Today in Labour History
12 Years of 'Emergency'
'Emergency' was the euphemistic name for a war that had started in 1948 between the British colonial power and Malaysian communists in Malaysia with the killing of three British planters by the communist National Liberation Army. The hostilities were called 'Emergency' because planters knew that insurance companies would refuse to compensate for damage caused by an official 'war'. As soon as the British High Commissioner Sir Gerald Templar arrived in Malaysia on 7 February 1952, the 'emergency' situation worsened. During Templar's administration, fighting was intensified and both parties accused one another of atrocities such as beheading. The 'Emergency' lasted until 1960. The Malayan Liberation Army was the armed wing of the Malaysian Communist Party. The Liberation Army was organized according to Marxist-Leninist principles, with commissars, political sections and a secret service. The army mainly consisted of Chinese regiments, but there was one Malayan regiment as well. This '10th regiment' donated its archives to the IISH.