The Japanese invasion of China beginning with Manchuria in 1931 and Beijing in 1937 followed by the outbreak of the Second World War in December 1941 resulted in British overtures to the MCP and the subsequent formation of the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) in January 1942.
AJU, the civilian wing of the MPAJA, had begun to register refugees at the district centres.
After the Japanese surrender, some of the members of the MPAJA
and Pulai Reserve Forces returned to their normal lives as padi-growing farmers in Pulai village, while others remained in the jungle to join the Communists.
The Malays were frustrated with the British and the MCP that supported the MPAJA
during the Japanese occupation.
With the surrender of the Japanese in August 1945, and upon demobilization of the MPAJA
, the CPM decided that since official recognition for its political role was not forthcoming, it would fight against British presence with the aim of self-determination according to the Atlantic Charter and the UN Charter (pp.
During the war, MPAJA
guerillas captured Japanese Type 38 and 99 Arisaka rifles, while others were used by communist guerillas during the Malayan Emergency (see below).
A report from the end of April suggested the successor to the wartime MPAJA
organisation was already compiling fresh lists of names, to facilitate any emergency call up By early June--before the Emergency declaration--it was calling up ex-MPAJA and others to form small mobile groups, which could later form the platform for guerrilla groups.
During the war, MPAJA
guerillas captured large numbers of Japanese Type 38 and 99 Arisaka rifles while others were used by communist guerillas during the Malayan Emergency.
Akashi Yoji, the most prolific and influential researcher working on this period, offers various explanations for these changes, including the deteriorating war situation, the problems of pacification and the Malayan Peoples Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA
) resistance movement, and a worsening economic situation characterised by galloping inflation and an acute scarcity of basic daily necessities.
 Unfortunately, the Malayan Races Liberation Army (MRLA) -- the new incarnation of the wartime Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA
) -- relied far too heavily on terrorism while neglecting 'masses work' or political education of the people.
Clashes between Malays (some of whom had been wartime collaborators in the guise of police and administrators) and Chinese MPAJA
units during and after the war limited the MNLA's ability to recruit Malays.
They were at loggerheads with the Communist-dominated MPAJA
operating further to the south, and Dobree was forced to intercede to halt open warfare between the two groups and oppression of the villages.