Malaya, Singapore, and Borneo
|Alliance||Allies - Minor Member Nation or Possession|
|Possessing Power||United Kingdom|
|Population in 1939||5,119,000|
|Civilian Deaths in WW2||150,000|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
British Malaya was the overall term that loosely describes British colonies on the Malay Peninsula. Officially, the colonies were organized into the Straits Settlements (which included Singapore), the Federated Malay States, and the Unfederated Malay States. Collectively, British Malaya was a major producer of tin, rubber, and other natural resources; its production of rubber equaled about half of the entire world's output. This tempted the Japanese, whose industries and military were growing at an extremely quick pace, but yet did not possess the natural resources to keep up the growth.
On 8 Dec 1941, about 90 minutes before the attack on Pearl Harbor, forces of Japan and Siam invaded British Malaya; about a month later, Japanese troops invaded Borneo. When the conquest was complete in early 1942, Japan ceded the state of Kedah to Siam.
When Japanese forces completed its conquest of the Malaya Peninsula by capturing Singapore, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the defeat as "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history". Japanese atrocities began even before the surrender. Lt. Western, a British medical officer, surrendered with a white flag but was bayoneted to death. Then, the Japanese troops entered the Alexandra Hospital, killing over 300 doctors, nurses, and patients, most by bayonets. Renamed Syonan-to ("Island of Southern Light"), the Japanese occupation conducted the Daikensho ("The Great Inspection"; named Sook Ching, or "The Purge", after the war in 1946), in which the Kempeitai secret police rounded up anyone, especially Chinese men, who might be considered sympathetic to the Chinese; many of whom were systematically executed. This purge took place across the entire Malay Peninsula. It was estimated that 25,000 to 50,000 were killed during the Daikensho/Sook Ching. As more and more daily necessities were taken by the Japanese to fuel the war efforts, prices soared, making life difficult; the occupation government soon introduced a ration system to ease the situation, but the allotted food for each person was not considered adequate, and the Japanese encouraged gardens at home to grow extra food. This was one of the reasons that the black market system thrived in occupied Malaya Peninsula. A number of resistance groups bitterly fought the Japanese, the largest of which were the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) and the Force 136.
Japanese-occupied Singapore was also the home of the Japanese-sponsored Indian National Army, an organization that later evolved into the Government of Free India, also based in occupied Singapore.
The Japanese occupation administration in Borneo divided the island in half; the western coast and the interior regions were collectively renamed the Sheikai Shiu, and the eastern coast was renamed Tokai Shiu. The largest resistance group was the Kinabalu Guerrillas, which was led by Albert Kwok in the west and Tun Datu Mustapha bin Datu Harun in the north; the Kinabalu Guerrillas were defeated by the Japanese on 21 Jan 1944. Australian forces invaded Borneo in Jun 1945, and at the end of the war Lieutenant General Baba Masao of the Japanese 37th Army surrendered on 10 Sep 1945.
After the war, the Malaya Peninsula was governed by the British Military Administration, which consolidated the entire peninsula, less Singapore, into a single entity called the Malayan Union on 1 Apr 1946; Singapore was an independent entity that was considered a Crown Colony. The Malaya Union was renamed the Federation of Malaya in 1948. On 31 Aug 1957, the federation gained independence. On 16 Sep 1963, the nation of Malaysia was formed, which included the Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sarawak, and North Borneo. Singapore would later be expelled from Malaysia due to racial and political tensions, forming an independent city state.
William Manchester, American Caesar
|Adnan bin Saidi||Kathigasu, Sybil||Tunku Osman|
|Chin, Peng||Lim, Bo Seng|
Events Taken Place in Malaya, Singapore, and Borneo
|Invasion of Malaya and Singapore||8 Dec 1941 - 15 Feb 1942|
|Dutch East Indies Campaign, Borneo||15 Dec 1941 - 1 Apr 1942|
|Borneo Campaign||11 Apr 1945 - 15 Aug 1945|
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General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944