Ziarah sejarah 18 Jun 1948
(Sejarah penglibatan Australia dalam konflik Asia Tenggara, khususnya Darurat, dari sudut pandangan Jabatan Veteran Negara kanggaro tersebut)The Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) and the Indonesian Confrontation (1963-1966) represent significant turning points in both Australian military history and the history of Australia’s international relations. An understanding of these conflicts also helps explain why Australia became involved in the Vietnam War (1962-1972).
The Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation were disputes over the fate of former British colonial possessions in South-East Asia. They were end-of-empire conflicts, and they were the last occasions in which Australians fought alongside other Commonwealth forces in what was basically a British cause. At the same time, however, the Emergency and the Confrontation represented increasing Australian involvement in developments in South-East Asia, and therefore suggested the emergence of a foreign policy that would be ideologically pro-Western, but no longer oriented towards Europe.
The Malayan Emergency (1948-1960): Background
Causes and general description of The Malayan Emergency (1948-1960)
(British Prime Minister Clement Attlee alongside King George VI (in uniform). Succeeding Winston Churchill, Attlee was Prime Minister during the vital years between 1945 and 1951. His government’s foreign policy was marked by contradictions: the seemingly eager move away from colonial rule in the sub-continent contrasted with a ‘new colonialism’ in Africa. The British administration’s policy in post-war Malaya was also characterised by contradictions and changes of heart. [AWM P02018.404])
The Malayan Emergency was a conflict between communist guerrillas and British Commonwealth forces including Australians. The guerrillas, most of whom were Malayan Chinese, were seeking to overthrow the British colonial administration in Malaya. The term ‘Emergency’ is used to describe the conflict because on 18 June 1948 the British declared a State of Emergency in Malaya after guerrillas assassinated three European plantation managers in the northern state of Perak.
The Malayan Emergency arose from political and ideological uncertainty in Asia following the Second World War, and from a long-standing antipathy between the British and the Malayan Chinese. Moreover, when the British resumed control after the war, the new administration failed to act firmly or consistently to solve social and economic problems in Malaya. The administration’s initial response to escalating violence on the part of the communists was also indecisive.
The Malayan Union Proposals were the immediate cause of this violence. In 1946 the British announced the proposals, which would have led to the granting of citizenship to the Malayan Chinese. The proposals were, however, extremely unpopular with the wider Malay population, so the British withdrew them. This about-face enraged the Malayan Chinese, some of whom, abandoning protests and strikes, began a campaign of violence that included intimidation, sabotage, and selective assassination. And 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.
Although the assassinations of 1948 led to the declaration of a State of Emergency, the British only appointed a Director of Operations, Lieutenant-General Sir Harold Briggs, in 1950. Briggs completed a report that recommended both active anti-guerrilla operations and cutting the guerrillas off from communities likely to help them, as well as a systematic clearance of Malaya from the south to the north. Yet the assassination of the High Commissioner Sir Henry Guerney on October 1951 still suggested that, from a British perspective, the situation was continuing to deteriorate.
According to western accounts, the pivotal point in the conflict was the appointment in January 1952 of General Sir Gerald Templer as British High Commissioner and Director of Operations. During his two-year command in Malaya the energetic Templer carried out Briggs’ recommendations including the controversial resettlement of many rural Chinese into ‘new villages.’ Templer also offered the guerrillas rewards and other incentives to surrender.
As early as 1951, however, the MCP leadership was beginning to think that moving to a full-scale guerrilla war had been a mistake. From the mid-1950s communist leaders such as Chin Peng realised that they could not win, and began to press for a negotiated settlement to the conflict. Nevertheless, peace talks held over a three-month period from December 1955 failed, not least because of the strong stance taken by British-backed Malayan representatives such as Tunku Abdul Rahman, who would only consider an unconditional surrender by the guerrillas.
When Malaya became an independent federation in August 1957 with Tunku Abdul Rahman as Prime Minister, the avowed anti-colonialism of the communist cause became meaningless. Indeed, the new government was now able to call the struggle against the guerrillas ‘the People’s War.’ The struggle itself was effectively over by 1958 when the last significant group of guerrillas still at large in Malaya surrendered at Telok Anson in Perak, and others fled north into the remote areas near – and across – the border with Thailand. The Malayan government did not, however, declare an end to the State of Emergency until 31 July 1960. By that time 6,700 guerrillas, 1,800 Malayan and Commonwealth troops, and more than 3,000 civilians had lost their lives in the conflict.
