Singapore

1965: Singapore splits from Malaysia

The birth of independent Singapore was sudden and dramatic.

On Aug 9, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew called a press conference where he announced the separation from the Federation of Malaysia.

"Every time we look back on this moment that we signed this agreement that severed Singapore from Malaysia, it would be a moment of anguish."

The wounds were obviously raw for the man who had fought for Singapore to be part of the bigger hinterland.

Mr Lee broke down on television, as he said: "I mean for me, it would be a moment of anguish because all my life…you see the whole of my adult life…I have believed in Malaysian Merger and the unity of the two territories. You know it's a people connected by geography, economics and ties of kinship..."

Mr Lee called on the people to remain firm and calm.

The separation was the result of deep political and economic differences between the ruling parties of Singapore and Malaysia.

The race card was also played up in bitter wrangling.

Communal tensions eventually led to racial riots in July and September 1964.

Although the differences were deep, the news was still a shock because many had backed the merger with Malaysia less than two years earlier.

Nonetheless, Singaporeans rallied behind their new leaders.

Mr Lee pledged to "make the model multiracial society...

"Ten years from now, it would be a metropolis - never fear!"

SingaporehistoryUncategorisedmalaysiaLee Kuan Yew