Iron claws on Malaya: the historiography of the Malayan emergency

Hack, Karl (1999). Iron claws on Malaya: the historiography of the Malayan emergency. Journal of Southeast Asian Stdies, 30(1) pp. 99–125.



This article addresses the historiography of the Malayan Emergency (1948–60). It does so by challenging two archetypal works on the conflict: those of Anthony Short and Richard Stubbs. These argue the Emergency was locked in stalemate as late as 1951. By then, a “population control” approach had been implemented — the so-called Briggs Plan for resettling 500,000 Chinese squatters. The predominantly Chinese nature of the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA) had also ensured that most Malays — who constituted nearly half the 1950 population of five million — opposed the revolt. The several thousand strong Communist-led guerrillas thus laboured under severe limitations

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