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Malaysian Independence

IH Project: How Malaysia got Its Independence

Tze Hao Chia

on 14 August 2013

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Transcript of Malaysian Independence

The struggle against the communists ended in 1958 where a large group of them finally surrendered in Perak. However, the official end date was only declared 2 years later.
In 1958, the New Zealand Regiment replaced the SAS and over the years, it eliminated the most number of insurgents as compared to the other battalions
Project Independence:

Chia Tze Hao
Alicia See
Sheryl Yew
Huang Wenya
Kay Lee
Alicia See, Huang Wenya, Kay Lee, Sheryl Yew, Chia Tze Hao

How Malaya achieved independence
a. Who were the main parties involved in the process?
b. Was the route to independence one of conflict or cooperation?
c. What were the reasons leading to a smooth or violent transfer of power?
Primary and Secondary Sources
line (brief summary)
Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA)
Malayan Races Liberation Army (MRLA)
Malayan Communist Party (MCP)
Alliance Party
Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA)
United Malay National Organisation (UMNO)
Malayan Indian Congress (MIC)
The main parties involved

Tunku Abdul Rahman (leader of the Alliance Party)
Chin Peng (leader of MPAJA, subsequently MRLA and the MCP.)
Important leaders
15 August 1945 - the Japanese had just surrendered Malaya back to the British.

Britain’s reputation was tarnished
Nationalism arose- MPAJA wanted liberation from all colonial powers.
MPAJA rebelled against the British Government.
The British, in order to resolve this issue, they painted the MPAJA in a bad light as they were seen as the party that wanted total control over Malaysia.
British held a parley and got Chin Peng to disband the MPAJA in 1945.
The Malayan Economy was down and many problems such as unemployment arose after the war.
Still on the journey...

The British were attempting to restore it.
However, there were many strikes during 1946-1948.
Protestants were arrested and severely dealt with.
By 1947, some were campaigning for the establishment of the Federation of Malaya.
The Federation of Malaya was formed in 1948 and they became a partially independent colony, still under the protection of the British.
Many political parties wanted full independence
Communist guerrillas in Malaysia took up arms in the late 1940s, murdering Europeans, sabotaging industry and using terror to try to strengthen the insurgency's base among the country's Chinese minority.
Its a long journey indeed...
in 1948 the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), attempting to redirect this violence, decided to convert the struggle against the British into a rural guerrilla war.
British declared a State of Emergency in Malaya after guerrillas assassinated three European plantation managers in the northern state of Perak
The Emergency 1948

The route to independence was a conflicting one, as we have mentioned in the previous slides, the main conflict being the Malayan Emergency. Riots broke out, and Malaya was on the verge of declaring full fledged armed conflict.
Conflict or cooperation?
It was a smooth transfer of power from the British to Malaya. Tunku Abdul Rahman, along with his other delegates of Malaya, attended the London conference in 1956 and negotiated the independence of Malaya. It was soon after agreed because the British knew that they could no longer control Malaya and that independence was now inevitable. Hence, Malaya was officially granted full independence and Malaya became Malaysia in 1961.
Smooth or Violent?

