March, 2022 - The Malayan Emergency

Speaker - Mr. Jegatheesan Velupillay


The Malayan Emergency is truly an interesting time in the history of the country. Much has been written about this period of time, much more speculated.


On March 2, we were fortunate to have listened to a talk by JegatheesanVilupillay (Jega) on the historical occurrences throughout the Emergency and gained some fascinating insight too.


Most Malaysians know of the Malayan Emergency as the years between 1948 and 1960 during which time a guerrilla war was waged between military forces of the British and the communists, who wanted to win independence for Malaya and build a socialist country.


Some information shared by Jega, not commonly known, is for instance, the role of Lai Teck, an individual of Vietnamese descent, who preceded Chin Peng as leader of the Communist Party of Malaya. A shadowy character who went by many aliases, Lai Teck was a spy for the French and later became a double agent for the Japanese. 


We also learnt of the significance of Force 136, set up by the British Special Operations Executive, a secret service organization in WWII. It was established in Malaya by Colonel Basil Goodfellow along with two other British commanders to fight the Japanese invasion. It subsequently met with the communist-led Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) to discuss working together against the Japanese. MPAJA agreed to the re-establishment of British control after the Japanese surrender, in exchange for training and weaponry by the British.


Various tragedies such as the Gua Musang, Batang Kali and Bukit Kepong incidents have recently etched a dark stain on our nation’s history. It is thanks to the success of many efforts such as the Briggs Plan, the creation of New Villages, the diligence of the Homeguards, SenoiPraq, Police Field Force, Special Branch and many other units that the threat of communism was finally quelled in Malaysia.


Melissa Pereira