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The Malayan Emergency, also known as the Anti–British National Liberation War (1948–1960) was a guerrilla war fought in
British Malaya The term "British Malaya" (; ms, Tanah Melayu British) loosely describes a set of states on the Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (: ''Semenanjung Tanah Melayu'') is a in . The runs approximately north–south and, at its terminus, ...
between communist pro-independence fighters of the
Malayan National Liberation Army The Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), often mistranslated as the Malayan Races Liberation Army, was a communist guerrilla army that fought for Malayan independence from the British Empire during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) and lat ...
(MNLA) against the military forces of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
and
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
. The communists fought to win independence for Malaya from the British Empire and to establish a socialist economy, while the Commonwealth forces fought to combat communism and protect British economic and colonial interests.Siver, Christi L. "The other forgotten war: understanding atrocities during the Malayan Emergency." In APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. 2009., p.36 The conflict was called the "Anti–British National Liberation War" by the MNLA, but an "Emergency" by the British, as London-based insurers would not have paid out in instances of civil wars. On 17 June 1948, Britain declared a
state of emergency A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to be able to put through policies that it would normally not be permitted to do, for the safety and protection of its citizens. A government can declare such a state duri ...
in Malaya following attacks on
plantations A plantation is an agricultural estate, generally centered on a plantation house, meant for farming that specializes in cash crops, usually mainly planted with a single crop, with perhaps ancillary areas for vegetables for eating and so on. The c ...

plantations
, which in turn were revenge attacks for the killing of left-wing activists. Leader of the
Malayan Communist Party Malaya refers to a number of historical and current political entities related to the in . Political entities * (1826–1957), a loose collection of the British colony of the Straits Settlements and the British protectorates of the Malay States ...
(MCP)
Chin Peng Chin Peng (21 October 1924 – 16 September 2013), born Ong Boon Hua, was a Malayan communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...
and his allies fled into the jungles and formed the MNLA to wage a war for
national liberation 250px, Flag of Mozambique; independent from Portugal since 1975, after the Carnation Revolution">Portugal.html" ;"title="Mozambique; independent from Portugal">Mozambique; independent from Portugal since 1975, after the Carnation Revolution in ...
against British colonial rule. Many MNLA fighters were former members of the
Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army The Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) was a communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spok ...
(MPAJA), a communist guerrilla army previously trained, armed and funded by the British to fight against
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...
during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. The communists enjoyed strong support from the ethnic
Straits Chinese The Peranakans ( // or //) are an ethnic group defined by their genealogical descent from the first waves of Southern Chinese settlers to the ports in the Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay language, Malay: ''Semenanjung Tanah Mela ...
population, most of whom lived in dire poverty, suffered
racial persecution Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal or extermination of ethnic, racial and/or religious groups from a given area, often with the intent of making a region ethnically homogeneous. Along with direct removal (deportation, population tr ...
, and were barred from voting.Datar, Rajan (host), with author Sim Chi Yin; academic Show Ying Xin (Malaysia Institute,
Australian National University The Australian National University (ANU) is a national research university located in Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation of the colonies of Australia as t ...
); and academic Rachel Leow (
University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowledge. , established = , other_name = The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of ...
)
"The Malayan Emergency: A long Cold War conflict seen through the eyes of the Chinese community in Malaya,"
November 11, 2021, ''
The Forum (BBC World Service) ''The Forum'', the BBC World Service's flagship discussion programme, brings together prominent thinkers from different disciplines and different parts of the world with the aim of creating stimulating discussion informed by highly distinct aca ...
,'' (radio program)
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...
, retrieved November 11, 2021
The communists' belief in
class consciousness In political theory Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associ ...
, and both ethnic and gender equality, inspired many indigenous people and women to join both the MNLA and its undercover supply network the Min Yuen. After establishing a series of jungle bases the MNLA began raiding British colonial police and military installations. Tin mines and rubber plantations were attacked by the MNLA to gain independence for Malaya by bankrupting the British occupation. The British attempted to starve the MNLA using
scorched earth A scorched-earth policy is a military strategy that aims to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy. Any assets that could be used by the enemy may be targeted, which usually includes obvious weapons, military vehicles, transport ve ...

scorched earth
policies through food rationing, the killing of livestock, and the aerial spraying of
herbicides Herbicides (, ), also commonly known as weedkillers, are substances used to control unwanted plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, conv ...
including
Agent Orange Agent Orange is a and chemical, one of the "tactical use" . It is widely known for its use by the as part of its program, , during the from 1961 to 1971. It is a mixture of equal parts of two s, and . In addition to its damaging environm ...

Agent Orange
. British attempts to defeat the communists included
extrajudicial killings An extrajudicial killing (also known as extrajudicial execution or extralegal killing) is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. They often target political, trade unio ...
of unarmed villagers, the most infamous case being the
Batang Kali massacreThe Batang Kali massacre was the killing of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops of the Scots Guards on 12 December 1948 during the Malayan Emergency. The incident occurred during counter-insurgency A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency ( ...
, often referred to as "Britain's Mỹ Lai". Furthermore, the Briggs Plan was enacted to imprison 400,000 to 500,000 civilians into
internment camps Internment is the imprisonment of people, commonly in large groups, without charges or intent to file charges. The term is especially used for the confinement "of enemy citizens in war War is an intense armed conflict between states ...
called " New villages", depriving civilians of all their civil rights and violating the
Geneva Conventions file:Geneva Convention 1864 - CH-BAR - 29355687.pdf, upright=1.15, Original document as PDF in single pages, 1864 The Geneva Conventions are four Treaty, treaties, and three additional Protocol (diplomacy), protocols, that establish internatio ...
. Many
Orang Asli Orang Asli (''lit''. "first people", "native people", "original people", "aborigines people" or "aboriginal people" in Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia ...

Orang Asli
indigenous communities were also targeted for internment because the British believed that they were supporting the communists. The Malayan Emergency heavily influenced many future anti-insurgency wars, most famously the
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
as American forces (unsuccessfully) attempted to replicate British strategies. The war formally ended in 1960, however the communists later fought against the Malaysian government during the second phase of the insurgency (1968–1989).


