On March 21, the Belfast and a trio of Thames-class gunboats engaged a Japanese beachhead in Malaya. While the gunboats handled the beachhead itself, the Belfast took on the Aoba-class heavy cruiser Kinugasa as well as the freighters transporting Japanese troops. The Belfast opened up on the transports with salvo of torpedoes sinking them. The Belfast then turned its guns on the heavy cruiser Kinugasa. The more accurate radar guided rounds of the Belfast made quick work of killing the Kinugasa.
Later that year, the Belfast was part of a battlegroup escorting several recently refitted Dutch destroyers to Surabaya. when the battlegroup nearly ended up in a battle with a battlegroup led by the battleship Yamato. After learning that the Yamato was in the area, the battlegroup changed direction and took a different course to Surabaya while the Hood stayed behind to serve as a distraction.