The Malayan Emergency (1948-1960): The Malayan Communist Party (MCP)
Origins of the MCPThe guerrillas who fought against the Commonwealth forces during the Malayan Emergency were mostly members of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP).
The MCP was closely related to the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) of the Second World War; the commander of the MPAJA, Lai Tek, was also the Secretary-General of the MCP. Lai Tek’s hopes of seizing power in Malaya after the war were thwarted by the sudden surrender of the Japanese and the arrival of British and Indian troops. Although the MPAJA was officially disbanded by the British, many of its members went underground. The members retained their uniforms and weapons, and were ready to emerge as the military wing of the MCP. In the meantime, the MCP began to take control of Malaya’s trade unions in order to foment strikes and disturbances that would prepare the way for an overthrow of the British. The MCP was, however, shaken in 1947 when Lai Tek absconded with the party funds.
In 1948 the new Secretary-General Chin Peng oversaw a change of direction in the MCP’s anti-British activities. Chin wanted to turn what had been a largely political struggle into a guerrilla war. He therefore reorganised the former members of the MPAJA into a 12,000-strong rural guerrilla force called the Malayan Races Liberation Army (MRLA).
Chin’s strategy was to drive representatives of the administration and other Europeans from plantations, mines, and the countryside in order to create ‘liberated areas’ that would expand and join together. Larger villages and towns would then be taken by force. Finally, a ‘general offensive’ against the British would lead to the capture of the main cities and the setting up of a communist republic.
The strategy was not successful. Extensive guerrilla operations not only failed to lead to the establishment of any ‘liberated areas,’ but also resulted in the MRLA being forced onto the defensive. In 1951 Chin released an ‘October Manifesto’ from his Jungle headquarters in Pahang. The manifesto acknowledged that the guerrilla campaign was not working, and urged that the struggle should go back to being an essentially political one. But it was too late. For the remainder of the 1950s the MRLA’s main concern was with survival, as it was driven into ever more remote areas by the Commonwealth forces.
The October Manifesto also acknowledged that the Malayan proletariat had not been won over. In fact, guerrilla intimidation and violence had alienated the populace. This inability to win over the majority of the Malay people was the underlying reason for the failure of the communist cause in the Malayan Emergency. The ethnic and cultural make-up of Malaya meant that most people were unlikely to support the guerrillas, and that Chin Peng could not credibly present himself as a nationalist leader in the manner of Mao Ze-Dong and Ho Chi Minh. Yet he had attempted to do so. And he had embarked on a guerrilla war that he had little chance of winning.
… It's an old Mao Tse Tung thing that, ‘the guerrillas are the fish and the people are the water and the fish live in amongst the water. So if you take one away from the other they will die’. … And that's what happened … isolated the population from the jungle … isolated the guerrillas and they withered on the vine.
Dalam pelajaran sejarah di sekolah-sekolah kita, ada bahagian-bahagian tertentu yang tidak diceritakan dengan mendalam dan tuntas. Ada bahagian-bahagian tertentu, kisah-kisah sejarah bangsa kita itu disentuh sepintas lalu supaya cerita sejarah kita tidak begitu ketara kejanggalannya. Namun demi ‘untuk kebaikan nusa bangsa dan penyatuan nasional’, ada bahagian-bahagian lain yang diceritakan dengan penuh semangat ― semangat yang berkobar-kobar ― khususnya kepada orang-orang Melayu. Misalnya orang-orang Melayu sentiasa diberitahu bahawa Umnolah yang berjuang untuk menggagalkan Malayan Union itu. Dan inilah jasa terbesar Umno menyelamatkan orang-orang Melayu.
Sila teliti bahagian-bahagian lain yang mungkin saja menarik kepada saudara. Perhatikan strategi dan pendekatan yang digunakan untuk menggagalkan usaha yang lebih besar ― menghalau pihak British dari bumi Malaya. Perhatikan bagaimana strategi dan pendekatan seperti ini diulang-ulangi dengan segala kudrat dan kuasa yang ada.
Oleh itu jangan terkejut jika isu-isu menghina Raja, menghina Nabi, menghina itu dan menghina ini adalah isu-isu yang tak akan mati dengan mudah.