Origins


Socioeconomic issues

At the end of World War II, the withdrawal of Japan left the
British Malaya The term "British Malaya" (; ms, Tanah Melayu British) loosely describes a set of states on the Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (: ''Semenanjung Tanah Melayu'') is a in . The runs approximately north–south and, at its terminus, ...
n economy disrupted with widespread unemployment, low wages, and high levels of food inflation. The weak economy was a factor in the growth of trade union movements and caused a rise in communist party membership, with considerable labour unrest and a large number of strikes occurred between 1946 and 1948. Malayan communists organised a successful 24-hour general strike on 29 January 1946,Eric Stahl, "Doomed from the Start: A New Perspective on the Malayan Insurgency" (master's thesis, 2003) before organising 300 strikes in 1947. To combat rising trade union activity the British used police and soldiers as strikebreakers, and employers enacted mass dismissals, forced evictions of striking workers from their homes, legal harassement, and began cutting the wages of their workers. Colonial police responded to rising trade union activity through arrests, deportations, and beating striking workers to death. Responding to the attacks against trade unions, communist militants began assassinating strikebreakers, and attacking anti-union estates. These attacks were used by the colonial occupation as a pretence to conduct mass arrests of left-wing activists. On 12 June the British colonial occupation banned Malaya's largest trade union the PMFTU. Malaya's rubber and tin resources were used by the British to pay war debts to the United States and to recover from the damage of the second world war. Malaysian rubber exports to the United States were of greater value than all domestic exports from Britain to America, causing Malaya to be viewed by the British as a vital asset. Britain had prepared for Malaya to become an independent state, but only by handing power to a government which would be subservient to Britain and allow British businesses to keep control of Malaya's natural resources.


The Sungai Siput incident

The first shots of the Malayan Emergency during the Sungai Siput incident, fired at 8:30 am on 16 June 1948, in the office of the Elphil Estate twenty miles east of the Sungai Siput town,
Perak Perak () is a States and federal territories of Malaysia, state of Malaysia on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula. Perak has land borders with the Malaysian states of Kedah to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the e ...

Perak
. Three British
plantation A plantation is a large-scale estate, generally centered on a plantation house, meant for farming that specializes in cash crops. The crops that are grown include cotton, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar cane, opium, sisal, oil seeds, oil pa ...

plantation
managers, Arthur Walker, John Allison and, Ian Christian, were killed by three young Chinese men. Another attack was planned on a fourth British estate nearby, however this failed because the target's jeep broke down making him late for work. More gunmen were sent to kill him but left after failing to find him. The British enacted emergency measures into law in response to the Sungai Siput incident. Under these measures the colonial occupation outlawed the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and began mass arresting thousands of trade union and left-wing activists.


Formation of the MNLA

Although the Malayan communists had begun preperations for a guerrilla war against the British, the emergency measures and mass arrest of communists and left-wing activists took them by surprise. Led by
Chin Peng Chin Peng (21 October 1924 – 16 September 2013), born Ong Boon Hua, was a Malayan communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...
the remaining Malayan communists retreated to rural areas and formed the
Malayan National Liberation Army The Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), often mistranslated as the Malayan Races Liberation Army, was a communist guerrilla army that fought for Malayan independence from the British Empire during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) and lat ...
(MNLA), although their name has commonly been mistranslated as the Malayan Races Liberation Army (MRLA) or the Malayan People's Liberation Army (MPLA). The MNLA was partly a re-formation of the
Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army The Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) was a communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spok ...
(MPAJA), the MCP-led guerrilla force which had been the principal resistance in Malaya against the
Japanese occupation of Malaya The then British colony of British Malaya, Malaya was gradually occupied by the Japanese between 8 December 1941 and the Allied surrender at Singapore on 16 February 1942. The Japanese remained in occupation until their surrender to the Allies ...
. The British had secretly helped form the MPAJA in 1942 and trained them in the use of explosives, firearms and radios. Chin Peng was a veteran anti-fascist and trade unionist who had played an integral role in the MPAJA's resistance. The MNLA began their war for Malayan independence by targeting the colonial
resource Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which help us to satisfy our needs and wants. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified into renewable File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global ...
extraction industries, namely the tin mines and rubber plantations which were the main sources of income for the British occupation of Malaya. The MNLA attacked these industries in the hopes of bankrupting the British and winning independence by making the colonial administration too expensive to maintain. The MNLA launched their first guerrilla attacks in the Gua Musang district. Disbanded in December 1945, the MPAJA officially turned in its weapons to the British Military Administration, although many MPAJA soldiers secretly hid stockpiles of weapons in jungle hideouts. Members who agreed to disband were offered economic incentives. Around 4,000 members rejected these incentives and went underground.


Guerrilla war

The MNLA commonly employed guerrilla tactics, sabotaging installations, attacking rubber plantations and destroying transportation and infrastructure. Support for the MNLA mainly came from around 500,000 of the 3.12 million ethnic Chinese then living in Malaya. There was a particular component of the Chinese community referred to as 'squatters', farmers living on the edge of the jungles where the MNLA were based. This allowed the MNLA to supply themselves with food, in particular, as well as providing a source of new recruits. The
ethnic Malay Malays ( ms, Orang Melayu, Jawi: أورڠ ملايو) are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the eastern Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands of western Indonesia. It is the largest island that is fully within Indonesian te ...
population supported them in smaller numbers. The MNLA gained the support of the Chinese because the Chinese were denied the equal right to vote in elections, had no land rights to speak of, and were usually very poor. The MNLA's supply organisation was called the Min Yuen (Mass Organisation). It had a network of contacts within the general population. Besides supplying material, especially food, it was also important to the MNLA as a source of intelligence. The MNLA's camps and hideouts were in the inaccessible tropical jungle and had limited infrastructure. Most 90% of MNLA guerrillas were ethnic Chinese, though there were some Malays, Indonesians and Indians among its members. The MNLA was organised into regiments, although these had no fixed establishments and each included all communist forces operating in a particular region. The regiments had political sections,
commissar Commissar (or sometimes ''Kommissar'') is an English transliteration of the Russian (''komissar''), which means " commissary". In English, the transliteration "commissar" often refers specifically to the political commissars of Soviet and ...
s, instructors and secret service. In the camps, the soldiers attended lectures on
Marxism–Leninism Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology and the main communist movement throughout the 20th century.Lansford, Thomas (2007). ''Communism''. New York: Cavendish Square Publishing. pp. 9–24, 36–44. . "By 1985, one-third of the world's po ...
, and produced political newsletters to be distributed to civilians. The MNLA also stipulated that their soldiers needed official permission for any romantic involvement with civilian women. In the early stages of the conflict, the guerrillas envisaged establishing control in "liberated areas" from which the government forces had been driven, but did not succeed in this.


