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Separation of Singapore from Malaysia - Singapore's Perspective
Transcript of Separation of Singapore from Malaysia - Singapore's Perspective
Separation - Singapore's Perspective
Merger with Malaya in the quest for independence
To persuade the British to grant
independence to Singapore
They wanted Singapore to remain as its strategic military base, rather than let it fall into Communists' hands.
The British feared that Singapore would be taken over by communists
The British also feared that Singapore would be attacked by Indonesia
Singapore had no Armed Forces and it could not defend itself against a Militant and anti-West Indonesia under Sukarno
The PAP had promised to achieve full independence in 4 Years after being elected in a landslide victory in 1959.
Political reasons for Merger
It allows Singapore to tap into the natural resources of Malaya and therefore increasing the export market. ( e.g. Tin, Rubber).
Moreover, the hinterland will provide a larger common market for Singapore's exports. This will solve the unemployment problems and improve Singapore's economy.
A referendum was carried out in Singapore which showed that 71% supported the merger.
Singapore was aware that Malaysia was not very keen on the merger because the merging would undermine the numerical superiority of the Malays.
The PAP also realised that the merger was only possible if it included North-Borneo, without which the number of Chinese would be greater than the number of Malays.
Singapore was also made aware that UMNO neither wanted the Malays Political Power to be threatened nor the Chinese to hold the Economic Power.
Economic Reasons for Singapore to support Merger
" I remember that in the first few years in the Finance Ministry, when I went home for lunch, I passed big schools and saw thousands of kids going home at 1pm. It was a depressing sight because I kept on worrying where I was going to find jobs for them."
- Dr Goh Keng Swee
"Malaya instead of co-operating with Singapore will compete against Singapore for investments. In this competition, both will suffer. But Singapore will suffer more because we have less resources to fall back on. We have no rubber and tin, no large land area.
- Lee Kuan Yew
Quest for Independence
Rise of Communism
The Japanese surrender created a power vacuum. Nationalist Leaders like David Marshall and Lee Kuan Yew seized this opportunity to fight for Independence so that its people could mold their own society and chart their own future.
Sentiments for independents were high as countries such as India, Vietnam and Indonesia had fought for Independence too.
16 September 1963 to 8th August 1965
Made up of 14 states
Separation from Malaysia:
Singapore did not agree with Malaysia's communal politics and special rights for the Malays.
Singapore believed in promoting the interests of everyone regardless of race, language or religion.
The Alliance Party from Malaysia took part in the Election but lost their seats in Geylang Serai, Kampong Kembangan and the Southern islands despite a Malay majority
The voters did not vote along communal lines and gave their votes to PAP, making the Alliance Leaders very unhappy, thus causing a strain in the relationship between PAP and the Alliance Party.
The Federal Elections
The PAP contested in the federal elections, campaigning for a Malaysian Malaysia, in response to the Alliance Party's failure to stay away from the Singapore elections.
The Alliance Party, therefore, viewed PAP as a threat.
Campaign for Malaysian Malaysia
PAP brought together 4 other Malaysian opposition parties from East and West Malaysia to form the Malaysian Solidarity Convention with an aim to campaign for a Malaysian Malaysia.
UMNO was so threatened by the possibility that the Malaysian Solidarity Convention could win the next election that Tungku Abdul Rahman decided to expel Singapore from Malaysia.
"All we ask is an honourable relationship between the states and the Central Government, a relationship between brothers not a relationship between masters and servants."
- Lee Kuan Yew
The Straits Times, 17 Sepetmber 1963
"We are happy that the vast majority of people support what we have done.The verdict is decisive. It is the seal of public and popular approval for merger and Malaysia."
Lee Kuan Yew
The Straits Times 2 September 1962
A referendum was conducted on 1 September 1962. 71% voted in favour of merger giving Singapore autonomy in labour, education and other agreed matters as set out in command paper number 33 of 1961, with Singapore Citizens automatically becoming citizens of Malaysia.
Economic Factors that led to separation
1. Delays in setting up the common market as Singapore was deemed an economic rival.
2. The Central Government attempted
to increase Singapore's contribution
to the central Government from 40% to 60%.
3. Despite an initial agreement for Singapore to collect its own revenues, the central government changed their stand and insisted on collecting the revenues directly
"When an electric bulb factory was about to start production in Singapore, the Central Government imposed import taxes on electric bulbs, including
those in Singapore. Its purpose was to protect a proposed electric bulb factory to be started in Malaya itself".
Goh Keng Swee
Singapore:Struggle for Success by John Drysdale.
Tan Siew Sin now wanted 60% of Singapore's total revenue, and I had to remind him of the exchange of letters in which the Tunku had given the assurance that Singapore would be left in charge of its own finances."
Lee Kuan Yew
I believe that the Tunku never told Tan [Siew Sin] that he was willing to let Singapore have maximum control of its finances in return for minimum Singapore participation in federal politics.
- Lee Kuan Yew
After World War II
The British proposed forming the Malayan Union to rebuild Malaya.
This involves citizenship and equal political rights to the Chinese and Indians.
1. The Communists fought against the Japanese during the WWII, gaining the locals' respect. The British, who favoured the English educated, showed cowardice.
2. Hence, the predominantly Chinese educated
communists, stirred up anti-British feelings to drive the British out of Singapore
However, the Malays wanted special privileges.
Acts of violence against the Chinese were carried out by Malays on Prophet Muhammad's birthday on the 21st July that year.
Earlier that month in a SUMNO sponsored convention, Syed Albar, stirred up racial sentiments and attacked the PAP alleging that it ill treated the Malays.
9 August 1965
July 1965- Dr Goh Keng Swee went to KL to discuss with Abdul Razak for a looser union the issue of a common market. Both sides could not come to a common consensus and decided that full separation would be in the best interests of both countries.
Hence, UMNO was formed and communal politics was developed through the Alliance Party which consisted of UMNO, MCA and MIC
Social reasons to support
Singapore's water supply comes from Malaysia
Many Singaporeans have relatives living in Malaya.
Gunung Pulai Dam
a.Writing in the chinese newspapers to demand for higher food ration and cheaper food
b.Forming trade unions-higher
pay and better working conditions
Subsequently. the Malay Newspaper, Utusan Melayu, falsely reported that 3000 Malay residents would be displaced from their homes. Communal politics was thus used against the PAP government in Singapore.
Lim Rui Rong