Singapore’s separation from Malaysia

Singapore Infopedia


On 9 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent and sovereign state.1 The separation was the result of deep political and economic differences between the ruling parties of Singapore and Malaysia.2 Even before the proclamation of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, leaders from both sides of the causeway were mindful that these differences “[could not] be wiped out overnight”.3 At a press conference announcing the separation, then Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was overcome by emotion and broke down. Singapore’s union with Malaysia had lasted for fewer than 23 months.4

Background to the merger
The Federation of Malaysia officially came into being on 16 September 1963 following the amalgamation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (later renamed Sabah).5 The terms of Singapore’s entry into Malaysia, which were agreed upon by both the Singapore and federal governments, were published in a White Paper in November 1961.6 

The White Paper documented the outcome of talks between then Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and then Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman on Singapore’s inclusion into Malaysia. Highlights of the terms included the margins of Singapore’s autonomy, Singapore’s political representation in the federal government, the status of Singapore citizens and Singapore’s revenue contribution to the federal government.7 Prior to the signing of the Malaysia Agreement in London, there had been a week of “arduous and gruelling negotiations” over the thornier issues of a common market between Singapore and Malaya, and the portion of Singapore’s revenue and taxes that would go to the federal government in Kuala Lumpur.8

Singapore’s de-facto independence
With these issues settled, the Malaysia Agreement was ratified on 9 July 19639 and the formation of Malaysia set for 31 August 1963.10 However, the formation was postponed to 16 September 1963 to give the United Nations more time to complete a study on the sentiments of the people in the Borneo territories over the merger.11 

The delay, however, did not stop Lee from declaring Singapore’s independence within Malaysia on 9 July 1963, much to the chagrin of the Malayan and British governments.12 Both sides did not send representatives to attend the ceremony and they questioned the legality and validity of Singapore’s claim to power over its defence and external affairs.13 The federal government in Kuala Lumpur also felt that Lee had encouraged Sabah and Sarawak to follow suit, as they, too, declared their de-facto independence on the same day.14 Nonetheless, after the United Nations found that the majority of the people in Sabah and Sarawak supported the merger, the formation of the Federation of Malaysia was officially declared on 16 September 1963.15 By then, the Singapore government had called for a snap election.16

Aftermath of the 1963 Singapore General Election
Held on 21 September 1963, the General Election saw the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), led by Lee, winning 37 of the 51 seats it contested.17 The ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party in Malaysia also contested in the elections through the Singapore Alliance. The Alliance fielded 41 candidates but failed to capture any seats.18 Singapore UMNO (SUMNO), one of the coalition partners in the Singapore Alliance, lost the three seats it had held in predominantly Malay constituencies to PAP Malay candidates.19

UMNO and SUMNO did not react well to defeat of the Singapore Alliance.20 Commenting on the loss of the Malay constituencies by SUMNO on 22 September 1963, the Tunku said he was “surprised” that the Malays in Singapore had turned their backs on UMNO and had instead voted for the PAP. He attributed this change of attitude to “traitors” within SUMNO.21 In what was seen as a political challenge to the PAP, the Tunku stated, on another occasion on 27 September 1963, that he would personally direct the affairs of SUMNO in Singapore22 and would play “an important part” in SUMNO’s campaign in future elections. The Malaysian prime minister also reminded the crowd that the government of Singapore was “in the hands of the central government in Malaysia” rather than the PAP.23

Extremist Malay nationalists, in particular then secretary-general of UMNO Syed Ja’afar Albar, reacted more strongly to the defeat.24 During one of the post-mortem meetings of SUMNO’s defeat held on 24 September 1963 in Johor Bahru, Syed vowed to “fix” Lee using “both words and fists” when he showed up in the Malaysian parliament. Other extremists made equally heated speeches during other meetings and floated allegations that the PAP had intimated the Malays to vote against SUMNO.25 They even burned an effigy of Lee at a Singapore meeting to show their displeasure.26

In response, Lee stated in his victory rally on 28 September 1963 that all parties should “get over this post-election phrase” for the benefit of Malaysia.27 He affirmed in his speech that the federal government in Kuala Lumpur was the overall authority and it was necessary to have a Malay as prime minister of Malaysia. He further noted that his party did not have the intention to challenge UMNO for power in Kuala Lumpur. Instead, the PAP aimed to cooperate with the federal government.28 However, Lee was clear that the cooperation would be “on equal terms, not that of master and servant”.29 Lee said that the PAP could help UMNO understand urban Chinese voters better than its coalition partners including the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA). According to Lee, this was something the coalition partners had failed at as they had lost ground to the opposition.30 