British response

During the first couple of years of the war, the British forces responded with a terror campaign characterised by high levels of state coercion against the civilian population. Police corruption and the British military's widespread destruction of farmland and burning of homes belonging to villagers rumored to be helping communists, led to a sharp increase in civilians joining the communist forces. On the military front, the security forces did not know how to fight an enemy moving freely in the jungle and enjoying support from the Chinese rural population. British planters and miners, who bore the brunt of the communist attacks, began to talk about government incompetence and being betrayed by Whitehall. The initial government strategy was primarily to guard important economic targets, such as mines and plantation estates. Later, in April 1950, General Sir Harold Briggs, the British Army's Director of Operations was appointed to Malaya. The central tenet of the Briggs Plan was that the best way to defeat an insurgency, such as the government was facing, was to cut the insurgents off from their supporters amongst the population. The Briggs Plan also recognised the inhospitable nature of the Malayan jungle. A major part of the strategy involved targeting the MNLA food supply, which Briggs recognised came from three main sources: camps within the Malayan jungle where land was cleared to provide food, aboriginal jungle dwellers who could supply the MNLA with food gathered within the jungle, and the MNLA supporters within the 'squatter' communities on the edge of the jungle. The Briggs Plan was multifaceted but one aspect has become particularly well known: the forced relocation of some 500,000 rural Malayans, including 400,000 Chinese civilians into internment camps called " new villages". These villages were surrounded by barbed wire, police posts, and floodlit areas, designed to stop the inmates from being able to contact communist MNLA guerrillas in the jungles. At the start of the Emergency, the British had 13 infantry battalions in Malaya, including seven partly formed
Gurkha The Gurkhas or Gorkhas (), with endonym Gorkhali ( ne, गोरखाली, ), are soldiers native to South Asia of Nepalis, Nepalese nationality and Indian Gorkha, ethnic Nepalese of Indian Nationality recruited for the British Army, Nepa ...

Gurkha
battalions, three British battalions, two battalions of the
Royal Malay Regiment The Royal Malay Regiment ( ms, Rejimen Askar Melayu DiRaja; Jawi script, Jawi: ريجيمن عسكر ملايو دراج) is the premier unit of the Malaysian Army's two infantry regiments. At its largest, the Malay Regiment comprised 27 battalio ...
and a British
Royal Artillery The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is the artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far be ...
Regiment being used as infantry.Karl Hack, ''Defense & Decolonization in South-East Asia'', p. 113. This force was too small to fight the insurgents effectively, and more infantry battalions were needed in Malaya. The British brought in soldiers from units such as the
Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is an amphibious Amphibious means able to use either land or water. In particular it may refer to: * ''Amphibious'' (film), a 2010 film * Amphibious aircraft An amphibious aircraft or amphibian is an airc ...
and
King's African Rifles The King's African Rifles (KAR) was a multi-battalion A battalion is a military unit Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, i ...
. Another element in the strategy was the re-formation of the
Special Air Service The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of the British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British Armed Forces. , the British Army comprises 80,040 regular ...
in 1950 as a specialised reconnaissance, raiding, and
counter-insurgency Counterinsurgency (COIN) is "the totality of actions aimed at defeating irregular forces Irregular military is any non-standard military component that is distinct from a country's national armed forces. Being defined by exclusion, there is ...
unit. The Permanent Secretary of Defence for Malaya, Sir
Robert Grainger Ker Thompson Sir Robert Grainger Ker Thompson (1916–1992) was a United Kingdom, British military officer and counter-insurgency expert who "was widely regarded on both sides of the Atlantic as the world's leading expert on countering the Mao Tse-tung ...
, had served in the
Chindits The Chindits, known officially as the Long Range Penetration Groups, were special-operations units of the British and Indian armies which saw action in 1943–1944 during the Burma Campaign of World War II World War II or the ...
in Burma during World War II. Thompson's in-depth experience of proved invaluable during this period as he was able to build effective civil-military relations and was one of the chief architects of the counter-insurgency plan in Malaya. On 6 October 1951, the British High Commissioner in Malaya, Sir Henry Gurney, was assassinated during an MNLA ambush. General
Gerald Templer Field Marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually it is the highest rank in an army and as such few persons are appointed to it. It is c ...
was chosen to become the new High Commissioner in January 1952. During Templer's two-year command, "two-thirds of the guerrillas were wiped out and lost over half their strength, the incident rate fell from 500 to less than 100 per month and the civilian and security force casualties from 200 to less than 40." Orthodox historiography suggests that Templer changed the situation in the Emergency and his actions and policies were a major part of British success during his period in command. Revisionist historians have challenged this view and frequently support the ideas of Victor Purcell, a Sinologist who as early as 1954 claimed that Templer merely continued policies begun by his predecessors. The MNLA was vastly outnumbered by the British forces and their Commonwealth and colonial allies in terms of regular full-time soldiers. Siding with the British occupation were a maximum of 40,000 British and other Commonwealth troops, 250,000 Home Guard members, and 66,000 police agents. Supporting the communists were 7,000+ communist guerrillas (1951 peak), an estimated 1,000,000 million sympathisers, and an unknown number of civilian Min Yuen supporters and
Orang Asli Orang Asli (''lit''. "first people", "native people", "original people", "aborigines people" or "aboriginal people" in Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia ...

Orang Asli
sympathisers.


Control of anti-guerrilla operations

At all levels of the Malayan government (national, state, and district levels), the military and civil authority was assumed by a committee of military, police and civilian administration officials. This allowed intelligence from all sources to be rapidly evaluated and disseminated and also allowed all anti-guerrilla measures to be co-ordinated.Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya, Director of Operations, Malaya, 1958, Chapter III: Own Forces Each of the Malay states had a State War Executive Committee which included the State Chief Minister as chairman, the Chief Police Officer, the senior military commander, state home guard officer, state financial officer, state information officer, executive secretary, and up to six selected community leaders. The Police, Military, and Home Guard representatives and the Secretary formed the operations sub-committee responsible for the day-to-day direction of emergency operations. The operations subcommittees as a whole made joint decisions.


Nature of warfare

The British Army soon realised that clumsy sweeps by large formations were unproductive. Instead, platoons or sections carried out patrols and laid ambushes, based on intelligence from various sources, including informers, surrendered MNLA personnel, aerial reconnaissance and so on. A typical operation was "Nassau", carried out in the
Kuala Langat The Kuala Langat District is a district of Selangor, Malaysia. It is situated in the southwestern part of Selangor. It covers an area of 858 square kilometres, and had a population of 213,876 at the 2010 Census (exclude foreign). It is bordered ...
swamp (excerpt from the Marine Corps School's ''The Guerrilla – and how to Fight Him''):


Commonwealth contribution

In addition to British and Malayan units and personnel, a range of Commonwealth forces were also involved, including troops from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Kenya,
Nyasaland Nyasaland () was a British protectorate located in Africa that was established in 1907 when the former British Central Africa Protectorate The British Central Africa Protectorate (BCA) was a British protectorate A protectorate is a stat ...
, and Northern and
Southern Rhodesia The Colony of Southern Rhodesia was a landlocked self-governing colony, self-governing British Crown colony in southern Africa, established in 1923 and consisting of British South Africa Company (BSAC) territories lying south of the Zambezi R ...
.


