New Zealand's contribution to the emergency in Malaya, a difficult guerilla war, was to maintain a frigate or cruiser of the RNZN at Singapore, No. 75 Bomber Squadron RNZAF in Malaya (replaced in 1958 by No. 14 Fighter Squadron), and to send a Special Air Service squadron, a commando-type organisation of parachutists, to serve in the jungle as part of a British Commonwealth brigade. The SAS squadron was recruited early in 1955, left in November, trained in Malaya, and joined its parent unit early in 1956 in an operational role. It patrolled the dense Malayan jungle in search of guerillas until the end of 1957, had numerous clashes with elusive communist bands, and was then replaced by a full infantry battalion. Though the emergency has long since ended, New Zealand still maintains a battalion in this area as a current defence commitment. In the emergency the New Zealand Army lost 10 dead and 21 wounded, and the RNZAF lost five dead and two wounded in the course of its widespread and effective operations against the guerillas.
In September 1964, following the landing of a force of armed Indonesian infiltrators in South-west Malaya, troops of the First Battalion, Royal New Zealand Regiment, began an intensive search for these guerillas through mangrove swampland and jungle. This followed a firm declaration by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. K. J. Holyoake that New Zealand, along with Britain and Australia, would strongly support Malaysia against Indonesian aggression.
by Walter Edward Murphy, B.A., Lecturer, School of Political Science and Public Administration, Victoria University of Wellington.