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The Coming Of Japanese In Malacca History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Japanese brought war to Malacca during world war two, which had a huge impact on the Malacca’ s economy but this comes about after the British attacked Malacca. The Japanese set foot in Malay on the 8th of December 1941.when they found that the British had neglected the north that’s when they iniated their plan to attack malysia in Malacca. Where it first began in north of Malaya in Kota bahru.

The Japanese finally defeated Malay and the British which finally surrendered, around 800000 troops where captured by the Japanese. The Japanese did their homework well, gathering important information on the British and strongholds in Malaya knowing very well that Singapore could only be conquered if an attack came from the land. the British were therefore taken by surprise in Singapore since they had prepared their artillery at their harbor to defend themselves from attack from the sea were not in time to reverse their weapons to counter an attack from the mainland, across the straits of Johor.

The map of Japanese conquers the Malaya.

The history goes as far when the Japanese brought huge impact as is one of the earliest wars to happen to Malaysia especially to their historical city and that affected them so much since its one the place which brings capital into the country. They ventured southwards in the peninsula by the land gave the Japanese another advantage , since they already trained and experienced in malaca warfare , after many years of wars with china they knew the methods to avoid various problems of fighting in the jungle , like sunstrokes and malaria. They were also fearless dedicated and willing to die while championing the cause of their emperor. These could clearly seen in the fearless actions of the kamikaze warriors who would fly their planes straight into enemy battleships and perish in their endeavor. The Japanese used the bicycles to get around and that proved useful to the Japanese since it enables their troops to salvage the supplies they lacked such as ammunition and equipment from enemy forces which retreated from the fighting.

Although the Japanese were short of these supplies and depended on retreating enemy troops to obtain them. They possessed modern battle equipment which served them well especially in the air, the most apparent being the Japanese zero fighters. The royal air force with their out of date planes, was certainly no match for the Japanese when it came to battle and was defeated within 24 hours by the Japanese air force. The Japanese also reaped the benefits from weakness in the British administration system in which the local people were encouraged to achieve peaceful progress instead of engaging in fights, hence together with the Malay regiment of volunteers from the Malay states, and the commonwealth forces comprising British, Australia and Indian troops, the British were not prepared to go into war and contend with the expertise and experience of Japanese soldiers.


A recap of the past and why Japanese attacked Malay thorough Malacca of all the cities here was because, Malaya was known for its rich natural resources, and that very aspect was eyed by the Japanese militarists and industrialists. In 1939, Malaya was the resource of 40% of the world’s rubber and 60% of the world’s tin; that fact alone interested Japanese expansionists, but two additional reasons sealed the approval on the invasion planning that started in early 1941. The first was that most of this rubber and tin supply went to Japan’s potential cross-ocean rival, the United States. Secondly, Japan needed oil. Every drop of oil consumed by Japan’s military and industrial capacities had to be imported. The Japanese Navy alone needed 400 tons of oil an hour to maintain its war readiness. While Malaya only had a limited amount of oil production, the peninsula was a perfect staging point to launch and support further invasion for the oil rich islands of Borneo, Java, and Sumatra. In Jun 1941 Japan was refused supplies of iron and oil from United States, Britain, and Netherlands, therefore further reinforced Japanese thought that Southeast Asia must be taken. In addition to the natural resources, Malaya was also part of Japan’s “Outline Plan for the Execution of the Empire’s National Policy”, a plan to expand the outer perimeters so wide that her enemies would not be able to attack by air against the home islands. This perimeter extends from the Kurile Islands down to Wake, Guam, the East Indies, Borneo, Malaya, and up to Burma.

Due to that Malaya suffered a serious decline in economic activities and the citizens were unemployed, impoverished and expert much hardship, social problems became a norm in such a situation. To prevent the Japanese from reaping the toil of the British and progressing in Malaya, the British destroyed many railways, roads and bridges as well as equipment used in the rubber and tin industries. Inflation rates rose in alarming proportions due to the unlimited printing of Japanese notes known as banana money to add to goods became scarce and sold at exorbitant and sold at exorbitant prices in black markets which began to take form. The local people were badly exploited by the Japanese who controlled the finances foodstuff and other resources of the country channeling them to their military.

How the invasion of the Japanese affected monetary system of Malacca

Many suffered malnutrition and died of starvation , thousands of Malaysian were sent as forced laborers to construct the 250 mile long railway connecting Siam and Burma, known as the railway of death, as many as 40 000 people were tortured arrested and publicly executed in a massacre which went on for several days. And that happened because they suffered a major economic decline during the war, they spent most of their incomes in the war and that left the country barely enough to support its people. The investors did not invest in the country at time because of the war and that decreased their gross domestic product, people were unable to provide for themselves at the time.

There was great depression, the people demand for food and for everything increased but the government couldn’t supply more, most companies closed up because of shortage and people could not afford to buy anymore so most of them run at a loss and end up shutting their businesses in Malaysia hence the GDP of the country decreased, the Japanese overworked the locals without any means of payment.