Although Lee’s remarks on the coalition partners drew criticism from the Tunku, he welcomed Lee’s offer of cooperation on the condition that the Singapore prime minister would appreciate the political set-up across the causeway.31 In response, Lee assured the Tunku that the PAP would not set up a branch in Kuala Lumpur. He also nominated then SUMNO leader Ahmad bin Haji Taff as one of the 13 Singapore representatives in the federal parliament to mollify the Tunku over the defeat of SUMNO.32 The gestures from both leaders appeared to mend ties between the two governments when the Tunku approved Lee’s proposal for an African “Truth Mission” in December 1963 to shore up the credentials of Malaysia among African nations.33 As a whole, the mission was to counter Indonesia’s confrontation campaign by debunking Jakarta’s allegation that Malaysia was set up as a neo-colonial entity to encircle Indonesia.34

Aftermath of the 1964 Federal General Election
However, the improved relationship between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur did not last. It made a turn after the PAP announced on 1 March 1964 that it would be sending a team of 11 candidates to participate in the 1964 General Election in Malaysia.35 The decision was made by the PAP central executive committee while Lee was on a Truth Mission in Africa. Initially, Lee had reservations about endorsing the central committee’s decision because he had verbally agreed not to contest in Malaysia in exchange for the Tunku’s promise not to contest in Singapore.36 However, since the Tunku had contested through the Singapore Alliance in the 1963 Singapore General Election, Lee felt that he was no longer bound by the agreement and decided to support the central committee’s decision.37

The PAP only won one seat in the election, and the winning PAP candidate and the rest of the Singapore representatives were subsequently branded as opposition in the federal parliament. The Tunku also offered to make Lee the leader of the opposition,38 but Lee declined. In Lee’s first post-election speech in the federal parliament, he noted that Kuala Lumpur’s communal approach to politics might not be sustainable in promoting racial unity in the long-term, and should open up to the PAP for new values to better integrate the races.39 The Tunku made it clear to Lee that the PAP government should confine its role to Singapore and devote its attention to turning Singapore into “the New York of South East Asia”. In exchange, the Tunku assured Lee that his coalition partners would stay out of Singapore.40

However, the UMNO extremists wanted no such compromise as they viewed the pan-Malaysian and non-communal platform that the PAP espoused during the run-up to the 1964 election as a threat to the political approach of UMNO and its coalition partners.41 After the Malaysian election, UMNO launched a campaign to denounce Lee.42 They accused Lee and his government of mistreating the Malay community in Singapore and depriving them of the special rights their Malay counterparts in Malaysia had. Leading the campaign was Syed and other UMNO extremists such as Khir Johari, Ahmad Haji Taff and Syed Esa Almenoar.43 They used fiery language and appealed to communal and religious emotions through Malay newspapers and rallies to rile up the Malay community in Singapore.44 For instance, during a meeting on 12 July 1964 at the New Star cinema in Pasir Panjang, Syed made a provocative speech that saw the crowd shouting “Crush Lee” and “Kill Lee”.45 The tense atmosphere created by the smear campaign eventually led to the outbreak of two communal riots in Singapore on 21 July 1964 and 3 September 1964.46

Although the riots were quickly quashed by authorities, they had undermined the racial stability in both Singapore and Malaysia. Appalled by the communal strife, Lee and the Tunku gave separate statements calling for unity. Leaders from the PAP and UMNO also visited the affected areas appealing for calm. The Tunku suggested that the riots had been instigated by Indonesian agents, while Lee promised that the incidents would be properly investigated.47 

On 25 September 1964, the Tunku and Lee agreed on a two-year truce.48 The truce was a general agreement between the PAP and the Alliance party to avoid raising any sensitive issues regarding the respective positions of the communities in Malaysia and to relegate party differences to the background.49 When announcing the truce, both parties also agreed to make the greatest effort in mobilising the people in Malaysia against the Indonesian confrontation campaign.50