Australia

The first Australian ground forces, the
2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment The 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) is an amphibious light infantry battalion of the Australian Army part of the 1st Division (Australia), 1st Division Amphibious Task Group based at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville, Queensland, ...
(2 RAR), arrived in 1955. The battalion was later replaced by
3 RAR The 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) is a mechanised infantry battalion of the Australian Army, based in Kapyong Lines, Townsville as part of the 3rd Brigade (Australia), 3rd Brigade. 3 RAR traces its lineage to 1945 and has ...

3 RAR
, which in turn was replaced by
1 RAR 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) is a regular motorised infantry Cold War era (1975) Snow Track on patrol in Norway In NATO and most other western countries, motorized infantry is infantry at the Battle of the Somme (J ...
. The
Royal Australian Air Force "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colours = , colours_label = , march = Royal Australian Air Force March Past (Eagles of Australia) , mascot = , anni ...
contributed No. 1 Squadron (
Avro Lincoln The Avro Type 694 Lincoln is a British four-engined heavy bomber, which maiden flight, first flew on 9 June 1944. Developed from the Avro Lancaster, the first Lincoln variants were initially known as the Lancaster IV and V; these were renamed Li ...
bombers) and No. 38 Squadron (
C-47 The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota (RAF "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colours = , colours_label = , march = Royal Air Force March Past , mascot ...
transports), operating out of Singapore, early in the conflict. In 1955, the RAAF extended Butterworth air base, from which
Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices an ...

Canberra
bombers of No. 2 Squadron (replacing No. 1 Squadron) and
CAC Sabre The CAC Sabre, sometimes known as the Avon Sabre or CA-27, is an Australian variant of the North American Aviation F-86F Sabre fighter aircraft Fighter aircraft are fixed-wing aircraft, fixed-wing military aircraft designed primarily for a ...

CAC Sabre
s of No. 78 Wing carried out ground attack missions against the guerillas. The
Royal Australian Navy The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the principal naval force A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a Nation's armed forces principally designated for naval warfare, naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riveri ...
destroyers and joined the force in June 1955. Between 1956 and 1960, the aircraft carriers and and destroyers , , , , , , , and were attached to the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve forces for three to nine months at a time. Several of the destroyers fired on communist positions in
Johor Johor (; ), also spelled as Johore, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
State.


New Zealand

A total of 1,300 New Zealanders served in the Malayan Emergency between 1948 and 1964, and fifteen lost their lives. New Zealand's first contribution came in 1949, when C-47 Dakotas of RNZAF No. 41 Squadron were attached to the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for th ...
's Far East Air Force. New Zealand became more directly involved in the conflict in 1955; from May, RNZAF
de Havilland Vampire The de Havilland Vampire is a British jet fighter Fighter aircraft are fixed-wing military aircraft A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gainin ...

de Havilland Vampire
s and began to fly strike missions. In November 1955 133 soldiers of what was to become the Special Air Service of New Zealand arrived from Singapore, for training in-country with the British SAS, beginning operations by April 1956. The
Royal New Zealand Air Force The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) ( mi, Te Tauaarangi o Aotearoa, "New Zealand Warriors of the Sky"; previously ', "War Party of the Blue") is the aerial service branch Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is accordi ...
continued to carry out strike missions with Venoms of
No. 14 Squadron14 Squadron or 14th Squadron may refer to: * No. 14 Squadron RAAF, a unit of the Royal Australian Air Force * No. 14 Squadron (Finland), a unit of the Finnish Air Force * No. 14 Squadron RAF, a unit of the Royal Air Force, United Kingdom * No. 14 S ...
and later No. 75 Squadron
English Electric Canberra The English Electric Canberra is a British first-generation, jet-powered medium bomber A medium bomber is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily inte ...

English Electric Canberra
s, as well as supply-dropping operations in support of anti-guerrilla forces, using the
Bristol Freighter The Bristol Type 170 Freighter was a British twin-engine aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company The Bristol Aeroplane Company, originally the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, was both one of the first and one of t ...
.


Rhodesia

Southern Rhodesia The Colony of Southern Rhodesia was a landlocked self-governing colony, self-governing British Crown colony in southern Africa, established in 1923 and consisting of British South Africa Company (BSAC) territories lying south of the Zambezi R ...
and its successor, the
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (also known as the Central African Federation, CAF) was a colonial federation that consisted of three southern African territories—the Self-governing colony, self-governing British colony of Southe ...

Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
, contributed two units to Malaya. Between 1951 and 1953, white Southern Rhodesian volunteers formed "C" Squadron of the
Special Air Service The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of the British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British Armed Forces. , the British Army comprises 80,040 regular ...
. The
Rhodesian African Rifles The Rhodesian African Rifles (RAR) were a regiment of the Rhodesian Army. The ranks of the RAR were recruited from the black African population, although officers were generally from the white population. The regiment was formed in May 1940 in th ...
, comprising black soldiers and
warrant officer Warrant officer (WO) is a rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such that, for any two ...

warrant officer
s but led by white officers, served in
Johor Johor (; ), also spelled as Johore, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
e state for two years from 1956.


Fiji

During the four years of Fijian involvement, from 1952 to 1956, some 1,600 Fijian troops served. The first to arrive were the 1st Battalion,
Fiji Infantry Regiment The Fiji Infantry Regiment is the main combat element of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. It is a light infantry regiment consisting of six battalions, of which three are regular army and three are Territorial Force. The regiment was formed wi ...
. Twenty-five Fijian troops died in combat in Malaya. Friendships on and off the battlefield developed between the two nations; the first Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Tunku Abdul Rahman Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah ( ms, تونكو عبدالرحمن ڤوترا الحاج إبن المرحوم سلطان عبدالحميد حليم شاه, label=Jawi alphabet, Jawi, script=arab, i ...
, became a friend and mentor to Ratu Sir
Edward Cakobau Ratu ''Ratu'' () is an Austronesian peoples, Austronesian title used by male Fijians of chiefly rank. An equivalent title, ''Adi'' (pronounced ), is used by females of chiefly rank. In the Malay language, the title Ratu is also the traditio ...
, who was a commander of the Fijian Battalion, and who later went on to become the Deputy PM of Fiji and whose son Brigadier General Ratu Epeli was the former President of Fiji. The experience was captured in the documentary, ''Back to Batu Pahat''.


Kenya, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions of the
King's African Rifles The King's African Rifles (KAR) was a multi-battalion A battalion is a military unit Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, i ...
from
Nyasaland Nyasaland () was a British protectorate located in Africa that was established in 1907 when the former British Central Africa Protectorate The British Central Africa Protectorate (BCA) was a British protectorate A protectorate is a stat ...
,
Northern Rhodesia Northern Rhodesia was a protectorate in southern Africa, south central Africa, formed in 1911 by Amalgamation (politics), amalgamating the two earlier protectorates of Barotziland-North-Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia.''Commonwealth ...
and
Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (, ) is the national anthem of Kenya. History "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"'s lyrics were originally written in Swahili language, Kiswahili, the national language of Kenya ...

