Government flees Malaya, Japs say (1-12-42)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 12, 1942)

Government flees Malaya, Japs say

Tokyo, Jan. 12 – (broadcast recorded in U.S. by the United Press)
Dispatches from Shanghai said today that Sir Shenton Thomas, Governor of British Malaya, had fled to India with the Malayan government following the fall of Kuala Lumpur, capital of the Federated Malay States, 200 miles northwest of Singapore.

Japanese forces, pushing down the west coast of the Malay Peninsula beyond Kuala Lumpur, opened an artillery barrage at dawn against British troops who had retreated 50 miles south of the city, where they formed a new line, military dispatches said.

The term “Malayan government” was not explained in the broadcast. The Federated Malay States are governed by native rulers under the British High Commissioner in the Straits Settlements. The other Malay States are ruled by Sultans who have British advisers.

A Dōmei dispatch said the Japanese flag now flies over the capital building at Kuala Lumpur. British troops were forced to abandon the city after 24 hours’ resistance in order to avoid encirclement, it said.

It commented:

All this was due to the Japanese superiority in men and material.

Informed sources said the capture of Kuala Lumpur crumbled Britain’s last stand for the defense of Singapore. It was understood that Australian troops bore the brunt of the defense, with 30,000 defenders being annihilated.

A Saigon dispatch said British naval authorities had announced that the 5,220-ton British cruiser Galatea of the Asiatic Fleet had been sunk by a Japanese submarine, according to information from Singapore.

The British Admiralty announced last week that the Galatea had been sunk in the Mediterranean off Alexandria.