Times, Aug 9, 1965
What I am about to announce to this
House will no doubt come as a big surprise and
shock to members. In fact, to me and to many
members, it is the most painful and heartbreaking
news I have had to break.
I consider it a misfortune for me to have to
make this announcement. In all the 10 years of my
leadership of this House I have never had a duty
so unpleasant as this to perform.
The announcement which I am making concerns
the separation of Singapore from the rest of the
The reasons for this have been many. Since the
formation of Malaysia, and this year in
particular, there have been so many differences
with the Singapore Government and these
differences have taken many forms: so much so
that it has now come to a breaking point.
I cant find any way out except the
course of action which I am forced to take.
I gave it plenty of thought while lying in bed
in London and also when convalescing before my
return to this country.
I conveyed my thoughts to my friend and
colleague, Tun Abdul Razak, who had sought to
find an understanding with the leaders of
Singapore but, I am afraid, to no avail.
It appeared that as soon as one issue was
resolved another cropped up. Where a patch was
made here, a tear appeared elsewhere, and where
one hole was plugged, other leaks appeared.
So it does seem completely impossible to
arrive at a solution whereby we can hope to pull
along together and to work together in the
interest and for the common good of Malaysia.
We tried everything possible to avoid the
separation of Singapore from the rest of
Malaysia. In the end we found that there were
only two courses of action open to us.
No.1 was to take repressive measures against
the Singapore Government for the behaviour of
some of its leaders:
No.2 was to sever all connections with a State
Government that had ceased to give even a measure
of loyalty to the Central Government.
The position of the Central Government not
only at home but, worse still, abroad has been
mocked on many instances.
It was clear some action had to be taken. It
is odious for us to take repressive measures
against the Singapore Government, for such action
is repulsive to our concept of parliamentary
Even then it would not have solved the problem
before us because, as I said just now, there is
not one problem but many, and one that gave us
the most concern was the communal issue.
This is the matter which concerns me most
because the peace and happiness of the people in
this country depend on goodwill and understanding
of the various races for one another.
Without it this nation will break up, with
consequential disaster which we have seen and
read about happening elsewhere.
We feel that this repressive action against a
few would not therefore solve the problem because
the seed of this contempt, fear and hatred has
been sown in Singapore, and even if we try to
prevent its growth, I feel that after a time it
will sprout up a more virulent form.
The thousands of students abroad have been fed
with all kinds propaganda against the Central
Malaysian Malaysia in particular suggests that
the Malaysia we have now is bad for it gives all
the advantages to one race while depriving others
of their rightful place in our society.
Foreign correspondents who approached me on
this subject while I was in England and France
were under the wrong impression that the Malay -
dominated Central Government had not been fair to
others, that there was discrimination against the
Chinese in all fields and in all matters.
One even went so far as to suggest that the
closing of the Bank of China was a move against
Poor stallholders would have to close down
their stalls because they would be unable to get
the food they needed from China.
It was suggested that our quarrel with the PAP
was due to the fact that we are afraid of the far
more advanced and enlightened socialist
Government of Singapore.
They appeared incredulous when I informed them
that there are socialist parties in the mainland
and other parties who are opposed to our party
and that the PAP contested our election without
success and that the only party that we ban is
the Communist Party.
I also informed them that most of these
parties are made up mainly of Chinese whose
number well exceeds that of Mr Lee Kuan
Yews, and to suggest therefore that Mr Lee
Kuan Yew represents the Chinese and at the same
time represents the only left wing party in the
country is wrong.
There appeared also in the foreign Press from
time to time articles and reports which gave an
entirely wrong picture of this country to the
They implied that any action that we take to
put a stop to the subversive activities of
enemies and traitors as attempts to victimise the
Apart from the closure of the Bank of China,
the resettlement of the Chinese in Sarawak is one
of the examples I can give of criticism directed
In short, while they are trying to build up
the image of Lee Kuan Yew they at the same time
are belittling us.
While in London I had to interview pressmen
representing some of the leading papers and
magazines and explain to them what the position
is, but we cant do that all the time.
We want to be allowed to be left alone and to
be given the moral support to bolster our courage
against the Communist threat and Indonesian
We consider ourselves as one of the nations in
South-East Asia that has managed not only to
fight our enemies but also to provide for our
We are in fact, one of the countries that has
made a real success of our independence.
