For other places named "Kampung Baru", see: Kampung Baru.
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New villages (Chinese: 新村 pinyin: xīn cūn; Malay: Kampung baru), also known as Chinese new villages (Chinese: 华人新村 pinyin: huá rén xīn cūn), are settlements created during the waning days of British rule over Malaysia in the mid-1950s.
The original purpose of the new villages in Malaysia was to segregate the villagers from the early Malayan Races Liberation Army insurgents, which were led by the Malayan Communist Party, during the Malayan Emergency. It was part of the Briggs Plan, a military plan devised by British General Sir Harold Briggs shortly after his appointment in 1950 as Director of Operations in the anti-communist war in Malaya.
The plan aimed to defeat the communists, who were operating out of rural areas as a guerrilla army, primarily by cutting them off from their sources of support amongst the population. To this end, a massive program of forced resettlement of Malayan peasantry was undertaken, under which about 500,000 people (roughly ten percent of Malaya's population) were eventually removed from the land and housed in guarded camps called "new villages".
By isolating this population in the "new villages", the British were able to stem the critical flow of material, information, and recruits from peasant to guerrilla. The new settlements were given around the clock police supervision and were partially fortified. This served the twofold purpose of preventing those who were so inclined from getting out and voluntarily aiding the guerrilla, and of preventing the guerrilla from getting in and extracting help via persuasion or intimidation. The British also tried to win the hearts of the new settlers by providing them with education, health services and homes with water and electricity.
The settlements were very effective in accomplishing their stated goal, preventing insurgents from gaining popular support in a way that could have turned the tide against communist insurgents in Vietnam or China. Upon completion of the resettlement program, the British initiated the Hunger Drive in effort to flush out the Communists from the jungle.
Removing a population that might be sympathetic to guerrillas was a counter insurgency technique which the British had used before, notably against the Boer Commandos in the Second Boer War (1899-1902).
During the Malayan Emergency, 450 new settlements were created and it is estimated that 470,509 people - 400,000 Chinese - were involved in the resettlement program. The Malaysian Chinese Association, then the Malayan Chinese Association, was initially created to address the social and welfare concerns of the populations in the new villages.
It is estimated that today, about 1.2 million people live in 450 new villages throughout Peninsular Malaysia. About 85% of the population in new villages are ethnically Chinese. The ethnic Malays take up about 10% and ethnic Indians roughly 5%.
Notable new villages
- Kampung Tengah
- Loke Yew
- Seri Kembangan
- Sungai Karas
- Sungai Way
- Kuala Rui
- Air Kala
- Selat Pagar
- Padang Guru
- Batu Dua
- Pokok Asam
- (Chinese version)
- 50 Years of Chinese New Village in Malaysia (Chinese: 馬來西亞華人新村50年 作者：林廷輝、宋婉瑩) ISBN 983-9673-65-3