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Prewar, Malaysia was a British colony known as the "Malayan States" or "Malaya". Today, Malaysia is divided into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia on the Malayan Peninsula and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo) on the northwest portion of Borneo with thirteen states and three federal territories. Borders Singapore Island to the south, Thailand to the north and the South China Sea to the east. Borders Thailand to the north and the South China Sea to the east. Located off the southern tip of the Malayan Peninsula is Singapore Island. To the west of the Malayan Peninsula is Penang Island.
Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia)
Negeri Sembilan State located on the western coast of the Malayan Peninsula.
Pahang State located on the western coast of Malayan Peninsula.
Penang State (Pulau Pinang) includes Penang Island off the western coast of the Malay Peninsula.
Johor State (Johore) located at the center of the Malayan Peninsula.
Kelantan State located on the eastern coast of the Malayan Peninsula includes Kota Bharu.
Perak State located on the western central side of the Malayan Peninsula, includes Lenggong.
Kedah State located on the western central side of the Malayan Peninsula, includes Sungei Patani and Alor Setar.
Selangor State located on the western central side of the Malayan Peninsula.
Malacca State (Melaka) located on the western central side of the Malayan Peninsula borders Strait of Malacca.
Perlis State located at the northern to of Malaysia bordering Thailand.
Terengganu State located on the eastern coast of the Malayan Peninsula.
Malaysia Borneo (East Malaysia)
Sarawak State located on the northern coast of Borneo includes Kuching, Miri and Bintulu.
Sabah State located on the northeastern coast of Borneo includes Kudat, Jesselton, Labuan Island.
Kuala Lumpur capital of Malaysia.
Putrajaya located on the western coast of the Malaysian Peninsula.
Labuan Island located to the northwest of Borneo.
In retaliation, the British "Force Z" commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Tomas Phillips battleship HMS Prince of Whales and battle cruiser HMS Repulse with four Destroyers set out from Singapore to attack the Japanese expected to land on Malaysia. Sited the next day by Japanese submarine I-65. 'Z Force' made an aborted attempt to thwart a report of a Japanese landing at Kuantan that proved to be false. Land based Navy bombers from the Genzan Kokutai (24 G3M), Mihoro Kokutai (33 G3M) and Kanoya Kokutai (26 G4M1 with torpedoes) all took off from Saigon.
By December 9 1941, with an additional reinforcement troops, the Japanese moved into Kota Bharu town after occupying the Pengkalan Chepa airport a day earlier. The British continued their withdrawal to Kuala Krai and then to Terengganu. By December 22, 1941, the Japanese completely occupied Kelantan.
During the Japanese occupation of Malaysia, life was difficult. Due to scarcity, black markets emerged to acquire necessities at inflated prices. The currency notes issued by Japanese became worthless due to escalating rate of inflation. The notes became popular known as "banana money" because of the banana tree on the ten cent note.
During July 1943, Japanese Prime Minister Hikeki Tojo announced that the Northern Malay States including Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis be surrendered to Thailand as part of a December 1941 agreement between Japan and the Thailand. On October 18, 1943 these areas were placed under the administration of the Thai Government.
After the British returned to Malaya in 1945, they destroyed memorial markers installed by Japanese to commemorate fallen comrades.
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