While we have to spend so much money in
strengthening our defences, we have at the same
time managed to provide, livelihood, education
and other services which have made this country
happy and prosperous and the people on the whole
There has also been an inclination on the part
of some countries to look upon the Prime Minister
of Singapore as an equal partner in the
Government of Malaysia and to encourage him
indirectly to assert his authority and this has
made the situation rather awkward for us.
In a nation there can be only one national
The illustration which I saw in one of the
British papers depicting as cartoon of Lee Kuan
Yew and myself over the map of Malaysia and with
the caption "too many cooks" is to the
This is a situation which we must avoid.
There can only be one Prime Minister for the
nation and so the best course we can take is to
allow Lee Kuan Yew to be the Prime Minister of
independent Singapore in the full sense of the
word which otherwise he would not.
I was hoping to make Singapore the New York of
Malaysia and had begged the politicians in
Singapore to give thought to the fulfilment of
In order to do that it is necessary to place
the interest of Singapore above that of their own
Unfortunately, political rivalry and political
activities and enthusiasm of the various
politicians in Singapore had made this
They lost sight of the importance of Singapore
as one of the most important ports in South-East
My dream is shattered and so we come now to
the parting of the ways.
In the matter of finance too it has been
extremely difficult to obtain Singapores
support. Criticisms levelled at the Central
Government by the Singapore representatives at
the last Budget meeting of this Parliament are
still fresh in members memories.
Now we find we have reached a stage where it
is difficult to agree on anything at all however
trivial the matter may be.
There is disagreement as to the quantum of
Singapores financial contribution to the
Members are aware that there has been a sharp
rise in defence and security expenditure and the
Central Government felt compelled to ask for
It is only right that it should bear a
legitimate share of the countrys burden,
but Singapore refused to make this contribution
except in so far as Singapore defence was
Under Annex J to the Malaysia Agreement,
Singapore was bound to contribute for a five-year
period by way of loans a sum of $150 million to
the Central Government for economic development
in Sabah and Sarawak.
Part of this loan was to be free of interest.
But this loan has not been given.
There have been bickerings over the amount of
interest to be paid and Singapore refused to
trust the Bank Negara to determine the current
market rates for long-term loans in the
Federation, but instead proposed a World Bank
This would have taken a considerable time to
reach a decision. In the meantime the development
of these two states is absolutely urgent.
These are among other troubles we have had
with Singapore which as time goes on the
political trouble which is simmering today might
blow up into something extremely serious.
On the other hand our relationship with Sabah
and Sarawak has been excellent. We are desirous
of carrying out extensive development programmes
in these two states, because we realise that
under colonial rule the development in the two
states had been neglected.
We know that they have joined us of their own
accord and on their own free will in order to
enjoy not only the independence and prestige
which freedom brings them but also to enjoy the
other fruits of independence.
They fit into the pattern of administration
with the rest of the States in Malaysia so
admirably well and unless we can carry out some
development, however small it may be, their hope
and trust in us will unevitably be lessened.
But with the money we have to pour out to
defend ourselves against Indonesian aggression,
it was expected that Singapore would co-operate.
Unfortunately, they refused.
The people of Sabah and Sarawak live in an
area where Indonesian aggression is most strong
Since Indonesia started its confrontation
against Malaysia, the people of Sabah and Sarawak
have suffered more casualties than people in
other parts of this country.
In spite of that they feel no fear or sense of
frustration but continue to play their part as
true, patriotic and loyal citizens of Malaysia.
The people in the mainland admire them for
their courage and no word is sufficient to
describe our thanks and admiration for them.
I hope that the breakaway with Singapore will
not cause them undue worry or concern, and that
in the circumstances they will agree that the
course of action we are taking is the only one
open to us in order to maintain peace and harmony
in Malaysia and at the same time to obtain the
closest co-operation with Singapore.
Those citizens of Singapore who have been
strong in their support for Malaysia I hope will
not feel that they have been let down.
I can assure them that in my discussions with
the Prime Minister of Singapore we have agreed
that they would be given the fullest of
protection and amenities as given to other
On the other hand if they feel strongly that
they wish to evacuate and come to the Federation,
I have arranged with the Mentri Besar of Johore
to reserve quite an extensive area of land in the
State to enable them to live in the Federation.
We will do all we can to make them feel
comfortable and welcome. I pray that they will
not lose their sense of balance and do something
which can only bring about unhappiness to
themselves, their families and ourselves.