Persisting differences
The truce, however, only lasted a month. On 25 October 1964, UMNO member Khir Johari went to Singapore to open five new UMNO branches and announced plans to reorganise the Singapore Alliance so that it could defeat the PAP in the next Singapore general election.51 In response, PAP Chairman Toh Chin Chye declared on 1 November 1964 that PAP was also to be reorganised so that it could “get at Malaya”.52

Sparks also flew on economic and financial matters between then Malaysian Finance Minister Tan Siew Sin and then Singapore Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee when the former announced the Malaysian budget during the federal parliament on 25 November 1964.53 The budget, which aimed to raise M$147 million through a series of new taxes to redress the federal deficit of M$543 million, would require Singapore to contribute 39.8 percent towards the yield of the new taxes even though its population was just 17 percent of the total population of Malaysia. This arrangement was described by Goh as “incongruous”.54

The new taxes came in the form of a turnover tax, a payroll tax and taxes on diesel and sugar. Lee warned that the taxes on turnover and payroll might “work freak and inequitable results” on businesses and discourage the growth of labour-intensive industries.55 As for taxes on diesel and sugar, Lee charged that it was an attempt by the federal government to squeeze the poor.56 Lee also lambasted Tan for not consulting his government in advance on the proposed taxes.57 The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) released a statement in Singapore describing the budget as “ridiculous” and stating that the proposed taxes would certainly affect the wages of workers.58 It also organised a rally to protest the anti-labour provisions of the budget on 14 December 1964 despite the federal government warning them not to do so.59

In response, the Malaysian finance minister threatened to increase Singapore’s revenue contribution to the federal government from 40 to 60 percent.60 He also accused the PAP of using “mob passions” against the turnover and payroll taxes and inciting the populace to violent action to bring down the federal government.61 At the same time, Tan exhorted Singapore to fall in line with Malaysia’s boycott of South African imports and announced the federal government’s decision to close the Bank of China in Singapore.62 The announcement drew the ire of Singapore’s then Minister for Culture S. Rajaratnam who retorted that the bank’s closure had been “thrashed out” based on the “personal likes or dislikes of the Malaysian Finance Minister”.63

Heading towards separation
Amid the repeated feuds between the federal government and Singapore, the Tunku began reconsidering Singapore’s position in the Federation. In December 1964, he mooted the idea of having a looser constitutional arrangement that would grant Singapore complete autonomy, except for foreign affairs and defence, in exchange for Singapore’s seats in the federal parliament.64 The negotiation, which was conducted in secret, continued in January 1965 but stalled a month later over questions of whether Singapore should be represented in the federal parliament and whether it should be granted full autonomy over its internal security.65 Other issues under discussion included whether Singapore should have full control over its finances and powers of taxation, as well as of the closure of PAP branches in Malaysia and UMNO branches in Singapore. In addition, the British were not entirely supportive of the discussions for a rearrangement of the Federation.66

Beyond the negotiation, there was little improvement in the relationship between the Alliance and PAP. In fact, after the Alliance made a series of announcements in January 1965 to strengthen their branches in Singapore, it seemed clear that the Alliance was aiming to unseat the PAP rather than work with them.67 Further, there were more fundamental clashes between the finance ministers of Singapore and Malaysia over a series of economic arrangements. For example, the federal government was slow in issuing pioneer industry permits to prospective investors in Singapore – of 69 pioneer permit applications the Economic Development Board (EDB) submitted, only two were approved by the federal government.68 Tan also attempted to take over Singapore’s textile quota to establish a garment industry in Malaysia. Although this move did not materialise, it was clear to Goh that the federal government was not interested in creating the common market that would realise the import-substitution manufacturing strategy of the EDB.69

To fight the constant extremist politicking and counter the restrictions imposed by the federal government, the PAP decided to create an opposition front in the Federation.70 The front would campaign for a “Malaysian Malaysia”, which would define the nation-state on a non-communal basis as opposed to the Alliance’s communal, or “Malay Malaysian”, approach.71 To create the bloc, PAP went into discussions with non-Malay parties in the Peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah, resulting in the establishment of the Malaysian Solidarity Convention in May 1965.72

The convening of the Malaysian Solidarity Convention led to an open confrontation between the PAP and the federal government.73 Already angered by the criticisms Lee had made in Australia and New Zealand in March 1965 about the sustainability of UMNO’s communal approach to politics, the ruling Alliance perceived the convention as a “naked attempt” by Lee to pit Sarawak and Sabah against Kuala Lumpur and seize power for himself.74

