Recording: The Malayan Emergency – Gerald Templer’s Role and Legacy

Dr Kumar Ramakrishna speaks about British propaganda during the Malayan Emergency (1948–60) and the impact of General Templer, and Dr Ong Wei Chong speaks about the Second Emergency: from Malaya to Malaysia (1968–89).

Watch the event recording


The Malayan Emergency began in 1948. It was a guerrilla war fought in British Malaya between communist fighters of the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA) and the military forces of the British Empire. In October 1951, the British High Commissioner in Malaya, Sir Henry Gurney, was assassinated in an MNLA ambush on Fraser’s Hill. General Gerald Templer arrived as the new High Commissioner in January 1952. During his two-year command, the British were successful in reducing the levels of insurgency and terrorism significantly.

Dr Kumar Ramakrishna speaks about British propaganda during this period and Templer’s impact. The Communist Party of Malaya’s decisive defeat in 1960 led to its armed struggle in Malaysia and Singapore from 1968 to 1989, known as the Second Emergency – an event that tends to be overlooked.

Dr Ong Wei Chong addresses the legacy of Templer and the transition of Malaya to Malaysia.

This event is chaired by Raffaello Pantucci is a Senior Associate Fellow of RUSI 

About the speakers

Dr Kumar Ramakrishna is an Associate Professor, Provost’s Chair in National Security Studies, Associate Dean in charge of Policy Studies, and Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His current research interests include British propaganda in the Malayan Emergency; propaganda theory and practice; history of strategic thought; and counterterrorism with a focus on radicalisation. His first major single-authored book, Emergency Propaganda: The Winning of Malayan Hearts and Minds, 1948–1958 (2002), was described by the International History Review as ‘required reading for historians of Malaya, and for those whose task is to counter insurgents, guerrillas, and terrorists’.

Dr Ong Wei Chong is an Assistant Professor and Head of the National Security Studies Programme at RSIS. His book, Malaysia's Defeat of Armed Communism: The Second Emergency 1968–1989, was reviewed in the RUSI Journal April/May 2015 edition


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