This is the last thing we would wish to see
happen and, considering the peace of Malaysia as
a whole, we are convinced that there is no other
way out but to do what we think is best.
Things are getting worse every day.
Irresponsible utterances are made by both sides
which, reading between the lines is tantamount to
challenge and if trouble were to break out
innocent people will be sacrificed at the altar
of belligerent, heartless and irresponsible
trouble-makers of this country.
So I believe that the second course of action
which we are taking, the breakaway is the best
and the right one, sad as it may be.
We had pledged to form Malaysia with
Singapore, but having given it trial we found
that if we persisted in going on with it, in the
long run there would be more trouble to Malaysia
than Singapore is worth to us.
The separation will be made on the
understanding that we shall co-operate closely on
matters of defence, trade and commerce.
This matter was discussed with the Government
of Singapore, as a result of which we have drawn
up an agreement which sets out the terms agreed
upon and contains those matters which I mentioned
This agreement has been signed by selected
members of the Central Government and those of
the State Government of Singapore.
The agreement is to grant Singapore
independence and establish it as a sovereign
State for the benefit of the members, I would
like to refer to some of the clauses in the
Article V reads:-
The parties hereto will
enter into a treaty on external defence and
mutual assistance providing that:
The parties here to will
establish a joint defence council for purposes of
external defence and mutual assistance;
The Government of
Malaysia will afford to the Government of
Singapore such assistance as may be considered
reasonable and adequate for external defence and
in consideration thereof the Government of
Singapore will contribute from its own armed
forces such units thereof as may be considered
reasonable and adequate for such defence;
The Government of
Singapore will afford to the Government of
Malaysia the right to continue to maintain the
bases and other facilities used by its military
forces within Singapore and will permit the
Government of Malaysia to make such use of these
bases and facilities as the Government of
Malaysia may consider necessary for the purpose
of external defence;
Each party will
undertake not to enter into any treaty or
agreement with a foreign country which may be
detrimental to the independence and defence of
the territory of the other party.
Article VI provides for the economic
arrangement between the two countries. The two
territories will have to depend on one another,
more so for Singapore.
Talks will be held to provide facilities for
trade and commerce between the two territories.
It is not possible for me to say any more than
this at this stage.
The businessmen of these two territories will
have to rely on us to do what we can to give them
all the help and facilities that will help to
maintain commercial and trade relations between
the two territories.
Article VI reads as follows:-
The parties hereto will
on and after Singapore Day co-operate in economic
affairs for their mutual benefit and interest and
for this purpose may set up such joint committees
or council, as may from time to time be agreed
In respect of Article
VII the agreement expressly rescinded as from
today, August 9, Annex J relating to the
establishment of a Common Market and Annex K
relating to broadcasting and television.
In Article VIII, which is rather important, we
agreed that the liabilities of the Central
Government with respect to any debts or
liabilities incurred by Singapore since Malaysia
Day will from today exonerate us from further
This article reads:-
"With regard to any
agreement entered into between the Government of
Singapore and any other country of corporate body
which has been guaranteed by the Government of
Malaysia, the Government of Singapore hereby
undertakes to negotiate with such country or
corporate body to enter into a fresh agreement
releasing the Government of Malaysia of its
liabilities and obligations under the said
guarantee, and the Government of Singapore hereby
undertake to indemnify the Government of Malaysia
fully for any liabilities, obligation or damage
which it may suffer as a result of the said
In order to give effect to the agreement and
the proclamation of Independence of the State of
Singapore it is necessary to amend the Federal
Constitution and the Malaysia Act so that both
the Constitution and the Act shall cease to have
effect in Singapore except on those matters
specifically provided for in clauses 6 and 13 of
This will be presented to this House in due
Another matter which is of great concern to
the people who live in Singapore and Malaysia is
their movements between the two territories.
It is obvious that with different Governments
some control will have to be exercised in order
to restrict the movements of the people of these
Until the regulations have been formulated, it
is agreed that people should have free movement.
It will be necessary perhaps to provide them
with some form of travelling document, such as
border pass, for short visits and passports for a
But until this arrangement can be finalised,
it is only right and fair for the people of these
territories to carry on as they are now.
I pray that Singapore and the people of
Singapore will enjoy peace in that island.
Whatever we can do to help them, I can assure
them that we will be only too glad to do. In
diversity I am convinced we can find unity or in
ordinary every day parlance, absence will make
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