They displayed their partiality towards the Malays and Indians, the Japanese created an atmosphere of racial disunity and made the Malays resent the economic stronghold possessed by the Chinese in Malaya. The Japanese also caused racial disunity by using military groups comprising Malays to fight Chinese resistance groups and this situation went on for several years even after the Japanese occupation. The discrimination was a huge impact as well, in a corporation is one of the factors that slows down production and may cause the business to run at a loss. Why? Because discrimination caused a huge space between the workers and others may feel they are of inferior position than other workers and that is not good for business or the country because there would be no ending wars and no developments.

But something good did come from all this , however since the Japanese did go to the extent of handling out several administration posts in the region to the Malays during their occupation a feeling of nationalism began to burn in the hearts of the Malays and cause them to yearn for independence for Malaya. It boosted their confidence among the citizens of Malaya since it was clear demonstration that an Asian country could defeat foreign conquers and thus began Malaya’s fight for independence. The economy spurred, many Malay children were able to be provided with education. Malacca achieved its economic and political excellence after that.

And this economic change was also helped by programs formed to decreased all that was brought by the Japanese, the economic status of the country increased from then on until today, programs like UMNO efforts include education of the public, they support from a wide cross section of the Malayan society by travelling all over the peninsula. They evoked feelings of dissatisfaction from the public by indicating that the treating organized by Mac Michael were invalid and the proposals in the new constitution were implemented without consultation with the Malays.

And it was finally evoked but it was one of the programs that helped in the economic growth of the country and also of Malaya. Malaysia had help from other countries to help in the rebuilding of its economic status and those countries helped with the funds, they were given loans by other counties to help sustain its economy again, it was hard but they just had to try as hard as they can to make sure the help their countries. This point is to be explained further below and explain how the fund was derived. To survive they will live be Hitler’s theory: in order to create a successful economical infrastructure you need to create jobs within the country i.e. all laborers must work in return for economical remuneration. 

They had to nationalize their businesses which attracts people in a long term than when the company privatize their businesses which only cover them over a short period of time, privatized companies normally cause problems in the long run., therefore more investors will be interested to invest in a company like that because it has gone global and therefore they will be a hope of good returns.  Privatized companies do well on a short term scale; because of the inconsistent management system and competition on the global scales whilst nationalized companies attract to the larger market and it has proven too work on a global scale on a long term scale.

Creating jobs within the industrial sector: farming, textiles, building motorways, ships and then further leading to economical competition with neighboring state. Finally reaching international recognition by competing at the highest level. Many of the companies were nationalized and the economical downfall that they had suffered throughout the ‘post-war steadily increased as too a increase of profit, thus leading to the ringgit being a powerful currency as it stands today in the foreign exchange market.

From then on the Malaysian economy is surviving and still is, it has taken advantages of its resources and uses its manpower to the maximum and now they are able survive anything that comes their way. They have earned to live together as different races in the country; they interact and work together in peace. The war ended in disaster but the outcomes were bad but they overcame them by coming together and got independence for their country and strived in unity to bring Malaysians as one, by forming programs that helped them with all that and they were able to even choose their own representative. Debts were created but they were for a good cause and finally they were able to pay back their debts and managed their own finances.

The Malaysian suffered hardship just like any country would after war but it passed, there were different methods used to fight back as well during and after war. They may suffered physically and economically, those hurt physical were heroes and would be remembered forever and economically they found ways to get back in their feet, methods stated above borrow money from the U.S and creating jobs to its people and use other means to survive like practice of agriculture and machinery, focusing more on building their relationship with their fellow citizens and their investors as well.

The monetary system during Japanese occupation Malacca (Malaya)


During the Japanese government occupation the Malaya, included the Malacca, the Imperial Japan was issued a form of currency between 1942 and 1945. The currency using that time is called as banana money, the name of banana money is came from the motifs of banana trees on 10 dollar banknotes. The currency used were referred to as “dollar” and “cent”. The Japanese dollar have several forms of Japanese invasion money. The similar currency issued in the Philippines as the Japanese peso, Dutch East Indies as the Japanese guilder and Japanese cuupied Burma as the Japanese rupee.

When Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei fall into hands of Imperial Japan on 1942, the Japanese was introduced new currencies to replace the previous one. In Malaya and Sinagpore, Japanese issued same value of money as the Malayan dollar. Local residents were forced to adopt this type of currency.

The Japanese simply printed more notes whenever they required it during occupation. This problem was cause in hyperinflation and the value of banana note depreciated. Furthermore, due to lack of series number on banknotes, counterfeiting was happen during that time. Because the inflation increase in Japan’s economy, the Japanese government forced to issue a larger denominations and increase the amount of money in circulation. Inflation cause the currency’s value drop and the price of good was increasing rapidly.

In 1945, because of surrender of Japan, the currency became worthless and Japanese government refused to exchange these currencies. Some local residents manage to escape because they had hidden Malayan dollar and Straits dollar, to protect their wealth in future and can be valid again when British resumed control of Malaya.