Kenya
respectively also served there suffering 23 losses.


Resolution

On 6 October 1951, the MNLA ambushed and killed the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney. The killing has been described as a major factor in causing the Malayan population to roundly reject the MNLA campaign, and also as leading to widespread fear due to the perception that "if even the High Commissioner was no longer safe, there was little hope of protection and safety for the man-in-the-street in Malaya." Later, MNLA leader Chin Peng stated that the killing had little effect and that the communists were already altering their strategy, according to new guidelines enshrined in the so-called "October Resolutions". The October Resolutions, a response to the Briggs Plan, involved a change of tactics by the MPLA by reducing attacks on economic targets and civilians, increasing efforts to go into political organisation and subversion, and bolstering the supply network from the Min Yuen as well as jungle farming. Gurney's successor, Lieutenant General
Gerald Templer Field Marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually it is the highest rank in an army and as such few persons are appointed to it. It is c ...
, was instructed by the British government to push for immediate measures to give Chinese ethnic residents the right to vote.


Amnesty declaration

On 8 September 1955, the Government of the Federation of Malaya issued a declaration of amnesty to the communists. The Government of Singapore issued an identical offer at the same time.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah ( ms, تونكو عبدالرحمن ڤوترا الحاج إبن المرحوم سلطان عبدالحميد حليم شاه, label=Jawi alphabet, Jawi, script=arab, i ...
, as Chief Minister, made good the offer of an amnesty but promised there would be no negotiations with the MNLA. The terms of the amnesty were: * Those of you who come in and surrender will not be prosecuted for any offence connected with the Emergency, which you have committed under Communist direction, either before this date or in ignorance of this declaration. * You may surrender now and to whom you like including to members of the public. * There will be no general "ceasefire" but the security forces will be on alert to help those who wish to accept this offer and for this purpose local "ceasefire" will be arranged. * The Government will conduct investigations on those who surrender. Those who show that they are genuinely intent to be loyal to the Government of Malaya and to give up their Communist activities will be helped to regain their normal position in society and be reunited with their families. As regards the remainder, restrictions will have to be placed on their liberty but if any of them wish to go to China, their request will be given due consideration.Prof Madya Dr. Nik Anuar Nik Mahmud, Tunku Abdul Rahman and His Role in the Baling Talks Following the declaration, an intensive publicity campaign on an unprecedented scale was launched by the government. Alliance Ministers in the Federal Government travelled extensively up and down the country exhorting the people to call upon the communists to lay down their arms and take advantage of the amnesty. Despite the campaign, few Communists surrendered to the authorities. Some critics in the political circles commented that the amnesty was too restrictive and little more than a restatement of the surrender terms which had been in force for a long period. The critics advocated a more realistic and liberal approach of direct negotiations with the MCP to work out a settlement of the issue. Leading officials of the
Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua and Barbuda *Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Argentina *Labour Party (Argentina) Armenia ...
had, as part of the settlement, not excluded the possibility of recognition of the MCP as a political organisation. Within the Alliance itself, influential elements in both the
MCA MCA may refer to: Astronomy * Mars-crossing asteroid, an asteroid whose orbit crosses that of Mars Aviation * Minimum crossing altitude, a minimum obstacle crossing altitude for fixes on published airways * Medium Combat Aircraft, a 5th gener ...
and
UMNO The United Malays National Organisation (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, t ...
were endeavouring to persuade the Chief Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, to hold negotiations with the MCP.


Baling talks and their consequences

Realising that the tide of the war was turning against him, Chin Peng indicated that he would be ready to meet with British officials alongside senior Malayan politicians in 1955. The talks took place in the Government English School at
Baling The Baling District is an administrative district Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one central ...
on 28 December. Chin Ping walked out from the jungle and tried to negotiate with the leader of the Federation,
Tunku Abdul Rahman Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah ( ms, تونكو عبدالرحمن ڤوترا الحاج إبن المرحوم سلطان عبدالحميد حليم شاه, label=Jawi alphabet, Jawi, script=arab, i ...
, but the British Intelligence Service worried that the MCP would regain influence in society. The MCP was represented by
Chin Peng Chin Peng (21 October 1924 – 16 September 2013), born Ong Boon Hua, was a Malayan communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...
, the Secretary-General, Rashid Maidin and Chen Tien, head of the MCP's Central Propaganda Department. On the other side were three elected national representatives,
Tunku Abdul Rahman Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah ( ms, تونكو عبدالرحمن ڤوترا الحاج إبن المرحوم سلطان عبدالحميد حليم شاه, label=Jawi alphabet, Jawi, script=arab, i ...
, Dato' Tan Cheng Lock, Tan Cheng-Lock and David Marshall (Singaporean politician), David Saul Marshall, the Chief Minister of Singapore. The meeting was intended to design an end to the conflict but the Malayan government representatives, led by Tunku Abdul Rahman, dismissed all of Chin Peng's demands. As a result, the conflict heightened, and, in response, New Zealand sent NZSAS soldiers, No. 14 Squadron RNZAF, No. 41 Squadron RNZAF, No. 41 (Bristol Freighter) Squadron RNZAF and, later, No. 75 Squadron RNZAF; other
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
members also sent troops to aid the British. Following the failure of the talks, Tunku decided to withdraw the amnesty on 8 February 1956, five months after it had been offered, stating that he would not be willing to meet the Communists again unless they indicated beforehand their desire to see him with a view to making "a complete surrender". Despite the failure of the talks, the MCP made every effort to resume peace talks with the Malayan government, without success. Meanwhile, discussions began in the new Emergency Operations Council to intensify the "People's War" against the guerillas. In July 1957, a few weeks before independence, the MCP made another attempt at peace talks, suggesting the following conditions for a negotiated peace: * its members should be given privileges enjoyed by citizens * a guarantee that political as well as armed members of the MCP would not be punished The failure of the talks affected MCP policy. At the same time, the strength of the MNLA and 'Min Yuen' declined to only 1830 members in August 1957. Those who remained faced going into exile, or death in the jungle. Tunku Abdul Rahman, however, did not respond to the MCP's proposals. With the independence of Malaya under Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman on 31 August 1957, the insurrection lost its rationale as a war of colonial liberation. The last serious resistance from MRLA guerrillas ended with a surrender in the Telok Anson marsh area in 1958. The remaining MRLA forces fled to the Thailand, Thai border and further east. On 31 July 1960 the Malayan government declared the state of emergency was over, and Chin Peng left south Thailand for Beijing where he was accommodated by the Chinese authorities in the International Liaison Bureau, where many other Southeast Asian Communist Party leaders were housed.


