Malaysian Studies – Revision Notes
1. The Japanese Occupation
• The Japanese occupied Malaya for only 3 ½ years (from 15 Feb 1942 to 15 August 1945)
• Had a great impact on the country – the conquest of the whole of Malaya was fast and effective
• The attack started from two directions, from the East and the West
• After landing in Kota Bharu, the Japanese soldiers rushed to Kuantan and then to Mersing.
• On 12 Dec 1941, Jitra was captured, followed by Penang Island and Slim River.
• In Jan 1942, the Japanese soldiers entered Kuala Lumpur, and both the Japanese military troops met in Johore Bahru
• On 15 Feb 1942, Singapore fell to the Japanese army.
• The main aim of the Japanese was to establish a New Great East Asia government.
• The Japanese promised to declare independence in certain South East Asian countries.
1. The Japanese Victory
• The Japanese military conquered Malaya quite easily although the British military was equipped with better firearms and were greater in number than the Japanese
• There are a few lessons to be learnt from this.
• 1. The British were not prepared for the war. They did not anticipate the Japanese attack from the north.
2. The fact was the Japanese had a comprehensive plan in which they had a network of spies in Malaya.
3. In addition to that, the Japanese soldiers were in excellent form because of intensive training and were led by capable and experience leaders (such as Yamashita and Tsuji).
4. The Japanese were enthusiastic and inspired to fight for the importance and supremacy of Japan.
5. Furthermore, they had practical war tactics, such as using the bicycle even in the jungles and villages.
6. The British military on the other hand, lacked the spirit f war, especially after the first round of attacks.
7. Also, a large number of the British soldiers consisted of Indians who were still young and inexperienced in warfare.
* All the above show that success needs proper planning, leadership skills, determination and
and the spirit to fight on.
2. The Effects of the Japanese Invasion
• The Japanese invasion had a great impact on the life of the citizens in Malaysia. • The effects were social, economic and political.
• From the social aspect, the Japanese invasion worsened the relationship among the races in the country because the Japanese were against the Chinese and on the side of the Malays. This made the Chinese seek refuge at the edge of the jungles. The misunderstanding between the Malays and the Chinese continued even after the Japanese had surrendered. • From the economic aspect, Malaya was in complete confusion. Much of the economic infrastructure was destroyed and economic activities were disrupted causing the lives of the people to become worse and inflation continued to escalate. • From the political aspect, it was found that the Japanese administration was a period of misery for the local citizens and the experience raised their political awareness. The Malays were attracted to the slogan “Asia for Asians” which stirred them to build their own government. • The Chinese, on the other hand, established the Malayan Peoples’ Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) to fight the Japanese and strengthen the Communist Party of Malaya. • The Japanese used the police force (mainly Malays) to fight against the MPAJA (consisting mainly of Chinese) thus causing racial friction and fighting between the Chinese and the Malays. • When the Japanese surrendered towards the end of World War II, the MPAJA had the chance to be in power. They took advantage of the tardiness of the British in their peacekeeping efforts. • The MPAJA terrorized and took revenge on the Malays, whom they accused of supporting the Japanese who had...
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