Tensions came to a head when the federal parliament met on 25 May 1965.75 During the session, leaders from UMNO and its coalition partners launched a series of tirades against Lee. They accused the PAP of being pro-communist and anti-Malay,76 and said that the PAP’s economic policy was to create a “Chinese hegemony in the economic field”, thus establishing “an all-powerful Chinese capitalist class” against a class of Malay labourers.77 Lee rejected these claims and highlighted that granting special rights to the Malays or simply having Malay as the national language would not bring the Malays out of poverty. Instead, they needed practical programmes in the fields of agriculture and education.78

Lee’s speech was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” as the Tunku felt that Lee had brought up issues that “destabilised the equilibrium” of federal politics.79 During his trip to London to attend the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference in June 1965, the Tunku decided that removing Singapore from the Federation was the only recourse. He communicated this to his deputy, Tun Abdul Razak, who was instructed to sound out the senior Malaysian ministers and lay the groundwork for separation.80

The separation

The week leading to 9 August 1965 was a busy time for both Singapore and Malaysian leaders as separation had become a certainty.81 Negotiations were, however, conducted in secrecy. In Singapore, not only were civil servants and permanent secretaries kept in the dark, but some senior PAP cabinet members, most notably Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye and Culture Minister S. Rajaratnam, were also not informed. Leading the negotiations for Singapore was then Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee, and for Malaysia, Tun Razak.82 Razak was aiming to convene a federal parliament sitting on 9 August and was pushing for the legal paperwork for the release of Singapore to be tabled at that session.83 In Singapore, Lee asked then Law Minister E. W. Barker to draft the separation agreement at the end of July, along with other legal documents such as the Proclamation of Independence.84

As the 9 August deadline neared, Goh and Barker made arrangements to travel to Kuala Lumpur to finalise the separation, arriving quietly on 6 August. Lee, who was in Cameron Highlands, left for Kuala Lumpur and also arrived on 6 August to study and approve the separation documents. Thereafter, the separation draft prepared by Barker occupied the attention of five men – Razak, Malaysian Attorney-General Kadir Yusof, Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Ismail bin Dato Abdul Rahman, Barker and Goh. The final version, which included a few amendments and insertions, were typed late that night and signed by Goh, Barker, Razak, Ismail, Malaysian Finance Minister Tan Siew Sin and Malaysian Minister for Works V. T. Sambanthan well after midnight.85

After Lee was shown the final signed separation documents by Barker, he asked Toh and Rajaratnam, who were in Singapore, to meet him the following morning. Arriving in Kuala Lumpur separately on 7 August, both Toh and Rajaratnam were particularly distraught when Lee broke the news to them and were not willing to sign the agreement.86 However, a letter from the Tunku to Toh stressing his irrevocable decision – that there was “absolutely no other way out” – left them with no choice.87 Realising that their persistence to pursue the status quo could mean bloodshed, both Toh and Rajaratnam reluctantly signed.88

Lee returned to Singapore on 8 August to get the separation agreement signed by the rest of his cabinet members. Two other individuals assisted with the task of meeting the 9 August deadline: Police Commissioner John Le Cain, to ensure law and order, and head of the Singapore Civil Service Stanley Stewart, to prepare and print the special gazette and Proclamation of Independence notices.89 The Government Printing Office (GPO) had to recall its staff overnight and, to keep the lid on the separation, Stewart locked the GPO.90 Encoded messages on the separation were also dispatched to British, Australian and New Zealand prime ministers.91

On 8 August in Kuala Lumpur, things also moved swiftly as Razak had to ensure that everything was ready for the Tunku’s address to the federal parliament the following day. He would move a bill to amend the constitution that would provide for Singapore’s departure from the Federation. Razak was also waiting for the fully signed separation agreement from Singapore to dispel notions that Singapore had been expelled from Malaysia. Hence, he only shared the purpose of the 9 August parliament session with the chief ministers, mentri besars and state rulers in the Federation after he received the agreement bearing the signatures of the entire Singapore cabinet.92