Casualties

During the conflict, security forces killed 6,710 MRLA guerrillas and captured 1,287, while 2,702 guerrillas surrendered during the conflict, and approximately 500 more did so at its conclusion. 1,345 Malayan troops and police were killed during the fighting, as well as 519 Commonwealth personnel. 2,478 civilians were killed, with another 810 recorded as missing.


War crimes


Commonwealth

War crimes have been broadly defined by the Nuremberg Principles as "violations of the laws or customs of war," which includes massacres, bombings of civilian targets, terrorism, mutilation, torture, and the murder of detainees and prisoners of war. Additional common crimes include theft, arson, and the destruction of property not warranted by military necessity.


Torture

During the Malayan conflict, there were instances during operations to find insurgents where British troops detained and tortured villagers who were suspected of aiding the insurgents. Brian Lapping said that there was "some vicious conduct by the British forces, who routinely beat up Chinese Squatting, squatters when they refused, or possibly were unable, to give information" about the insurgents. The Scotsman, ''The'' ''Scotsman'' newspaper lauded these tactics as a good practice since "simple-minded peasants are told and come to believe that the communist leaders are invulnerable". Some civilians and detainees were also shot, either because they attempted to flee from and potentially aid insurgents or simply because they refused to give intelligence to British forces. Widespread use of arbitrary detention, punitive actions against villages, and use of torture by the police, "created animosity" between Chinese squatters and British forces in Malaya and "were therefore counterproductive in generating the one resource critical in a counterinsurgency, good intelligence". British troops were often unable to tell the difference between enemy combatants and civilians while conducting military operations through the jungles, due to the fact that many Min Yuen wore civilian clothing and had support from sympathetic civilian populations.


Batang Kali Massacre

During the
Batang Kali massacreThe Batang Kali massacre was the killing of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops of the Scots Guards on 12 December 1948 during the Malayan Emergency. The incident occurred during counter-insurgency A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency ( ...
, 24 unarmed civilians were executed by the Scots Guards near a rubber plantation at Sungai Rimoh near Batang Kali in Selangor in December 1948. All the victims were male, ranging in age from young teenage boys to elderly men. Many of the victims' bodies were found to have been mutilated and their village of Batang Kali was burned to the ground. No weapons were found when the village was searched. The only survivor of the killings was a man named Chong Hong who was in his 20s at the time. He fainted and was presumed dead. Soon afterwards the British colonial occupation staged a coverup of British military abuses which served to obfuscate the exact details of the massacre. The massacre later became the focus of decades of legal battles between the UK government and the families of the civilians executed by British troops. According to Christi Silver, Batang Kali was notable in that it was the only incident of mass killings by Commonwealth forces during the war, which Silver attributes to the unique subculture of the Scots Guards and poor enforcement of discipline by junior officers. Destruction of villages


Decapitations and mutilation

During the war British and Commonwealth forces hired Iban people, Iban headhunters from Borneo to decapitate suspected MNLA members, arguing that this was done so for identification purposes. However in practice this led to British troops taking the decapiated heads of Malayan people as trophies. Proof of this practice was first leaked to the public in 1952 when the Communist Party of Great Britain, British communist the Morning Star (British newspaper), Daily Worker published multiple photographs of British soldiers posing with decapitated heads as trophies. Initially British government spokespersons belonging to the Admiralty (United Kingdom), Admiralty and the Colonial Office claimed the photographs were fake. However, Colonial Secretary Oliver Lyttelton (after confirmation from Gerald Templer) confirmed to parliament that the photos were indeed genuine. The Colonial Office privately noted that "there is no doubt that under international law a similar case in wartime would be a war crime". After the ''Daily Worker'' articles exposing the decapitating MNLA suspects the practice was banned by Winston Churhcill who feared that such photographs would give ammunition to communist propaganda. After the war, one of the trophy heads was found within a British regimental museum. There were also cases of dead guerrillas being exhibited in public for identification, and to potentially entrap grieving associates.


Internment camps

As part of the Briggs Plan devised by British General Sir Harold Briggs, 500,000 people (roughly ten percent of Malaya's population) were forced from their homes by British forces. Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed, and many people were imprisoned in British Internment Camps called " new villages". The policy aimed to inflict collective punishment on villages where people were thought to be support communism, and also to isolate civilians from guerrilla activity. Many of the forced evictions involved the destruction of existing settlements which went beyond the justification of military necessity. This practice was prohibited by the
Geneva Conventions file:Geneva Convention 1864 - CH-BAR - 29355687.pdf, upright=1.15, Original document as PDF in single pages, 1864 The Geneva Conventions are four Treaty, treaties, and three additional Protocol (diplomacy), protocols, that establish internatio ...
and customary international law, which stated that the destruction of property must not happen unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.


Deportations

Over the course of the war, some 30,000 mostly ethnic Chinese were deported by the British authorities to mainland China.


Communist


Comparisons with Vietnam


Differences

The conflicts in Malaya and Vietnam War, Vietnam have often been compared, with historians asking how a British force of 35,000 succeeded to quell a communist insurgency in Malaya, while over half a million U.S. and allied soldiers failed in the comparably sized Vietnam. The two conflicts differ in the following ways: * The MNLA never numbered more than about 8,000 insurgents, but the People's Army of Vietnam, People's Army of (North) Vietnam fielded over a quarter-million soldiers, in addition to roughly 100,000 Viet Cong, National Liberation Front (or Vietcong) guerillas. * The Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba and the People's Republic of China (PRC) provided large amounts of the latest military hardware, logistical support, personnel and training to North Vietnam, whereas the MNLA received no material support, weapons or training from any foreign government or party. * North Vietnam's shared border with its ally China (PRC) allowed for continuous assistance and resupply, but Malaya's only land border is with non-communist Thailand. * Britain did not approach the Emergency as a conventional conflict and quickly implemented an effective intelligence strategy, led by the Malayan Police Special Branch, and a systematic Winning hearts and minds, hearts and minds operation, both of which proved effective against the largely ''political'' aims of the guerrilla movement. Cited at length in Vietnam War essay on Insurgency and Counterinsurgenc
Lessons from Malaya
eHistory, Ohio State University.
* Vietnam was less ethnically fragmentated than Malaya. During the Emergency, most of MNLA members ethnically Malaysian Chinese, Chinese and drew support from sections of the Chinese community. However, most of the more numerous indigenous Malays, many of whom were animated by anti-Chinese sentiments, remained loyal to the government and enlisted in high numbers into the security services. * Many Malayans had fought side by side with the British against the
Japanese occupation of Malaya The then British colony of British Malaya, Malaya was gradually occupied by the Japanese between 8 December 1941 and the Allied surrender at Singapore on 16 February 1942. The Japanese remained in occupation until their surrender to the Allies ...
, including the future leader of the MPLA, Chin Peng. That contrasted with Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia), where colonial officials of Vichy France had been subordinate to the conquering Japanese forces, which fostered Vietnamese nationalism against France. * The British military recognised that in a low-intensity conflict, low-intensity war, individual soldiers' skill and endurance are of far greater importance than overwhelming firepower (artillery, air support, etc.). Even though many British soldiers were Conscription in the United Kingdom#After 1945, conscripted National Servicemen, the necessary skills and attitudes were taught at a Jungle Warfare School, which also developed the optimum tactics based on experience gained in the field. * In Vietnam, soldiers and supplies passed through external countries such as CIA activities in Laos, Laos and Cambodian Campaign, Cambodia, where US forces were not legally permitted to enter. That allowed Vietnamese communist troops a safe haven from US ground attacks. The MNLA had only a border with Thailand, where they were forced to take shelter near the end of the conflict.