Banknotes using during Japanese occupation Malacca (Malaya)

A banknote including cents was the form of the currency. The notes retain certain feature such as used the dollar and cent as currency name, although without use their currency symbols which is $ and ¢. Each of the banknotes have different observe and reverse design but the pattern is similar. The first series of banknotes issued by Japanese government were lower denomination of 1, 5 and 10 dollars in 1942. The banknotes as follow:


$1 dollar

Observe: Bank value in Arabic numerals and English; “The Japanese Government” text in English, stamped block letters.

Reverse: Bank value in Arabic numerals.

Date of issued: 1942


$5 dollar

Observe: Bank value in Arabic numerals and English; “The Japanese Government” text in English, stamped block letters.

Reverse: Bank value in Arabic numerals.

Date of issued: 1942


$10 dollar

Observe: Bank value in Arabic numerals and English; “The Japanese Government” text in English, stamped block letters.

Reverse: Bank value in Arabic numerals, illustration of the sea from a coastline.

Date of issued: 1942, 1944

Because of the worst economic like inflation increase in following year, in 1944, the Japanese government began printing notes of larger denominations of 100 and 1000 dollar in 1944. The denominations of 100 dollar have two different version and 1000 dollar only available in one version. The 100 and 1000 dollars as below:


100 dollar (Brown color version)

Observe: Bank value in Arabic numerals and English; “The Japanese Government” text in English, illustration of rural life, stamped block letters.

Reverse: Bank value in Arabic numerals, illustration of rural life.

Date of issued: 1944

100 dollar (Brown and Green version)

Observe (Brown): Bank value in Arabic numerals and English; “The Japanese Government” text in English, illustration of a rubber estate, stamped block letters.

Reverse (Green): Bank value in Arabic numerals, illustration of rural life.

Date of issued: 1944

1000 dollarMalaysian_100.jpg

Observe: Bank value in Arabic numerals and English; “The Japanese Government” text in English, illustration of rural life, stamped block letters.

Reverse: Bank value in Arabic numerals, illustration of rural life.

Date of issued: 1944

The economic and life during Japanese Occupation Malacca (Malaya)

Food rationing


The serious problem occurred during Japanese occupation Malacca or Malaya period was the food shortage. Japanese government was issued the ration cards to residents to control the supplies of rice and essential items. Without ration card, you could not get any provision from shops. Only the ration cards can get the food. However, the quality of food always not good, rice had weevils and stones in them. For the rice, each adult was given 4.8kg per month and child was given 2.4kg but for adult the amount of rice was reduce 3.6kg after few months.

Skyrocketing prices

Due to Japanese government printing more notes, the inflation was increasing rapidly and the price of goods was increase to bring the suffer time to all local resident. The table below show that different price before Japanese occupation and after occupation.


1941 ($)

1945 ($)

Rice – 1 picul (60.5kg)



Egg – 1 dozen



Quinine powder




5,000 – 6,000

160,000 – 250,000

Hungry Years

After British surrendered to the Japanese, Malaya start heralding a 3 and half year period of malnutrition, making-do and deprivation. Everyone has lived through sweet potatoes and tapioca during 3 and half year, it was “tapioca for breakfast, for lunch and for dinner”. The sweet potatoes and tapioca become the substitutes for rice, bread, milk and other foods. The ubiquitous ubi kayu, provided a wonderful ballast for empty stomachs. Tapioca steamed and cut into strips could be turned into fries or mashed into flour can be made into kropok. Add some sweet potatoes into porridge or rice can fed more hungry mouths or the tubers made the rice more nutrition too because they are rich in vitamins and high in fibre.

Grow Your Own (G.Y.O)


During the Malaya occupation by Japanese, the most common to get the food was vegetables. Many vegetables were home-grown to against hunger; this made many people into a gardener. Even before the occupation, the home-grown food was started to increase the supplies of food. During occupation, Japanese also encourage and promoted home-grown food. Seeds were given away and agricultural exhibitions were held and people were resettled in rural Endau and Bahau in Malaysia to grow food crops. If any hawkers have excess long beans or kangkong they will came around to many doorsteps to exchange for another vegetables or fish. Some of the assets had gone during occupation, for example, hidden stock of Straits dollars, clothing and silverware. These assets could be sold or bartered for food in the black market.

Rubbery food

No one is assured of getting anything unless they were near the head of the line when Japanese give the ration food. Hence, everyone must get up in the wee hours of the morning to make sure they are to be in front of everyone else. Rumors about new supplies of food in the shop always bring a lot of people came and queues very quickly, people can just bought anything even you had no use for whatever but at least could barter it for something else later. Sometimes, the quality of food are not really good even people spent a long time to get it, for example, rice had weevils or stones, sugar was damp or adulterated, and bread and noodles were hard or rubbery.

Meanwhile, the flavor of dishes was so bad that some of people preffered to do without to make what they needed. Home-made item were common during this time. Taucheo, belacan, chillies, dried shrimps, and soya sauces are fewer ingredients to play around with and recipes were simple and uncomplicated.

Extra rations would released during special festival like birthday of the Japanese Emperor, during special festival Japanese government will given more ration foods to all residents. So, during the Japanese occupation Malaya, many people would have been happy just to sit down with simple bowl porridge because they no need worrying what fresh disasters the day would bring.

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