What did independence mean for Singapore?

The significance of Singapore’s imdependence and the peoples reactions.

The separation between Malaya and Singapore was an important and crucial step towards Singapore’s independence. The people had different reactions when they first heard about Singapore’s independence. Some were worried for Singapore as they thought Simgapore would not make it as an independent country as it has no economic resources. While some of the locals were not overly concerned about the news, they still expressed a sense of loss over the separation. Many countries were also anxious and concerened about Singapore’s ability to survive on it’s own. One of these countries was Britain which had ruled Singapore for over many years. Political leaders also had mixed reactions towards Singapore’s independence. Some saw benefits, while other saw challenges.

The challenges that Singapore has faced.

Internal and External security

Firstly, Indonesia launched a policy of the Konfrontasi against the formation of the Federation of Malaysia. Because of this, lives were killed and left many injured. Singapore only had a small defence force of its own,amd did not have any aircraft to defend its skies. Following the independence, the British government announced its plans to withdraw its military forces from Singapore. Due to this, Singapore was then vulnerable to external threats. Therefore, Singapore has established the Ministry of the Interior and Defence to protect it from threats.

Diplomatic relations with other countries.

Singapore is a country that has newly gained independence. Singapore had to cultivate relations with as many countries as possible to safeguard its independence from external threats. To gain recognition as a state, Singapore also applied for membership to imternal organisations such as the United Nations amd Common Wealth.

Economic Survival.

Singapore has absolutely no natural resources or precious minerals. Thus, it was not able to be reliant on the export of natural resources to develop its economy and provide jobs for its people. Singapore also had tense relations with its neighbours and this threatens its economy. Other than that, Malaysia has also imposed more taxes on goods after the separation. There was also the slowing down of trade due to policies implemented in other countries. These causes severe unemployment in Singapore.

Citizenship and Sense of Belonging.

Lastly but not least, Singapore had to forge a sense of belonging towards Singapore in the locals so that they are devoted into contributing to the country. However, a bulk of the amount of people in Singapore are foreigners.

Done by: Nurin, Sabrina, Justin, Ivan, Jue Cheng. CLASS: 2/6

What did independence mean for Singapore?

The significance

The separation with Malaya played an important part in making Singapore grow as an independent country.Despite the difficulties, it was a milestone as this was the first time the country had been free from rule in many years, and finally been given full authority. The separation allowed Singapore to be responsible of  her own economy, and leaders had to learn how to ensure the security of the people and instill a sense of belonging among them. When Singapore gained independence, other countries recognized her as a republic country and offered help to Singapore on friendly terms but some countries were doubtful of our survival on our own.

After the separation, the political leaders were greatly disappointed and shocked, because they had worked extremely hard for the merger and believed that despite the tension they could not split. They were also worried since Singapore had a lack of natural resources and no army. Some citizens shared the same feelings of utter shock and disbelief at the separation,and felt that Singapore had no hope. They were also saddened, because they could no longer stay in close contact with family in Malaysia. On the other hand people not affected by the separation had no reaction to it.



Singapore’s independence did not come easy and it brought forth many challenges.One of them was security.Singapore did not have its own military,and law and order was not strong as well.In the early stages of Singapore’s independence,she was repeatedly attacked by Indonesia as part of the ‘konfrontasi’ policy.Southeast Asia was also experiencing instability at this time.As such,Dr Goh Keng Swee established the National Service system to strengthen Singapore’s armed forces quickly.Another issue was ensuring economic survival.Singapore had no natural resources and thus it had to rely on trade for them.There was also a severe lack of unemployment at that time.As such,Singapore had to develop a diversified economy along with relying on trade for economic survival.The last problem was instilling a sense of belonging in Singapore’s citizens.This was because most people in Singapore had come from Malaysia.To resolve this,the government made appeals and urged locals to get Singapore citizenship.


Overall,the independence of Singapore was a significant milestone for the people of the country. It brought many challenges but we managed to overcome them and develop Singapore to what it is today.


Done By: Nicole, Celestyn, Ruby, Wan Shi, Eng Chong

( Sorry for our late submission!)

What did independence mean for Singapore?


Done by: Cham Shuhan, Zoey Ching, Lau Lup Yun, Zaccarry Lee, Navashen (2/6)

Singapore gained independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965. Mr Lee Kuan Yew had announced that Singapore became a republic and was now an independent and sovereign nation. With the sudden change, political leaders, local people, and leaders and the media in other countries had different reactions towards the separation and the sudden change had also affected the security and defense, economic development and the citizenship of the people.

Reactions of people to Singapore’s independence

Political Leaders

The people of PAP were crestfallen and the situation were getting more and more tense for them everyday since the merger  had been all they were fighting for since they started and the separation had broke everything they stood for. However, some people such as Othman Wok and E.W Barker felt that it was a relief as he had forseen much more problems dealing with the people in Kuala Lumpur when they merged and was determined that they should go.