Similarities

Many tactics used by the Americans in Vietnam were similar to those used by the British in Malaya. Some examples are listed below.


Agent Orange

During the Malayan Emergency, Britain was the first nation to employ the use of
herbicides Herbicides (, ), also commonly known as weedkillers, are substances used to control unwanted plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, conv ...
and defoliants to destroy bushes, food crops, and trees to deprive the insurgents of cover and as part of the food denial campaign in the early 1950s. The 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D (Agent Orange) were used to clear lines of communication and wipe out food crops as part of this strategy and in 1952, trioxone, and mixtures of the aforementioned herbicides, were sent along a number of key roads. From June to October 1952, 1,250 acres of roadside vegetation at possible ambush points were sprayed with defoliant, described as a policy of "national importance." The British reported that the use of herbicides and defoliants could be effectively replaced by removing vegetation by hand and the spraying was stopped. However, after that strategy failed, the use of herbicides and defoliants in effort to fight the insurgents was restarted under the command of British General Sir
Gerald Templer Field Marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually it is the highest rank in an army and as such few persons are appointed to it. It is c ...
in February 1953 as a means of destroying food crops grown by communist forces in jungle clearings. Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft despatched Trichloroacetic acid, STCA and Trioxaone, along with pellets of (2-Chlorophenyl)thiourea, chlorophenyl N,N-Dimethyl-1-naphthylamine onto crops such as sweet potatoes and maize. Many Commonwealth personnel who handled and/or used Agent Orange during the conflict suffered from serious exposure to dioxin and Agent Orange. An estimated 10,000 civilians and insurgents in Malaya also suffered from the effects of the defoliant, but many historians think that the number is much larger since Agent Orange was used on a large scale in the Malayan conflict and, unlike the US, the British government limited information about its use to avoid negative world public opinion). The prolonged absence of vegetation caused by defoliation also resulted in major soil erosion to areas of Malaya. After the Malayan Conflict ended in 1960, the US used the British precedent in deciding that the use of defoliants was a law of war, legally-accepted tactic of warfare. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk advised US President John F. Kennedy that the precedent of using herbicide in warfare had been established by the British through their use of aircraft to spray herbicide and thus destroy enemy crops and thin the thick jungle of northern Malaya.


Aerial bombardment

Like the US Air Force in Vietnam, widespread saturation bombardment was used by the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for th ...
throughout the conflict in Malaya. Britain conducted 4,500 airstrikes in the first five years of the Malayan war. Mapping was poor, communications were abysmal, the meteorology was unfavourable and airfields were few. Buzzing likely enemy positions was used (the modern 'show of force'), and the bombing of potential escape routes was also occasionally practised. The author Robert Jackson said, "During 1956, some 545,000 lb. of bombs had been dropped on a supposed guerrilla encampment. but a lack of accurate pinpoints had nullified the effect. The camp was again attacked at the beginning of May 1957, dropping a total of 94,000 lb. of bombs, but because of inaccurate target information, this weight of explosive was 250 yards off target. Then, on 15 May. 70,000 lb. of bombs were dropped". "The attack was entirely successful", Jackson declares, since "four terrorists were killed". He also notds that a 500 lb. nose-fused bomb was employed from August 1948 and had a mean area of effectiveness of 15,000 square feet. "Another very viable weapon" was the 20 lb. Fragmentation (weaponry), fragmentation bomb, a forerunner of cluster bombs. "Since a Short Sunderland, Sunderland could carry a load of 190, its effect on terrorist morale was considerable", Jackson states. "Unfortunately, it was not used in great numbers, despite its excellent potential as a harassing weapon". On one occasion a Avro Lincoln, Lincoln bomber "dropped its bombs 600 yards short. killing twelve civilians and injuring twenty-six others". The British reported that bombing jungles was largely a waste of effort because of inaccurate targeting and the inability to confirm if a target was hostile or not. Throughout the 12-year conflict, between 670 and 995 non-combatants were killed by British RAF bombers.


Resettlement programme

Britain also set up a "population transfer, resettlement" programme, which provided a model for the Americans' Strategic Hamlet Program in Vietnam. During the Malayan Emergency, 450 new villages were created and it is estimated that 470,509 people, 400,000 of whom were Chinese, were interned in the resettlement program. A key British war measure was inflicting collective punishments on villages whose people were deemed to be aiding the insurgents. At Tanjung Malim, Tanjong Malim in March 1952, Templer imposed a twenty-two-hour house curfew, banned everyone from leaving the village, closed the schools, stopped bus services, and reduced the rice rations for 20,000 people. The last measure prompted the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to write to the Colonial Office to note that the "chronically undernourished Malayan" might not be able to survive as a result. "This measure is bound to result in an increase, not only of sickness but also of deaths, particularly amongst the mothers and very young children". Some people were fined for leaving their homes to use external latrines. In another collective punishment, at Sungai Pelek, Sengei Pelek the following month, measures included a house curfew, a reduction of 40 percent in the rice ration and the construction of a chain-link fence 22 yards outside the existing barbed wire fence around the town. Officials explained that the measures were being imposed upon the 4,000 villagers "for their continually supplying food" to the insurgents and "because they did not give information to the authorities".


