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The catalyst for what became known as the Malayan Emergency was the murder of three estate managers in Perak, northern Malaya on the 18 June 1948. They where murdered by guerrillas of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), a left-over of the anti-Japanese guerrilla movement which had emerged during the Second World War.
The MCP comprised mainly of disaffected Malayan Chinese and numbered only a few thousand. They where upset that British promises of an easier path to full Malayan citizenship had not been fulfilled. The harsh post-war economic and social conditions also contributed to the rise of anti-government activity.
The Malayan government was slow to react to the MCP threat and did not officially appoint anyone to address matters until March 1950. While plans where still being put in place to address issues, the British High Commissioner was assassinated in October 1951. This provoked the British into action and forced the Malayan government to be more pro-active.
Australia's involvement in the Emergency began in 1950 with the arrival of RAAF aircraft and personnel in Singapore. Dakotas from 38 Squadron were deployed on cargo runs, troop movements, and paratroop and leaflet drops in Malaya, while six Lincoln bombers of 1 Squadron provided the backbone of aerial operations.
Read more about Australia's involvement in this conflict at the Australian War Memorial.
The following books are available to read at the Library and will provide you with some helpful background information.