In a wholesale application of a primary method of counter-insurgency, over one million persons in Malaya were regrouped or resettled in the early fifties to rupture the links between the Malayan Communist Party’s guerillas and the Min Yuen or supporting masses movement. 573,000 persons, 86% Chinese, were resettled in 480 New Villages.
New Villages were behind barbed-wire, flood-lit, guarded and under curfew from sundown. All daytime traffic, in and out, was thoroughly searched, for a spoonful of rice in a girl’s bodice, multiplied by thousands, could give sustenance to those in the jungle. These previously scattered rural masses had no longer the potential of a sea in which the guerilla could swim like a fish.