Sample Essay on Malayan Communist Insurgency

The Malayan Communist insurgency is a term that describes the conflict between the British Commonwealth forces and the communist guerrillas. The colonial government termed it as the Malayan Emergency because on June 18 th 1948, a State of Emergency was declared by the British in Malaya after 3 managers of European plantations were assassinated by guerrillas in Perak, Northern state.

In 1960, the communists were defeated but their leader, Chin Peng did not give up and in 1967 the insurgency was renewed. It lasted till 1989 and was named the Communist insurgency war. Though the British and Australian armed forces had already withdrawn years earlier from Malaysia, the insurgency failed.

Malayan economy was disrupted after Japan withdrew from World War II. Some of the problems experienced included low wages, food inflation and unemployment. Because of these problems, there was labor unrest and from 1946 to 1948, there were a large number of strikes.

The British administration during this time was desperately trying to repair the economy because the rubber and tin industries were especially important to the post war recovery of Britain. Harsh measures were taken against protestors and they included deportations and arrests. This in turn made protestors militant and on June 16 th 1948, the first act of war took place after three plantation managers of European origin were killed.

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The MCP (Malayan Communist Party) in accordance to the Soviet global strategy received orders to go on the offensive. Emergency measures were brought into law by the British first by responding to the Perak killings then later   countrywide. Under the new measures, MCP and the rest of leftist parties got outlawed.

At the same time, the police were mandated with the authority to imprison not only communists but those who were even remotely suspected of assisting them without trial. Led by their leader, Chin Peng, the MCP made a quick retreat to rural areas and formed MRLA (Malayan Races Liberation Army). The MRLA started a guerilla campaign that targeted colonial extraction resource industries which included rubber plantations and mines

While the killings of 1948 led to State of Emergency declaration, it was not until 1950 that the director of operations, Sir Harold Briggs was appointed. Briggs came up with a report that recommended anti-guerrilla operations and cutting off guerrillas from communities that were likely to offer them assistance.

It was believed that this approach would help the British control the rise of the communists. However, on October 1951, Sir Henry Guerney, the High Commissioner was assassinated leading the British to uphold the perspective that things were continuing to deteriorate. Malayan communist insurgency lasted for 13 years and ended up been the longest of its kind in the history of Australia.

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