Chapter 6: What Aspirations Did the People Have for SG After 1945? (III…
Chapter 6: What Aspirations Did the People Have for SG After 1945? (III and IV)
People's Apirations from 1959 to 1963
Proposal for a Merger with Malaya
Malayan Prime Minister(PM) was initially not keen on a merger. He worried if SG were to join Malaya, there would be too many Chinese which would upset the racial balance in Malaya. Also, PM suspected that most of the Chinese in SG were sympathetic to communists, and had not forgotten the tough fight against communists during the Emergency
Changed his attitude by May 1961
Malaya PM feared that the communist influence in SG would grow, and that the problem would spill into Malaya if not addressed promptly. Thought if 2 gov could join forces to fight the communist threat. Hoped for other British colonies such as Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak to be included.
Support for the Proposed Merger
Believed that merger could help solve some of the problems that SG faced in 1959
British was unwilling to grant SG independence at first as they thought SG was too small to survive on its own. However, it was open to granting independence if it became part of the Federation of Malaya, together with Sabah and Sarawak.
Malayan gov introduced taxes on goods traded btw SG and Malaya after Malaya became independent. Limited trade btw them. SG hopped that a common market could be established through merger. Trade between Malaya abd SG would increase, creating more jobs for people.
Opposition to the Proposed Merger
Some PAP member opposed merger. Felt that the terms of the proposed merger would be a disadvantage to SG in the Federation. Concerned that people in SG would not be able to enjoy same rights as those staying in Malaya. Decided to split up from PAP. On 13 August 1961, they formed another party called Barisan Sosialis (Socialist Front)..
Contest for the Merger
Launched a year-long campaign to convince people of the need to merge with Malaya. PM explained the need for merger, series known as 'The Battle for Merger'. Also help exibitions to explain the benefit of merger to people.
Barisan Sosialis' Campaign
Tried to win support for their proposal by giving speeches at mass rallies. Leaders also accepted an invitation to debate the issues surrounding merger in radio forums alongside other parties.
People Decision on the Merger, 1962
Held on 1 Sept 1962 to find out type of merger people in SG wanted. PAP wanted people to vote for option A. Barisan Sosialis wanted people to cast blank votes to show opposition to the options offered.
Majority of people in SG voted for option A (71%) while blank votes had a lower percentage compared to Option A (25%). Option A: I support merger giving SG autonomy in labour, education and other agreed matters, with SG citizens automatically becoming citizens of Malaysia.
Barisan Sosialis was further weakened on 2 Feb 1963 when Internal Security Council (ISC) launched an island-wide arrest of those believed to be under communist influence. Known as Operation Coldstore. Key members of the Barisan Sosialis leaders and some members of the trade union were arrested. More than 100 people were rounded up and detained. Detainees accused of trying to sabotage the formation of Malaysia and planning to launch an uprising in SG.
Barisan Sosialis suffer a further defeat in 21 Sept 1963 election. PAP won 37 out of 51 seats while Barisan Sosialis won only 13 seats.
On 16 Sept 1963, SG entered the Federation of Malaysia based on a set of mutually agreed terms related to citizenship and control over area of gov. First, SG could hold elections to choose its own state gov. Second, SG state gov would have control over education and labour. Central Gov in Kuala Lumpur (KL) would have control over internal security, external affairs and def. Third, all SG citizen would automatically become citizens of Federation of Malaysia although they could not vote in Malaysian elections. SG wasn't a British colony. Festivities were held throughout the country to celebrate the establishments of the Federation of Malaysia
People Aspirations from 1963 to 1965
Problems Faced During the Merger
Disagreements Regarding Taxation
Before formation of the Federation, Malaya had wanted to collect rev in SG, and give SG the amt it needed to run the state. However, SG wanted to collect its own rev and send an agreed sum to the Central Gov in KL as taxes. However, the contribution SG had make to the Central Gov was later increased from 40% to 60%. SG felt that it was an unfair decision
Disagreement in Political Beliefs
1951, Alliance Party formed the Central Gov in Malaysia. Made up of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) and tha Malayan Indian Congress (MIC), each of which sought to represent the interest of their respective communities. However, PAP gov in SG believed in representing the interest of all communities regardless of race.
Disagreements Regarding the Common Market
SG hoped to enjoy economic benefits through formation of common amrket. However, the Central Gov was concerned that a common market would lead to greater competition from SG, asgoods from SG would no longer be taxed. Hence formation of common market was therefore delayed
Privileges for the Malays
To improve social and economic positions of the Malay, the Central Gov believed it was necessary to give special privileges to the Malay in employment, business and in education. e.g. provide free education for Malays and also reserved a certain number of jobs for them. PAP gov instead chose to focus on providing free education for the Malays to enable them to gain better oppotunities in employment.
Check pages 110 and 111 for examples of this problem.
Seperation from the Federation of Malaysia, 1965
The growing unrest convinced the Tunku that diff btw SG and the Central Gov could not be resolved. He thought it was best for SG to leave M'sia
Monday, 9 Aug 1965, before televion cameras on Caldecott Hill, PM Lee Kuan Yew announced to the people that SG was no longer part of M'sia