Local People

Some people celebrated in joy and were not concerned about their future and welfare after the separation as they were not aware of the political issues. The separation also cultivated a greater sense of belonging for some. However, many did not agree to the separation as they were worried about Singapore’s economic survival. Singapore had no economic resources and depended heavily on Malaysia.  If Malaysia took away areas of trade, many would be out of job as Singapore only had a small market. The separation made travelling to Malaysia more difficult and many families were separated by a political divide.

Leaders and the media in other countries

The Malaysia prime minister stated that they would help Singapore to happiness and to defend Singapore. They also felt that it was the right choice as as long as Singapore and Malaysia maintain a harmonious relationship in defence, trade and national economies, both will excel further. However, other countries doubted Singapore’s survival after independence as the British had withdrew their security base in Singapore thus Singapore had almost no security and the strong trade connections with Australia since colonial times were unstable due to independence.

Challenges Singapore Faced After Independence

Internal and External Security

Internal: Indonesia had set up the Konfrontasi that were unhappy with Singapore’s merger with Malaysia, carried out attacks and bombing even after Singapore’s independence, killing and injuring many.

External: Singapore feared that the government’s ability to maintain law and order would be affected as there was Vietnam war in SEA, which was a conflict between the communist and non-communist and might spread into Singapore.. The lack of a strong defence force threatened their security and thus would affect Singapore’s economic development as security and stability in Singapore was important to attract foreign investments and to promote growth of industries.

Solution to strengthen defence: Government established its own defence force as they felt that every man should play a part in the defence of the country hence introduced National Service to rapidly increase the size of armed forces available to defend Singapore. It was needed as the British decided to withdraw its military forces from Singapore and many non -Singaporean soldiers decided to transfer to the Malaysian army after Singapore’s separation from Malaysia. In 1967, the first batch had 900 full time  NSmen enlisted in Singapore Armed forces and by 1976, there were 140,000 NSmen and reservist.               Singapore also established diplomatic relations with other Countries by joining the United Nations and Commonwealth. Singapore had to cultivate relations with as many countries as possible to safeguard its independence from external threats.

Economic Survival

Singapore was not able to further develop its economy and provide jobs for its people. Singapore did not have natural resources thus was unable to rely on export of resources. It was difficult for industries in Singapore to develop as Malaysia imposed more taxes on goods to Singapore in attempt to protect its own industries.
Singapore could not depend on entreport trade for economic development as trade was slowed down in other countries due to policy that restricted import of foreign produced goods. Singapore was experience severe unemployment which worsened as 20000 school leavers joined the workforce annually, British decision to withdraw military forces also worsened unemployment as the forces contributed significantly to Singapore’s economy.

 Citizenship and sense of belonging

As a new nation, Singapore faced the challenge of forging a common identity and a sense of belonging among its people hence the government made many appeals, urging its people to take up Singapore citizenship to gain population. However, many were born in Malaysia were qualified a Malaysian citizenship thus reducing the amount of citizens in Singapore. This was important as the people had to realize their importance in Singapore in order to solve Singapore’s other economic issues. To ensure the identity of the people, border controls for people travelling into and out of Malaysia had to carry documents that identified the people as citizens of Singapore.



what did independence mean for singapore?

at 10 am on 9 august 1965, Singapore was officially announced to have been separated from malaysia. Singapore became a republic with yusof bin ishak as our first president. our independence was an importance phrase for singapore. however, things did not run as smoothly as we would like it to be and we were met with countless challenges along the way.

there were many reactions towards Singapore’s independence. firstly the political leaders had mixed reactions. some were disappointed with the breaking of the merger as they had always believed that they belong in one nation.some political leaders felt happy instead as they had encountered difficulties while dealing with the malaysians and after independence, they wouldn’t need to worry about problems such as taxes. secondly, there were the locals who felt worried. many believed that Singapore could not survive on its own due to its lack of natural resources. moreover, Singapore had a small population and that led to a small market. there were also people here and there who harbored no reaction as they had no interest in political matters. lastly,some leaders were willing to help Singapore. Malaysia believed in maintaining a good relationship with singapore. leaders from other countries were also positive about our future.

challenges faced


one challenge Singapore faced was its internal and external security. Singapore feared that the government’s ability to maintain law and order could be affected if the conflict of the communist and non-communist in Vietnam was to spread. this situation highlighted the need for a defence force.

there were also many problems in our economic survival. because singapore did not have natural resources, it was unable to rely on the export of natural resources to develop its economy and provide jobs for people. thus, maintaining a good relationship with other countries will ensure better trade and more jobs for the people.

one challenge singapore had was the forging of a common identity and sense of belonging. people did not seem to care about citizenship rights, privileges and responsibility. singapore needed support from the people as it was still a developing county

done by: yanyun, viba, siangying, jingen, janice



What did independence mean for Singapore?

by: lisha, xuan ling, lissa, atiqah, maisarah 2/6

Before its independence, Singapore has faced many challenges. Even after independence, there were many more obstacles to overcome and it changed the way Singapore worked. Hence, these major event create stronger ties with other countries to make living in Singapore better economically and socially.

