Securing the Population from Insurgency and Subversion in the Second Emergency (1968-1981)
Date: 23 August 2010
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
PhD in History
Divided into five core chapters, this thesis examines the success and failures of both the insurgent that was the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and the counterinsurgent (Malaysia and to a lesser extent Singapore) during the Second Emergency (1968 to 1981). The conflict is set within a paradigm built upon the four key touchstones of ...
Divided into five core chapters, this thesis examines the success and failures of both the insurgent that was the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and the counterinsurgent (Malaysia and to a lesser extent Singapore) during the Second Emergency (1968 to 1981). The conflict is set within a paradigm built upon the four key touchstones of utility of military force, civil-military relations, population security, and propaganda. Anglo-American Counterinsurgency practice in Malaya and Vietnam as well as the doctrine of People’s War and Maoist mass persuasion will be comparatively examined within the framework of the abovementioned four touchstones to set the backdrop for the debate on the Second Emergency. The CPM’s strategy of anti-colonial armed struggle from 1948 to 1960 will be compared with that of its post-colonial armed revolution between 1968 and 1981. Key themes exploited by the CPM in its propaganda to revolutionise the thoughts and actions of its target audience and its impact will be analysed. Likewise, the counter-measures adopted by both the Malaysian and Singapore governments in response to communist insurrection and subversion will be elucidated. A significant part of this thesis is dedicated to an assessment of the Malaysian COIN doctrine of KESBAN. In a comparative study of the continuities and departures between colonial and post-colonial COIN approaches and practices, the strategies adopted in the First Emergency will be juxtaposed with that of the Second - particularly the evolution of KESBAN and the concept of ‘Comprehensive Security’. Most importantly, the fundamental ‘Why’ question, namely - Why did the emergent post-colonial states of Malaysia and Singapore triumph; and why did the CPM’s armed revolution failed yet again will be addressed. In providing an answer, this study revisits both the interior and exterior terrain of manoeuvre available to both sides of the conflict and explains why and how the CPM’s strategy was inadequate for the geopolitical and geostrategic terrain of its day.
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