Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Briggs' Plan in Malaya

The Malayan Emergency in British-rules Malaya was declared in June 1948 in response to attempts by the mainly Chinese-dominated Malayan Communist Party to overthrow British colonial rule.

However British did not at first respond seriously to the threat posed by the communists until October 1951, upon the assassination of Sir Henry Gurney High Commissioner to Malaya.

With the implementation of the Briggs Plan, or to give it is full name the ‘Federation Plan for the Elimination of the Communist Organization and Armed Forces in Malaya’, the scene was set to enter a new phase that marked the beginning of the end of the Emergency and the defeat of the communist uprising.

Within this plan, Briggs stated his belief that the British government needed to demonstrate ‘effective administration and control of all populated areas.’

Lieutenant General Sir Harold Briggs a retired regular Indian Army officer arrived in Kuala Lumpur in 3 April 1950, to take up a new post as Director of Operations.

He had served throughout with the Indian Army, and with his thirty-four years’ experience of warfare in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, he was extremely well qualified for the position.

One of the major features of Briggs Plan, which had already been implemented before Briggs arrived, was the resettlement of thousands of Chinese squatters who lived near the jungle fringes and were thought to provide the communist insurgents with their primary source of food, assistance, and information.

Briggs Plan recognized that because of food could only be cultivated in jungle clearing, the insurgent’s primary source of both food and intelligence was ethnic Chinese squatters ringing the impenetrable jungles. 

Briggs restructured the plan, more thoroughly by coordinating the civil, army and police authority.

The Briggs Plan took over three years to implement and encountered several obstacles along the way. At one point in late 1950, Briggs believed the situation has so deteriorated he flew to London to plead his case directly with the prime minister.

After Briggs retired owing to poor health and after the death of Sir Henry, it fell to General Sir Gerald Templer to implement the Briggs Plan.
Briggs' Plan in Malaya
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