Silenced Revolutionaries: Challenging the Received View of Malaya’s Revolutionary Past by Sze-Chieh Ng
A Thesis Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts
Approved April 2011 by the Graduate Supervisory Committee: James Rush, Chair Stephen MacKinnon Aaron Moore
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY May 2011
ABSTRACT In the former British colony of Malaya, communism is a controversial subject that often invites significant scrutiny from government officials and proBritish scholars who describes the radical movement as a foreign conspiracy to dominate the small Southeast Asian nation. The primary goal of this thesis, therefore, is to reinterpret and revise the current established history of Malayan communism in a chronological and unbiased manner that would illustrate that the authoritative accounts of the movement was not only incomplete but was also written with explicit prejudice. The secondary goal of this thesis is to argue that the members of the Malayan Communist Party were actually nationalists who embraced leftist ideology as a means to fight against colonialism. By examining the programs and manifestoes issued by the Party over the years, it is clear that the communists were in fact had been arguing for social reforms and independence rather than a Russian-style proletarian revolution. This research scrutinizes the authoritative texts written by Cold War-era scholars such as Gene Hanrahan as well as newly published historical analysis of the period by Cheah Boon Kheng in addition to memoirs of surviving members of the Party such as Chin Peng and Abdullah C.D. The evidence indicates that early understandings of the Malayan communist movement were heavily influenced by Cold War paranoia and that over time it had become the accepted version of history.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to thank Dr. James Rush for agreeing