The birth of Singapore
The proclamation declaring Singapore’s independence was announced on Radio Singapore at 10 am on 9 August 1965.93 The Tunku simultaneously announced the separation to the federal parliament in Kuala Lumpur. He then moved a resolution to enact the Constitution of Malaysia (Singapore Amendment) Bill, 1965, that would allow Singapore to leave Malaysia and become an independent and sovereign state. The bill was passed with a 126-0 vote and given the royal assent by the end of the day.94 The press conference called by Lee at 4.30 pm was broadcast on Singapore television.95 During the press conference, Lee explained why the separation had been inevitable despite his long-standing belief in the merger, and called on the people to remain resolute and calm. Filled with emotion, his eyes brimming with tears, Singaporeans caught a glimpse of Lee’s “moment of anguish”.96

Many rallied behind the news of the separation with relief although the manner of its announcement came as a shock and was initially greeted with disappointment and regret.97

After Singapore became independent, Malaysia, together with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, was among the first nations to recognise its sovereignty. Malaysia also sponsored Singapore’s membership in the United Nations and the Commonwealth.98


Lim Tin Seng

1. SingaporeGovernment gazette. Extraordinary (G.N. 1824) (Singapore: [s.n.], 9 August 1962), 2184–185 (Call no. RCLOS 959.57 SGG); “Agreement Relating to the Separation of Singapore from Malaysia as an Independent and Sovereign State. Signed at Kuala Lumpur on 7 August 1965,” United Nations – Treaty Series, no. 8206 (1 June 1966), 90–102.
2. Chan Heng Chee, “Singapore’s Foreign Policy, 1965–1968,” Journal of Southeast Asian History 10, no. 1 (March 1969) 179. (From JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website)
3. Lee Kuan Yew, “Text of a Talk, Received as a Voicecast from London and Broadcast by Radio Singapore,” speech, 9 July 1963, transcript, Ministry of Culture. (From National Archives of Singapore document no. lky19630709)
4. Felix Abisheganadan, “Singapore is Out,” Straits Times, 10 August 1965, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Singapore, Malaysia: Agreement Concluded Between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore (Singapore: Govt. Printer, 1963), 228–232. (Call no. RSING 342.595 SIN)
6. “Singapore 15 Seats,” Straits Times, 17 November 1961, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
7. Daljit Singh and V. T. Arasu, eds. Singapore: An Illustrated History, 1941–1984 (Singapore: Information Division, Ministry of Culture, 1984), 221. (Call no. RSING 959.57 SIN-[HIS]).
8. Lee, “Text of a Talk.”
9. Lee, “Text of a Talk.”
10. Albert Lau, A Moment of Anguish: Singapore in Malaysia and the Politics of Disengagement (Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, 2003), 14. (Call no. RSING 959.5705 LAU-[HIS])
11. Tan Tai Yong, Creating ‘Greater Malaysia’: Decolonization and the Politics of Merger (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008), 189 (Call no. RSING 959.5051 TAN); Lau, Moment of Anguish, 14–17.
12. Lee Kuan Yew, “Malaysia Solidarity Day Mass Rally and March-Past on the Padang,” speech, 31 August 1963, transcript, Ministry of Culture. (National Archives of Singapore document no. lky19630831); “A Great Day for Malaya’s Partners,” Straits Times, 31 August 1983, 1; Wee Kim Wee, “Sabah, Sarawak Get Home Rule,” Straits Times, 1 September 1963, 1; “Singapore’s Claim ‘Not Valid’,” Straits Times, 4 September 1963, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
13. “Singapore’s Claim ‘Not Valid’.”
14. Lee Kuan Yew, The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore: Times Editions, 2000), 499 (Call no. RSING 959.57 LEE-[HIS]); “A Great Day for Malaya’s Partners.”
15. “Sabah, Sarawak Get Home Rule”; “Up Goes the Flag,” Straits Times, 17 September 1963, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
16. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 21.
17. “Polling on 21 Sept,” Straits Times, 13 September 1963, 1; “PAP Landslide: Barisan is Hammered,” Straits Times, 22 September 1963, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
18. Polling on 21 Sept”; Lau, Moment of Anguish, 41; “PAP Landslide.”
19. “PAP Landslide.”
20. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 65–66.
21. “Defeat in S'pore Shocks Tengku.” Straits Times, 23 September 1963, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
22. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 67.
23. “Tengku in Singapore Calls for Unity,” Straits Times, 28 September 1963, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
24. Kwa Chong Guan, Derek Heng and Tan Tai Yong, Singapore, a 700-Year History: From Early Emporium to World City (Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, 2009), 175. (Call no. RSING 959.5703 KWA-[HIS]); Lau, Moment of Anguish, 66.
25. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 67.
26. Lee, Singapore Story, 514.
27. Lee Kuan Yew, “The PAP Victory Rally”, speech, City Hall Steps, 28 September 1963, transcript, Ministry of Culture. (From National Archives of Singapore document no. lky19630928)
28. Lee, “PAP Victory Rally.”
29. Lee, “PAP Victory Rally.”
30. Lee, “PAP Victory Rally.”i
31. “Unity Pledge,” Straits Times, 30 September 1963, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
32. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 70–71.
33. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 74–76.
34. “'Mission of Truth' Off to Africa Tonight,” Straits Times, 20 January 1964, 24. (From NewspaperSG)
