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The Japanese occupation brought on many changes.

Malaya was

affected politically, socially and economically. As military governments were

established, Malaya was renamed New Malai and a Malay Consultative

Council was set up in each of the eight provinces. The chairman appointed

would be the Japanese Governor and the vice chairman a Sultan. The Sultans,

although maintaining their positions as head of state, had no power, other

than handling matters related to Islam and the Malay customs. So besides

that, they and the council members were only allowed to advise the


The Japanese Military Administration also known as kempeitai

demanded total cooperation. They imposed Japanese traditions, customs, and

culture upon everyone. The Japanese language Nippon-go was enforced in all

primary schools and the Japanese system of education was practiced. Their

national anthem also had to be learnt and sung, including the worship of their

emperor. And the people were controlled through the use of propaganda

which proved to have a strong foundation over time. This act of introducing

indoctrination in the Japanese spirit (Nippon seishin) into their society was

called 'Nipponization'.

As for the economy, tin and rubber industries declined and the import

and export market was cut off. This resulted in much unemployment.

Imported food and other necessities were scarce. The Japanese decided to

have a food growing campaign. Furthermore, the issue of paper money

caused inflation to occur as there was a greater supply than demand. Money
became worthless 'banana' notes.

The black market then evolved. Public health services were also very poor.

Hospitals were frequently looted for medical supplies by the Japanese and

preventive measures for diseases were overlooked.

The racial policy adopted by the Japanese had many effects as well.

The support given by Chinese towards China since the Second Sino-Japanese

war against the Japanese in 1937, such as collecting large sums of money to

help them, has caused the Japanese to form a web of distrust towards the

Chinese of Malaya. They were even forcced to give a sum of $50 million as a
gift to Japan in 1942. However, the Chinese played an important role

economically so they were allowed to continue their trade and business.

On the other hand, Europeans and Eurasians became prisoners of war

(POWs) and had suffered great hardship. Many were detained, tortured and

killed. They made up a quarter of the forced labourers used to build the

Death Railway (so named for the huge amount of people who died while

making it) which is also known as the Burma Railway or the Thailand Burma


The Indians were given much better treatment at first, as their

confidence and support was needed to overthrow the British in India. Overall

support for this motion was gathered through the establishment of the Indian

Independence League which eventually lead to the formation of the Indian

National Army assisted by the Japanese. Yet, the invasion of India in 1943

was unsuccessful. They soon suffered alongside the others. Out of 250, 000

Indians who worked at the Death Railway, 100, 000 died. This caused them to

hate and distrust the Japanese in return and made many join resistance

Being indigenous as well as the largest group in Malaya, the

cooperation of the Malays was required. Hence, they were treated less

harshly compared to the rest. The propaganda directed towards them was

that the Malays were considered the rightful owners of Malaya and that they

would eventually gain independence. But in the end, they suffered too and

this made them hate the Japanese.