Search and destroy

As the Americans later did in Vietnam, British troops sometimes set fire to villages whose inhabitants were accused of supporting the insurgents, detained thousands of suspected collaborators, and denied the insurgents cover. British units that discovered civilians providing assistance to insurgents were to detain and interrogate them by using torture and the threat of violence against family members to discover the location of insurgent camps. Insurgents had numerous advantages over British forces since they lived in closer proximity to villagers, they sometimes had relatives or close friends in the village, and they were not afraid to threaten violence or torture and murder village leaders as an example to the others, which forced them to assist them with food and information. British forces thus faced a dual threat: the insurgents and the silent network in villages who supported them. British troops often described the terror of jungle patrols. In addition to watching out for insurgent fighters, they had to navigate difficult terrain and avoid dangerous animals and insects. Many patrols would stay in the jungle for days, even weeks, without encountering the MNLA guerrillas. That strategy led to the infamous
Batang Kali massacreThe Batang Kali massacre was the killing of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops of the Scots Guards on 12 December 1948 during the Malayan Emergency. The incident occurred during counter-insurgency A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency ( ...
in which 24 unarmed villagers were executed by British troops.


Legacy

The Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation of 1963–66 arose from tensions between Indonesia and the new British backed Malaysia, Federation of Malaysia that was conceived in the aftermath of the Malayan Emergency. In the late 1960s, the coverage of the My Lai massacre during the
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
prompted the initiation of investigations in the UK concerning war crimes perpetrated by British forces during the Emergency, such as the
Batang Kali massacreThe Batang Kali massacre was the killing of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops of the Scots Guards on 12 December 1948 during the Malayan Emergency. The incident occurred during counter-insurgency A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency ( ...
. No charges have yet been brought against the British forces involved and the claims have been repeatedly dismissed by the British government as propaganda, despite evidence suggestive of a cover-up. Following the end of the Malayan Emergency in 1960, the predominantly ethnic Chinese
Malayan National Liberation Army The Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), often mistranslated as the Malayan Races Liberation Army, was a communist guerrilla army that fought for Malayan independence from the British Empire during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) and lat ...
, the armed wing of the MCP, retreated to the Malaysian-Thailand border where it regrouped and retrained for future offensives against the Malaysian government. A new phase of communist insurgency in Malaysia (1968–89), communist insurgency began in 1968. It was triggered when the MCP ambushed security forces in Kroh, Kroh–Betong, in the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, on 17 June 1968. The new conflict coincided with renewed tensions between ethnic Malay people, Malays and Malaysian Chinese, Chinese following the 13 May Incident of 1969, and the ongoing conflict of the
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
. Communist leader
Chin Peng Chin Peng (21 October 1924 – 16 September 2013), born Ong Boon Hua, was a Malayan communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...
spent much of the 1990s and early 2000s working to promote his perspective of the Emergency. In a collaboration with Australian academics, he met with historians and former Commonwealth military personnel at a series of meetings which led to the publication of ''Dialogues with Chin Peng: New Light on the Malayan Communist Party.'' Peng also travelled to England and teamed up with conservative journalist Ian Ward and his wife Norma Miraflor to write his autobiography ''Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History''. Many colonial documents, possibly relating to British atrocities in Malaya, were either destroyed or hidden by the British colonial authorities as a part of Operation Legacy. Traces of these documents were rediscovered during a legal battle in 2011 involving the victims of rape and torture by the British military during the Mau Mau Uprising.


In popular culture

In popular Malaysian culture, the Emergency has frequently been portrayed as a primarily Malay struggle against the Communists. This perception has been criticised by some, such as Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin, for not recognising Malaysian Chinese, Chinese and Malaysian Indians, Indian efforts.Kaur, Manjit (16 December 2006)
"Zam: Chinese too fought against communists"
. ''The Star''.
A number of films were set against the background of the Emergency, including: * ''The Planter's Wife (1952 film), The Planter's Wife'' (1952) * ''Windom's Way'' (1957) * ''The 7th Dawn'' (1964) * ''The Virgin Soldiers (film), The Virgin Soldiers'' (1969) * ''Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers'' (1977) * ''Bukit Kepong (film), Bukit Kepong'' (1981) Other media: * Mona Brand's stage production ''Strangers in the Land'' (1952) was created as political commentary to criticise the occupation, depicting plantation owners as burning down villiages and collecting the heads of murdered Malayans as trophies. The play was only performed in the UK at the tiny activist run Unity Theater because the British government had banned the play from commercial stages. *In ''The Sweeney'' episode "The Bigger They Are" (series 4, episode 8; 26 October 1978), the tycoon Leonard Gold is being blackmailed by Harold Collins, who has a photo of him present at a massacre of civilians in Malaya when he was in the British Army twenty-five years earlier. * Throughout the series ''Porridge (1974 TV series), Porridge'', there are references to Fletcher having served in Malaya, probably as a result of Conscription in the United Kingdom, National Service. He regales his fellow inmates with stories of his time there, and in one episode it is revealed that Prison Officer Mackay had also served in Malaya. * ''The Malayan Trilogy'' series of novels (1956–1959) by Anthony Burgess is set during the Malayan Emergency.


See also

* Cold War in Asia * Communist insurgency in Malaysia (1968–89) * British Far East Command * List of weapons in Malayan Emergency * Far East Strategic Reserve, Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR) *
Chin Peng Chin Peng (21 October 1924 – 16 September 2013), born Ong Boon Hua, was a Malayan communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...
*
Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army The Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) was a communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spok ...
* Briggs Plan * New village *
Batang Kali massacreThe Batang Kali massacre was the killing of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops of the Scots Guards on 12 December 1948 during the Malayan Emergency. The incident occurred during counter-insurgency A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency ( ...
* Bukit Kepong incident


References


Sources

* * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * Newsinger, John. (2016) ''British counterinsurgency'' (Springer, 2016) compares British measures in Mayaya, Palestine, Kenya, Cyprus, South Yemen, Dhofar, & Northern Ireland * Short, Anthony (1975). ''The Communist Insurrection in Malaya 1948–1960''. London and New York: Frederick Muller. Reprinted (2000) as ''In Pursuit of Mountain Rats''. Singapore. * * Sullivan, Michael D. "Leadership in Counterinsurgency: A Tale of Two Leaders" ''Military Review'' (Sep/Oct 2007) 897#5 pp 119–123. * * *


External links


Australian War Memorial
''(Malayan Emergency 1950–1960)''

''(Origins of the FESR – Navy)''

''(AUS/NZ Overview)''

''(Malayan Emergency)''
PsyWar.Org
''(Psychological Operations during the Malayan Emergency)''

''(Searchable database of Commonwealth Soldiers who died)''
A personal account of flying the Bristol Brigand aircraft with 84 Squadron RAF during the Malayan Emergency – Terry StringerThe Malayan Emergency 1948 to 1960
Anzac Portal {{Authority control Malayan Emergency, 1948 in military history Cold War conflicts Wars involving pre-independence Malaysia Communism in Malaysia Communism in Singapore History of the Royal Marines Insurgencies in Asia Rebellions against the British Empire Wars involving Australia Cold War history of Australia Wars involving Rhodesia Wars of independence Civil wars in Malaysia British Empire