35. Roderick Pestana, “PAP to Contest,” Straits Times, 1 March 1964, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
36. Lee, Singapore Story, 540.
37. Lee, Singapore Story, 540.
38. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 134.
39. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 134.
40. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 134–35.
41. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 135.
42. Kwa, Heng and Tan,  Singapore, a 700-Year History, 178; Lau, Moment of Anguish, 135.
43. Kwa, Heng and Tan, Singapore, a 700-Year History, 176.
44. Kwa, Heng and Tan, Singapore, a 700-Year History, 177.
45. Kwa, Heng and Tan, Singapore, a 700-Year History, 177.
46. Kwa, Heng and Tan, Singapore, a 700-Year History, 177; Constance Mary Turnbull, A History of Modern Singapore, 1819–2005 (Singapore: NUS Press, 2009), 289–91; Lee, Singapore Story, 562; Lau, Moment of Anguish, 289–90.
47. “Tengku to Take Steps to 'Cool Down' People,” Straits Times, 28 July 1964, 1; “There Must be a Post-Mortem on the Disturbances, Says Premier Lee,” Straits Times, 5 August 1964, 20.
48. Bala Chandran, “Two Year Truce: Interests of Nation Above All,” Straits Times, 27 September 1964, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
49. Chandran, “Two Year Truce.”
50. Chandran, “Two Year Truce.
51. “Truce? What Truce? – Khir,” Straits Times, 28 October 1964, 11; “4–in–1 Shake-Up,” Straits Times, 26 October 1964, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
52. “Shake-Up in PAP 'To Get At Malaya', Says Toh,” Straits Times, 2 November 1964, 11. (From NewspaperSG)
53. Felix Abisheganadan, “Shock Taxes,” Straits Times, 26 November 1964, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
54. Singapore. Legislative Assembly. “Supply Bill,” vol. 1 of Debates: Official Report, 16 December 1964, cols. 4087–08. (Call no. RCLOS 328.5957 SIN)
55. Singapore. Legislative Assembly. “Supply Bill,” vol. 23 of Debates: Official Report, 30 November 1964, cols. 3073–74. (Call no. RCLOS 328.5957 SIN)
56. Singapore. Legislative Assembly. “Supply Bill,” vol. 24 of Debates: Official Report, 1 December 1964, cols. 3216. (Call no. RCLOS 328.5957 SIN)
57. Singapore. Legislative Assembly. “Supply Bill,” cols. 3061–62.
58. “NTUC: The Payroll Tax Will Hit Economy,” Straits Times, 2 December 1964, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
59. “Minister Speaks at Illegal Rally,” Straits Times, 15 December 1964, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
60. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 215–16.
61. “Radio War: Tan Accuses,” Straits Times, 31 December 1964, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
62. “Bank of China in S’pore to be Closed,” Straits Times, 30 December 1964, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
63. “S'pore Govt Opposes Closure of Bank,” Straits Times, 31 December 1964, 16. (From NewspaperSG)
64. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 218; Lee, Singapore Story, 581.
65. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 224–26.
66. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 218; Lee, Singapore Story, 590–91.
67. Lau, Moment of Anguish, 231.
68. Lee, Singapore Story, 600.
69. Lee, Singapore Story, 600–01.
70. Kwa, Heng and Tan, Singapore, a 700-Year History, 179; Lau, Moment of Anguish, 227–41.
71. Kwa, Heng and Tan, Singapore, a 700-Year History, 179–80.
72. Kwa, Heng and Tan, Singapore, a 700-Year History, 179–80; Lau, Moment of Anguish, 227–41.
73. Turnbull, History of Modern Singapore, 292.
74. Turnbull, History of Modern Singapore, 292.
75. Kwa, Heng and Tan, Singapore, a 700-Year History, 180.
76. Malaysia. Dewan Rakyat, “Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s Speech,” vol 1 of Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 26 May 1965, col. 80. (Call no. RCLOS 328.595 MAL)
77. Malaysia. Dewan Rakyat, “Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s Speech,” 81.
78. Malaysia. Dewan Rakyat, “Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s Speech,” vol. 2 of Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 27 May 1965, cols. 553–57. (Call no. RCLOS 328.595 MAL)
79. Lee, Singapore Story, 615.
80. Leslie Fong, “Week Before Separation,” Straits Times, 9 August 1990, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
81. Fong, “Week Before Separation.”
82. Turnbull, History of Modern Singapore, 293–94.
83. Abisheganaden, “Singapore is Out”; Lee, Singapore Story, 630–31.
84. Abisheganaden, “Singapore is Out”; Lee, Singapore Story, 631–32.
85. “Which Split the Nation,” Straits Times, 19 September 1998, 51 (From NewspaperSG); Abisheganaden, “Singapore is Out.”
86. Lee, Singapore Story, 638–41.
87. Singh and Arasu, eds. Illustrated History, 287–89; Fong, “Week Before Separation.”
88. Fong, “Week Before Separation.”
89. Fong, “Week Before Separation”; Turnbull, History of Modern Singapore, 295.
90. “S'pore and Malaysia Part Ways,” Straits Times, 31 December 1999, 3 (From NewspaperSG); Fong, “Week Before Separation.”
91. “S'pore and Malaysia Part Ways”; Turnbull, History of Modern Singapore, 295.
92. Fong, “Week Before Separation.”
93. Turnbull, History of Modern Singapore, 295.
94. Lee, Singapore Story, 648–49; Turnbull, History of Modern Singapore, 295.
95. Abisheganaden, “Singapore is Out”; “S'pore and Malaysia Part Ways”; Lee,  Singapore Story, 648–49.
96. Singh and Arasu, eds. Illustrated History, 289–91.
97. “Hearts are Together,” Straits Times, 15 August 1965, 6; “Foes and Friends,” Straits Times, 11 August 1965, 10. (From NewspaperSG) 
98. Abisheganaden, “Singapore is Out.”

