British !

    The British and supporting troops operating against the MPLA were often jittery and sometimes trigger happy.

    Below is an extract from the Wiki on the Batang Kali massacre which happened during the Malayan emergency years.

    The Batang Kali massacre is an incident that took place in Malaya on December 12, 1948 during British military operations against native communists in the post-World War II

    Malayan Emergency.
    The 7th Platoon, G Company, 2nd Scots Guard surrounded a rubber estate at Sungai Rimoh, Batang Kali, Selangor in Malaya and shot 24 villagers before setting fire to the village. The only adult male survivor was Chong Hong, who was in his 20s at the time. He fainted and was presumed dead by the Guardsmen. Eye witnesses include the victims' spouse and children and others including Tham Yong age 78 and Loh Ah Choy age 67. The men had been separated from the women and children for interrogation before the shooting began. The incident today is sometimes described as "Britain's My Lai massacre". It was in this campaign that Sir Gerald Templer first coined the now famous phrase "hearts and minds" as part of his strategy for victory.

    The British Defence Secretary (Denis Healey) instructed Scotland Yard to set up a special task team (lead by Frank Williams) to investigate the matter. An ostensible lack of evidence allowed the incoming Conservative government chose to drop the investigation in 1970.

    On September 9, 1992, a BBC documentary, an investigative report into the massacre entitled "In Cold Blood" was aired in the United Kingdom and revealed fresh evidence about it. The documentary includes accounts from witnesses and survivors, including confessions of an ex-Scots Guards soldier and interviews with the Scotland Yard Police Officers who had investigated the case in 1970.

    Thus, in essence the Emergency was Britain undeclared war against Malayan fighting for an independent Malaya.

    A must read book to really understand the history of Malaya of that time is “My Side of the History” by Chin Peng.
    And a must watch documentary is "Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka" , (Ten Year before Independence) by filmaker Fahmi Reza. This short film tells the story of Malaysia's independence struggle from the viewpoint of some freedom fighters mostly ignored by our history textbooks: PUTERA-AMCJA. The five largely unsung heroes of Malaysia's independence struggle who were interviewed and featured in this documentary are Yahya Nassim, Zainuddin Andika, Majid Salleh, Hashim Said, and Lim Kean Chye.

    Watch the film in full here or

    U-tube in 4 parts

    Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka - Part 1

    Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka - Part 2

    Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka - Part 3

    Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka - Part 4
    Attached Files Attached Files

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