a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


Malayan Civil War

Also called: Malayan emergency

Years: 1948-1957
Battle deaths: 10,845 [1]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]
Malaysia, United Kingdom, Australia

Published prior to 2013 | Updated: 2014-08-10 19:19:21
Malayan emergency was an insurrection and guerilla war of Malay Races Liberation Army in Malaysia in 1948-1960.

Malay Races Liberation Army (MRLA in this text) was a creation of Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and, by extension, led and dominated by ethnic Chinese communists. It was also a successor of the Malayan Peoples’ Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) that British had trained and equipped during World War Two. The MCP had been legalized after the war, but had stored most of the MPAJA’s weapons for later use.

The MCP disagreed with the British idea of a Malayan Federation because there seemed to be no direct way to communism. The party’s new leader Chin Peng decided to set the revolution rolling.

In June 16, 1948 MRLA guerillas killed three British rubber planters. Britain declared a State of Emergency. The enemy was named CT – Communist Terrorists. Despite the term “emergency” it was a full-scale guerilla war between MRLA and British and Malayan authorities. MRLA tortured and killed dozens of British and Malay civilians (including children), ambushed soldiers, sabotaged installations, attacked slightly-defended rubber farms and destroyed transportation in a deliberate terror campaign. Four hundred civilians died in the first year.

Support for the MRLA was mainly based on about 500,000 ethnic Chinese (there were 3.12 million Chinese in total); the Malay population at large did not support them. The Chinese had no franchise in elections, no land rights to speak of and were usually very poor. MRLA called their agents within the Chinese population "Min Yuen".

The MRLA had its hideouts in the rather inaccessible jungle. Most of them were Chinese with some Malays and Indonesians. They were organized into communist political regiments with political sections, commissars, instructors and secret service. They also had lectures about Marxism-Leninism and political newspapers. MRLA included many women and soldiers had to get official permission for romance.

Source: Wikipedia, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved [dat]


Data Sources

[1] Battle deaths: PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset v3.0 (link) (1946-88) ID: #31
Low: 7,963 High: 12,882

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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