With The Most Experienced Pysch Warrior behind Him..

KUALA LUMPUR: Every one else had saw it but all went gaga and said it was … but to Malaysian Defence it was the largest gathering of cronies and wanna-be-cronies in history. Where? Permatang Pauh of course. Anyway a day before the election, Bernama ran story below, which would partially explained how the PP fave son continue to be in the limelight, ten years onwards. BTW, the one highlighted in the story is his father-in-law. Malaysian Defence however disagrees with the good Dr conclusion why the US lost the war in the Vietnam though. The US had no chance at all, no matter how psych up they had try to win it.

‘Psychology’ Wins War Against The Communists

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25(Bernama ) — The communists’ uprising in post-war Malaya that flared up in 1948 had ended with the signing of the Haadyai Peace Accord on Dec 2, 1989.

Representatives of the Malaysian and Thailand governments as well as the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) had inked their respective signatures for this historic signing.

Meanwhile, the years of 1948-1960 was a period of hardship for the people as the 12-year stretch saw an armed conflict between the British Colonial Government and the CPM terrorists.

According to the archives of the country’s history, the British Colonial Government declared a state of emergency in Malaya after CPM bandits murdered three European estate managers in the tin mining town of Sungai Siput, 29km north of Ipoh, on June 16, 1948.

One month later, the British government outlawed the CPM.

During the insurgency, the British-led colonial forces and the Malay regiments battled the terrorists to prevent the CPM from spreading their subversive communist ideology.


During the communists insurgency, the Government had put in place several measures to ensure the safety of the people.

Among these measures was the psychological warfare to win over the masses and counter CPM’s attempts to spread the communist ideology, as pointed out by Datuk Dr Wan Ismail Wan Mahmood during a talk organised by the Malaysian Historical Society here recently.

The Penang-born Dr Wan Ismail is the National Security Councils expert and consultant on psychological warfare from 1970 to 1993. He studied psychology in London from 1952 until 1959) on the Queen Elizabeth II Coronations scholarship.

His resume includes a stint as a lecturer at Singapore’s Health Ministry as well as medical training and community centres (1960-1966).

He was also the training director for the National Youth Movement (1966-1970) and visiting lecturer at the Royal Malaysia Police College (1966-1993).


Dr Wan Ismail said he was involved in psychological warfare operations as early as 1965.

“During a meeting with the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tunku said the nation was facing threats from the communists and others”.

After Sir Henry Gurney died in a communist terrorists’ ambush at Fraser’s Hill, Tunku said we should do something to transform the human mind.

Tunku lamented that despite the government having done almost everything in terms of the military aspect, the insurgency still continued, said Dr Wan Ismail.

Dr Wan Ismail was later directed to prepare a working paper for the setting up of the psychological warfare division.

“I was only trained as a psychologist. Psychological warfare was something new to me,” he said.

Dr Wan Ismail said what had helped him was the words of Sir General Templer: “To win the war, we must win the heart and mind of the people.”


Dr Wan Ismail said he was directed to set up a special unit named the Psychology Warfare Division, which was stationed at the Youth and Sports Ministry.

Tunku’s words were: “In terms of the military and police, nobody can beat our intelligence including the foreign intelligence agencies,” said Dr Wan Ismail.

The division was staffed by senior officers from the military and police who gave advice and opinion on certain matters like security, he added.

“My officers comprised the Chinese, Malays and Indians since we had to process information obtained in various languages and prepare suitable psychological strategies,” said Dr Wan Ismail.

The psychological warfare division needed to know the tactics deployed by the communists, it needed to identify their movements or strategies. That was where the police and military came into play, apart from getting support from people of various races and religions, he said.

Dr Wan Ismail said the department not only received feedback on the communists tactics and strategies but also their movements.

“The information helped us to deploy strategies to counter the communists. Based on the information obtained, we worked out how to deal with the enemy,” he said.


The British’s divide and rule strategy had created strong racial sentiments and the communists had capitalised on this issue, Dr Wan Ismail said, adding that the inter-racial relations during the British rule were not as good as nowadays.

He said the racial sentiments then were overwhelming and he himself had frequently got into fights with non-Malay schoolmates due to the racial sentiments.

“Among the working papers that we had prepared then were on how to unite the three ethnic groups. We also drew out working papers on how to approach the Chinese in new villages. At that time, we needed police assistance before moving into these villages,” he said.

According to Dr Wan Ismail, people in the new villages were full of distrust and it was difficult to determine whether they were supporting the government or the other side.

The department also advised the information officers on how to approach and communicate with the local community in the effort to win over the people.

The officers also disseminated information on the government’s assistance and other programmes for the community, he said.

“Our aim is to gain the trust of the people of various races. If they accept that the government is able to take care of their interest, then to me half of the war is already won,” he reasoned.

He said the principle behind psychological warfare was to know how to counter act effectively when faced with a situation, and not merely showing a reaction.

“Reaction would only make you defensive, you should counter act,” he proffered.


Each of the divisions moves was cautiously carried out, to prevent any vital information from falling into the enemy’s hands.

The division would also look through information to be aired over the radio to ensure that it would provide positive results, he said.

“Any information on security would have to pass through my division first. Particularly on whether that information would jeopardise the safety of our police or military,” said Dr Wan Ismail.

The division also gathered intelligence information, including analysing information in the electronic and print media that assisted in preventing the people from being swayed by the communists ideology, he said.

“The division had special officers of both gender and various races, who were sent to villages nation-wide.

“Their task was to obtain information including that on problems, which the people faced. The information would be compiled and analysed before recommendations to be acted upon by the respective agencies were issued,” he said.

Dr Wan Ismail said that among the moves to demoralise the enemy was the dropping of leaflets over their lines.

For example, the leaflets would bear pictures of the enemy’s family suffering from hunger or the burial of a family member.

“In psychological warfare everything is possible,” he said.


According to Dr Wan Ismail, in any war or conflict, the crucial element is on winning the people’s heart and mind.

“Without the people’s support, no matter how strong our armies are, we will never succeed.

Look at what happened to the United States in the Vietnam War.

“The Americans lost not because they were not formidable militarily, but they lacked psychological warfare. They neglected the Vietnamese people, there were too many social troubles that emanated from the American soldiers themselves,” Dr Wan Ismail said.

He said in Malaysia, the psychology-based integrated network of the military, police and civilians have been successful in maintaining peace and stability among the country’s multi-racial population.


Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2223 Articles
Shah Alam

1 Comment

  1. Looks like the current leadership have forgotten these lessons. To paraphrase, “They neglected the Malaysian people and too many of the social troubles emanated from themselves…”.

    The popular perception of the Police in particular is at an all time low, something they have utterly failed to correct despite the damning findings of the Royal Commission.

    The decision of the government of the day to play the race card (along with every other) in its quest for self-preservation is causing irrevocable damage to the nation.

    Something to ponder while we watch the tired old spectacle on Sunday morning. Merdeka indeed….

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