Further resources
Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj, Looking Back: Monday Musings and Memories (Kuala Lumpur: Pustaka Antara, 1977). (Call no. RSING 959.5 ABD)

Alex Josey, Lee Kuan Yew: The Crucial Years (Singapore: Times Book International, 1980). (Call no. RSING 959.57092 JOS)

Emma Sadka, “Singapore and the Federation: Problems of Merger,” Asian Survey 1, no. 11, (January 1962) 17–25. (From JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website)

Emma Sadka, “Malaysia: The Political Background,” in The Political Economy of Independent Malaya: A Case Study in Development, ed. T. H. Silcock and E. K. Fisk (Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, 1963), 28–58. (Call no. RCLOS 330.9595 SIL)

John Drysdale, Singapore: Struggle for Success (Singapore: Times Books International, 1984). (Call no. RSING 959.57 DRY)

Michael Leifer, "Singapore in Malaysia: The Politics of Federation," Journal of Southeast Asian History 6, no. 2  (September 1965) 54–70. (From JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website)

Mohamed Noordin Sopiee, From Malayan Union to Singapore Separation: Political Unification in the Malaysia Region, 1945-65 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: University Malaya Press, 2005). (Call no. RSING 959.5 MOH)

Nancy McHenry Fletcher, The Separation of Singapore from Malaysia (N.Y., Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1969). (Call no. RCLOS 959.5707 FLE)

Pang Cheng Lian, “The People’s Action Party, 1954–1963,” Journal of Southeast Asian History 10, no. 1 (March 1969) 142–54. (From JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website)

Tan Tai Yong, Creating ‘Greater Malaysia’: Decolonization and the Politics of Merger (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008). (Call no. RSING 959.5051 TAN)

T. E. Silcock, “Singapore in Malaya,” Far Eastern Survey 29, no. 3 (March 1960) 33–39. (From JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website)

The information in this article is valid as at August 2019 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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