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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Short brief on MCP rebellion Time Line

In a few days time, a much long awaited film, Kanang, will be shown in cinema all over the country.

The film is about Temenggung Kanang anak Langkau and his life, from a young Iban sampan operator to the battle that nearly claimed his life at Tanah Hitam, Perak somewhere in 1979 (I don't recall the exact date).

The titular character, Kanang, is portrayed by none other but his own son, Langgi Kanang who bears very strong resemblance to him.

As I browsed through some comments on the movie, some individuals had asked isn't it that we won the fight against communism in 1960?

Just a brief history on the conflict.

From 1948 to 1960, Malayan Communist Party had launched an armed rebellion against the Malayan government which is under British control.

The rebellion was launched on the pretext of getting independence for Malaya. But it itself was a part of a larger Comintern's plan to convert the world into communism.

The rebellion was very effective from 1948 to 1955 where British used repressive technics which resulted in great recruiting material for the communists.

It was only after the Briggs plan and the talk of Merdeka that the MCP began to weakened and that the British began to take the local officers more seriously.

Local leaders called for amnesty programmes helped to decimate the communist ranks. The patriots amongst the communists put down their weapons and brought their friends out. By 1955, there were no patriots left in MCP except hardcore communists.

1957, Malaya gained independence. And by 1960, the hard pressed MCP ran to Thai border.

Circa 1967, MCP began to revive and had planned to restart their rebellion. But the 13 May 1969 took them by surprise and they missed the boat. It did gained them quite a large number of recruits.

1971, MCP began their second insurgency earnestly.

Starting from an attack at Kroh, where a military convoy was ambushed, it soon turned into a full-blown war in the jungles of Peninsular Malaysia.

Despite the war being fought in the jungles of Peninsular Malaysia, the situation was very precarious. Australian forces based in Butterworth had even been instructed to stand by to provide armed support if necessary.

With US losing the war in South Vietnam, tonnes of military supplies went underground. Many of these supplies ended up in the hands of MCP.

On the government side, after trial and error with the 5.56mm type rifles (HK33, Berreta, AR15), the military decided to adopt M16A1.

It is this era that is being portrayed in the film Kanang. An era which many Malaysians do not even realised had occurred.

By 1980's, the huge change in geopolitics hit MCP badly. Being a pro-Beijing movement, they found that they were no longer wanted by then Deng Xiaoping.

The Sino - Vietnam war had resulted MCP losing their other key ally, Vietnam.

By 1985, MCP was a spent force.

By 1987, they sent peace feelers to Malaysian government.

1988, the arrest of Cheong Chor in downtown KL resulted in the last MCP combat unit under MCP central to lose combat effectiveness. Though it must be made a point that MCP did not realise this yet as they had actually planned for a 3rd insurgency, if possible.

And by 1989, they finally laid down their weapons, after being informed that none of their units which had infiltrated into Malaysia are still loyal to Chin Peng as all had been infiltrated by Special Branch Task Force F and had agreed to surrender.

Kanang's sacrifices is not the only sacrifice made at that time. Malaysians from all different races, religions, and even hardcore communists* who had been reformed and returned to the society fought hard to ensure the freedom that we see today.

Let's not waste the sacrifices they have made for us.

* amongst the strongest and best anti-communist guerrilla fighters were former communist themselves.