Directions: The following passages will be accompanied by relevant questions. After reading a passage, answer the corresponding questions based ONLY on information given or implied in the text.
Prior to merdeka (national independence) in 1957, Malaysia was a British colony known as Malaya. During the Japanese Occupation of Malaya from 1942-1945, some Malayans carried out attacks on the Japanese from hidden jungle strongholds. Many of these guerrillas were ethnic Chinese members of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), which refused to accept the return of Malaya to British control in 1945. With jungle warfare skills honed fighting the Japanese, the MCP guerrillas did not hesitate to use force in support of their campaign against British rule—British officials and businessmen as well as local residents identified with British interests were targeted for assassination by bands of communist fighters. As a result, the colonial government declared a State of Emergency on 18 June 1948.
The MCP insurgents depended on supplies taken voluntarily or otherwise from ethnic Chinese villagers living near the fringes of the Malayan jungle. Although few villagers were communists, many of these poor farmers had grievances against the Malayan government, which had failed to fulfill an earlier pledge to provide an easier path to full Malayan citizenship for ethnic Chinese residents. Moreover, any villager who refused to hand over food or money to communist guerrillas was likely to be executed on the spot.
Under these circumstances, Malaya Director of Operations Sir Harold Briggs formulated a plan that became the cornerstone of British strategy for dealing with the Emergency. The Briggs Plan had two interrelated aims—to provide a better standard of living for rural Chinese Malayans and to cut off the MCP from its source of supplies. To achieve these aims, some 400,000 rural Chinese were forcibly relocated into 450 “New Villages” surrounded by barbed-wire and guarded by police personnel. Some New Villagers complained of confinement in what they viewed as a concentration camp. Others appreciated the improved amenities provided for New Village settlements—including schools, shops, and dispensaries. From a military standpoint, the Briggs Plan was a resounding success: as the influence of the MCP gradually waned, the Malaysian government finally declared an end to the Emergency on 31 July 1960.