was the personality and dynamism of Prime
Minister Lee Kuan Yew which finally influenced
Tengku Abdul Rahman to accept Singapore into
Malaysia in September 1963.
former Malaysian Premier had twice rejected
merger overtures from the two previous Chief
David Marshall and Mr. Lim
Tengku who retired as Prime Minister in 1970,
said this in his column in The Star, a Penang
tabloid on Monday.
Tengku, who is now 74, was in a reminiscent mood
and wrote that all in all, he had come out
"unscathed to tell the tale," he said.
Singapore's merger with Malaysia, he said he
remembered the days when Mr. Marshall was Chief
was keen to join Malaya, but I knew he was not a
Chinese, clever and outstanding though he may be
as a lawyer and politician.
"Not being a Chinese he would not
hold power for long in a Chinese dominated state,
and if Singapore must join Malaya, it must have
at its head a strong leader with strong
Lim Yew Hock succeeded Mr. Marshall as Chief
Tengku wrote: "The next man, one who is a
close friend of mine and later became a Muslim,
Haji Omar Lim Yew Hock, was also anxious for
"Though a Chinese, he had not the
strong character or personality which would
ensure for himself the support of the Chinese
population. So I refused to accept merger with
about the eventual merger, the Tengku said:
"Then Mr. Lee Kuan Yew came on the scene
with his personal dynamism and worked himself
into my confidence.
"I knew this was the man who could
hold power, so I accepted Singapore into
Malaysia. He has held his position and managed
Singapore with admirable success.
"Whatever may be his faults, he
had proved himself one of the worthy leaders of
First published in The
Straits Times on 9 February 1977.
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