The next few years saw an intense struggle within
the PAP as the leftist elements in the party tried to
When they failed, members such as Dr Lee Siew Choh
and Lim Chin Siong left the party to form the Barisan
Sosialis party in August 1961.
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The struggle to see who ran Singapore went hand in
hand with attempts to win the people over. The
rivalry was especially intense in the trade unions,
which were a stronghold of the leftists.
In the schools, the left found it more and more
difficult to exert their influence over the students
as the new government initiated a series of reforms
in the education system. In protest, some Chinese
school students staged an examination boycott in
November 1961. However, it ended in failure as
parents helped their children to beat the boycott and
take the exams.
At the same time, the
government tried to get rid of the Communists and
other extremists. During Operation Coldstore in
February 1963, more than100 leftists, including Lim
Chin Siong, were arrested.
By the time Singapore joined Malaysia in September
1963, the influence of leftwing politics was on the
decline. For the first time, the PAP took on the
pro-communists in a general election. The party won
37 seats, while the Barisan Sosialis only managed to
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