Malaysia's Defeat of Armed Communism: The Second Emergency, 1968-1989, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Malaysia's Defeat of Armed Communism

The Second Emergency, 1968-1989, 1st Edition

By Ong Weichong


204 pages

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The Malayan Communist Party’s (MCP) decisive defeat in 1960 led many academics and Counterinsurgency (COIN) experts to overlook the resurrection of its armed struggle in 1968. Most scholars continue to regard the so-called ‘Second Emergency’ in Malaysia (1968-1989) as a non-event, and most of the recently published work on the MCP tends to focus on the earlier Malayan Emergency (1948-1960). This book looks at the Second Emergency through recently released archival material from the National Archives in London, the National Australian Archives and the Australian War Memorial, as well as interviews with military and diplomatic officers from the UK and Thailand. It presents the first serious strategic and operational study of the Second Emergency, and analyses three areas of historical significance: the CPM’s strategy for armed struggle in the Second Emergency; the actual effectiveness of the CPM’s subversive propaganda on its target population and most importantly; the counterinsurgency (COIN) response and strategy of the Malaysian state and to a lesser extent the counter-subversion strategy of Singapore in the post-colonial era.


'Ong Weichong illuminates a neglected chapter in the history of counterinsurgency (COIN) in Southeast Asia. Most studies end their assessment of the Malayan Emergency in 1960, and from this a number of COIN lessons and principles have been derived. As Ong argues, COIN campaigns may be longer and costlier then we have been led to believe. His peerless examination of the "Second Emergency" (1968-1981) is convincing in breadth of sources and depth of analysis. Malaysia's Defeat of Armed Communism is a must-read for serious scholars of COIN and irregular warfare.' – James D. Kiras, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, USA

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Fighting Big Wars and Small Wars: Approaching COIN and Maoist Revolutionary War 3. Strategy of the CPM’s Revived Armed Struggle: Retreat, Reform and Revival (1948-1981) 4. The Role of Mass Persuasion in Revolutionary War 5. Response of the Post-colonial State: The Persistence of the Colonial COIN Template (1968-1981) 6. The Making of a Winning State: Lessons in Post-colonial COIN and Nation-building 7. Conclusion

About the Author

Ong Weichong is an Assistant Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Asia has undergone immense and far reaching changes: war, revolution, occupation, industrialization. This series includes in-depth research on aspects of economic, political and social history of individual countries as well as more broad-reaching analyses of regional issues.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General