Malayan Communist Party
|Abbreviation||MCP, CPM, PKM|
|Founded||30 April 1930|
|Dissolved||2 December 1989|
|Newspaper||Min Sheng Pau|
|Slogan||Kaum buruh semua negeri, bersatulah! (|
|This article is part of a series on the|
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The Malayan Communist Party (MCP), officially known as the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), was a
In April 1930 the
The party operated as an illegal organisation under British colonial rule. In June 1931, many party leaders were arrested after a
Despite this setback, the MCP gained influence in the trade union movement and organised several strikes, most notably at the
After Japan invaded China in 1937, there was a rapprochement between the Malayan
At this time, the party was infiltrated by an apparent British agent,
The MCP was headed by a Central Executive Committee of twelve to fifteen members. About six of these were appointed to the Political Bureau (
On 8 December 1941, the
From 20 December the British military began to train party members in guerilla warfare at the hastily established 101st Special Training School (101st STS) in Singapore. About 165 MCP members were trained before the British defences collapsed. These fighters, scantily armed and equipped by the hard-pressed British, hurriedly dispersed and attempted to harass the occupying army.
Just before Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, the party began organising armed resistance in the state of
O'Ballance estimates that in mid-1942 the regimental strengths were about 100 in the first Regiment, 160 in the 2nd, 360 in the 3rd, and 250 in the 4th. At this time a 5th, 6th, and 7th Regiment were formed. This army, which included women, was conceived as both a military and political force, along Maoist lines.
When Singapore fell,
From May 1943, British commandos from
Japan's surrender on 15 August 1945 caught the combatants in Malaya by surprise. The first British contingent of reoccupation troops did not arrive until 3 September; Singapore was reoccupied only on the 8th. The Japanese garrison withdrew from the countryside, leaving a power vacuum that was filled by the MPAJA. In many places, especially Chinese areas, they were greeted as heroes as they emerged from the forest.
The British recognised the MPAJA's authority, paying its soldiers for the role in the reoccupation. The guerillas, meanwhile, seized Japanese arms and recruited freely, forming an 8th Regiment and lifting their armed strength over 6,000. At the same time they launched reprisals against collaborators in the Malay police force and the civilian population and began to forcibly raise funds.
Many in the rank and file advocated revolution. The cautious approach which was favoured by
On 12 September the
The MCP adopted a 'National Front' policy, building a broad coalition to work for national independence within legal means. Due to bad economic conditions, the BMA was immediately faced with strikes and demonstrations in which the Communists played an active part. Several were put down by armed force and leaders banished. The MCP also exerted influence through parliamentary parties such as the
Malayan Democratic Union (MDU) and the
In 1946, amid a discontent with the leadership's cautious line, an investigation commenced into rumours of
Amid a rising atmosphere of tension, the government outlawed the burgeoning trade union federations on 12 June 1948. Then on 16 June they declared a
In the two weeks following hundreds of MCP members were arrested, and the party was declared illegal on 23 July. Party militants regrouped in the jungle as the Malayan Peoples' Anti-British Army (MPABA), many ex-MPAJA personnel. The initial commander,
During this period the MCP also engaged in intimidation, including assassination, of civilians with the aim of coercing material aid, information, and silence. This policy contributed to a loss in popular support and was repudiated by the CEC in September 1951.
The MPLA had a General Headquarters controlled by a Central Military Committee which consisted of the politburo and some of the MPLA's regimental commanders and political officers. The most influential members of the politburo were
The MPLA lived in jungle or forest camps similar to—or even the same as—to those which the MPAJA had used. By mid 1950 they, with the help of the Min Yuen, had acquired uniforms. These were of either khaki or jungle green British pattern." The MPAJA and MPLA usually wore three stars on their caps, signifying the three races of Malaya.
Road or rail ambushes were favoured by the guerrillas, averaging about 17 per month from September 1949 to February 1950, and 56 per month from then until September 1950, peaking at 100 in the latter month.
To prevent peasants, particularly squatters, from aiding the guerrillas, the British commenced relocation, which became a major component of British strategy under the
In addition, in June 1951, a general food-control program called 'Operation Starvation' was instituted. In 'food restricted areas', eating was only permitted at home, not at cafes and restaurants or workplaces. Shop keepers had to keep strict account of all food sold, and canned goods had to be punctured at time of sale to necessitate their being used promptly. Widespread burning of villages suspected of Communist sympathies was also common in the early years.
As a military strategy, these restrictive measures were highly successful. By 1953 the MPLA was often short of food and its numbers declined. Faced with failure to establish any 'Liberated Areas', MCP renewed its work with trade unions and political parties. The MPLA, for its part, began to increasingly rely on Malaya's aboriginal population for support. Internment of Aborigines was abandoned after mass deaths, and the government instead adopted strategy of offering the aborigines' aid and building forts in aborigine territory.
In July 1955 Malaya's first general elections took place, with
On 24 September 1955
On 24 December the MCP released a new 'Eight Point Program' which called for an end to the Emergency Regulations, a cessation of hostilities, reform of Malaya's political system, democratic rights, support for world peace, and attention to other matters including education, health, welfare, and industrial production.
The negotiations culminated in the
In 1956 Chin Peng wrote to Tunku Abdul Rahman offering to resume negotiations. This was rejected by Rahman in a broadcast on 2 April.
In April 1957, Hor Lung, a Politburo member in charge of the Southern operations of the MPLA since 1953, was bribed to surrender to the security forces.
By July 1957, about 30,000 square miles (approximately 78,000 km²) out of Malaya's total area of 50,850 square miles (approximately 130,000 km²) had been declared by the government as 'White Areas' – areas where the MPLA had essentially been eliminated and the Emergency Regulations withdrawn. In August 1957, Kuala Lumpur and district were declared 'White'. By mid 1958 the MPLA existed mainly in Perak and the Southern part of Johore. By early 1959 the MPLA was active only around the Thai border.
Meanwhile, on 31 August 1957, Malaya became independent from Britain. Tunku Abdul Rahman became Prime Minister. The Director of Operations against the insurrection, however, remained a British General, namely
On 31 July 1960 the government formally declared that the 'Emergency' was over. However, Emergency restrictions remained in place in the area near the Thailand border.
The Communist guerrilla force, with a strength of about 500,
Also in 1969, in response to the intensification of the
In 1989, the CPM finally laid down its arms. On 2 December, at the town of