Singapore: Independent or Banished?

2016-08-09 Tue

Independence is a powerful word. Especially to those who have fought hard to gain it. Almost all the countries in the world launched an extensive fight to be free from the tyrannical power over their head.

However, Singapore is an exception. On 9th August 1965, Singapore was expelled from Malay Federation and made a free nation. This is the one and only case in the world where a country becomes free involuntarily.

Singapore’s modern history began in the early nineteenth century, when Stamford Raffles, a British administrator based in Java, chose to develop the island as a trading post for the East India Company. Singapore, along with two other trading ports on the Malay Peninsula— Penang and Malacca later formed a wealthy British colony.

After the World War II recommendation to establish partial self-government for Singapore came. The People’s Action Party (PAP) was established under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew. The PAP swept the elections held in May 1959, and Lee Kuan Yew was installed as the first prime minister, making Malayasia a free state.

Between 1963 and 1965, Singapore was an integral part of the Federation of Malaysia. However, Singapore did not achieve the economic progress it had hoped for, and political tensions between Chinese-dominated Singapore and Malay-dominated Kuala Lumpur went to the roof.

Fearing greater Singaporean dominance of the federation and further violence between the Muslim and Chinese communities, the government of Malaysia decided to separate Singapore from the federation. In August 1965 Malaysia’s parliament voted to expel Singapore from the federation. It was with tears, not joy, that Mr Lee announced the island’s independence.

Though forced, Singapore celebrates its Independence Day. A One ounce gold coin of $500 was issued to commemorate 10th Anniversary of the Singapore Freedom. This glorious day is also featured on a One Reole stamp depicting a moment in the freedom process along with “1965 - a nation was born” written at the bottom. Even the banknote of $50 depicts the First Parliament of Singapore with Lee Kuan Yew’s portrait in the middle.