Primary/Secondary Sources
Tertiary Sources
Jason B, 2008
‘How did Malaysia get independent from British?’
Yahoo! Answers
‘The Malayan Emergency, 1952-1955’
The Somerset Light Infantry
Christopher Pugsley, 20 December 2012
‘The end of the emergency-NZ and the Malayan Emergency’
New Zealand History Online
‘Malayan Emergency, 1948-60’
‘The early history of Malaysia’
Raja Petra Kamarudin, 31 August 2010
‘The struggle for Merdeka: what the Malaysian history books do not tell us’
Japan agreed to Merdeka(meaning independence/freedom), which was to be declared on 17 August 1945. However, Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945 (two days before Merdeka) after the bombing of Hiroshima followed by Nagasaki.
The term 'emergency' rather than 'war' was used because insurers would not have compensated plantation and mine owners if the latter label had been used.
Aug 15 1945- Japanese surrendered.
Nationalism was prevalent
1945-The MPAJA,a communist party part of MCP, wanted Malaya to be British-free, and fought for independence.
1945-The MPAJA disbanded peacefully
1948- Malayan emergency was announced after the MCP killed European workers
1951-The Alliance party was formed (UMNO, MCA, MIC)
1955-British faced problems and thus decided to hold federal elections, entitling the Malayans some power.
1956- Tunku Abdul Rahman (leader of the Alliance Party) attended the London Conference negotiate Malaya’s independence
1957 August 31- The official announcement of independence was made at Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.
1960-Malayan emergency ended after the defeat of MCP
The Malayan Emergency lasted from 16 June 1948 – 12 July 1960
(12 years, 3 weeks and 5 days)
1967-1989-Chin Peng revived the insurgency but the communists were totally defeated in 1989. It was known as the Communist Insurgency War.
Britain made use of the income collected from Malaya’s rubber and Tin plantations to aid in Britain’s post-war recovery, which invoked protests.
ihool,, August 18 2011
‘History of Malaysia Independence Day’

‘The British in Malaysia’
Malaysian Constitution, April 20 2013
‘Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Conference in London 1956’

‘The Malayan Emergency(1948-1960): Background-Causes and general description of The Malayan Emergency(1948-1960)’
Australian Involvement in South East Asian conflicts

Tunku- His life and times by Mubin Sheppard
A short history of Malaysia by Virginia Matheson Hooker (chapter 8)
Malaysia- the making of a nation by Andrew Barber (chapters 9 and 10)
Southeast Asia - An introductory history by Milton Osborne (pages 229-232)
However, Britain had her own problems. The income collected from Malaya’s rubber and Tin plantations were used to aid Britain’s post-war recovery, which invoked protests.
Main Parties involved:
MCP, MRLA, British, Australia
The MRLA and MCP were destroying farms, disrupting communication ,transportation networks and even attacked the police. They were bent on ending the imperialist era of the British.
The MCP, along with several other political groups were made illegal in 1948 by the British.
The British forced 500,000 villagers to move away from the jungles to cut off the food supply to the MRLA(aka MNLA/the communist) (Brigg’s plan)
Some countries, especially Australia, sent aid to the British in Malaya to fight against the insurgents
Terrorist forces, numbering about 10,000, were mainly based in the jungle but were supported by a vast network of Chinese spies living in local villages.
The British Somerset Light Infantry were sent over and began operations in 1953. They successfully carried out various operations.
In September 1955, the peace talks held between the British and communists failed but by then, the communists were no longer seen as a real threat
Later on, full amnesty was declared and many communists surrendered and returned to China
In 1955, the British faced problems and thus decided to hold federal elections, entitling the malayans some power.
The elections was won hands-down by the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) by running Malay candidates in Malay-dominated areas, Chinese in Chinese areas and Indian in Indian ones.
A year later, Tunku Abdul Rahman (leader of the Alliance Party) attended the London Conference to negotiate Malaya’s independence
It was a success and on August 31, 1957, Malaysia was officially declared independent at the Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.
60 down... 30 more to go
So, after the independence, what happened to the rest of the communists?
From 1967, Chin Peng revived the insurgency but the communists were totally defeated in 1989. It was known as the Communist Insurgency War.
Tunku Abdul Rahman, prior to the countdown of Merdeka.
Thank you for
your attention!
Terima Kasih! :)
Here are the pictures of our sources!
In 1955, The British High Commissioner and the Alliance governments proclaimed an amnesty for the communist insurgents who turned themselves in. However, this was ineffective as only a few surrendered.
Meanwhile, members of the Alliance government met with heads of the MCP to try to stop the emergency, as a promise to the people during elections. The leader of the MCP, Chin Peng, wanted the MCP to be proclaimed as a legitimate political party as prerequisite for laying down their weapons, but the Tunku refused, which resulted in a deadlock.
So in total the Malayan Emergency lasted for 12 years, 3 weeks and 5 days.
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