One of the challenges faced was ensuring the security of Singapore, internally and externally. In other countries, there were conflicts going on such as the Vietnamese War that happened between the communist and non-communist. The leaders were afraid that the conflict might spread to Singapore. To worsen the situation, the British announced their withdrawal of the British military from Singapore. Thus, this leaves Singapore defenceless. It was even more worrying when the British withdrew their military earlier than expected. Moreover, Singapore only had two full-time army battalion which had 1000 soldiers of which 700 were Malaysians. They also only had 5000 police officers in the Singapore Police Force. Singapore’s tensed relation with Malaysia caused a higher tax imposed on goods and hence, Singapore could not mainly rely on entreport trade. This caused a severe unemployment and so did the withdrawal of the British military. Citizenship and a sense of belonging was needed desperately to forge a common identity. However, many were born in Malaysia. If it was solved as soon as possible, problems of the economy, housing, education and many more.

Some of the local had no reaction to singapore’s independence as they were not aware of political issues while some decided to work towards survival and security. The locals did worry whether Singapore would succeed since it is only small country and had no natural resources. There were also some who were disappointed. The Malaysian prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, gave Singapore his fullest support and helped to defend Singapore. Some leaders from other countries consoled Mr Lee Kuan Yew and supported him in striving towards independence.

Image result for lee kuan yew independence


What did independence mean for Singapore?

At 10 a.m. on 9 August 1965, this is the day when Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew announced Singapore’s independence from Malaysia. Radio Singapore interrupted its regular programme to broadcast this announcement. Later that day, in front of television cameras, he announced again that Singapore was no longer a part of Malaysia and was now an independent and sovereign nation.



Singapore’s independence was an important moment in its history. It marked a beginning of a new phase in Singapore’s development and the people’s lives. Singapore then became a republic with Yusof Bin Ishak as the first president. The Singapore government, with former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew as the leader, was now responsible for every area of administration.

However, not everything was going smooth for Singapore after its independence. It faced many types of challenges and mixed reactions from people around the world.



Singapore faced many challenges when it got its independence. One of the main problems was Singapore’s security, both external and internal security.

External Security

Instability in Southeast Asia threatened Singapore’s security. To solve this problem and bring about understanding and cooperation among the Southeast Asian countries, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines formed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Singapore also formed close ties with other counties in the world. This helped Singapore when Indonesia launched the policy of Konfrontasi and bombed Singapore. Having good relationships with other countries also made Singapore have a lesser possibility of getting attacked during a war. It also made sure that Singapore had someone to rely on when it got attacked.

Internal Security

At that time Singapore also had a very small army with two full-time army battalions, which were made of about 1000 soldiers. Singapore’s navy was only made of two old gun boats and did not have any air force.Britain’s decision to withdraw its military forces in the mid-1970s. This meant that Singapore had to replace 26,000 British soldiers. The lack of a strong defence force would also affect Singapore’s economic development. This was because security and stability in Singapore were important to attract foreign investments, and to promote the growth of its industries. It was thus urgent for the government to build up the defence of Singapore quickly. The government took its first step toward building Singapore’s own defence force by establishing the Ministry of the Interior and Defense (MID) in October 1965. Dr Goh Keng Swee was its first Mistier. Dr Gog Keng Swee, as the first a Minister of the MID, had strengthen the armed forces quickly. He also recognised that every man in Singapore had to play a part in the safety of Singapore.


The next problem is on Economic survival. Singapore was a small country without any natural resources. Therefore, Singapore was unable to rely on the export of natural resources to develop  economy and also provide jobs for people. After Singapore gained independence, Singapore faced more economic challenges, worsening the current situation.

Firstly, Singapore’s tense relations with its neighbours threatened to affect its economy. In addition, Malaysia had been the main market for goods that were manufactured in Singapore. After separation between Malaysia and Singapore, Malaysia imposed more tax on these goods. This was an attempt that Malaysia did to protect its own industries. This attempt hindered the development of industries in Singapore.

Secondly, Singapore was unable to depend solely on entrepot trade for economic development because trade slowed down due to policies implemented  in other countries that restricted imports of foreign-produced good. Therefore, Singapore needed develop a diversified economy to ensure continuation of economic growth.

Thirdly, Singapore experienced severe unemployment and this situation worsened every year. Thus, new jobs were created for people. Lastly, Britian’s decision to withdraw its military forces by the mid-1970s threatened to worsen unemployment in Singapore as as British military forces contributed greatly to Singapore’s economy, Singapore needed to find new ways to improve Singapore’s economy.

Sense of Belonging

Another challenge what Singapore faced is that facing setbacks as a new nation, forging of a common identity and sense of belonging among people. People had to make decisions pertaining to citizenship. Thus, the government urged foreigners, especially Malaysians, to take up Singapore citizenship.


Many people have different reactions regarding Singapore’s separation from Malaysia. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was extremely sadden by the fact that Singapore separated from Malaysia. “Every time we look back to the moment we signed the separation document, it is for us a moment of an anguish.” This shows that Mr Lee Kuan Yew did not wish for the separation to happen.

Minister for Culture and Social Affairs, Mr Othman Wok however, was elated with the news of the separation. “We were all very surprised. But in my heart I said, ‘That’s the best news I have heard so far.”This shows that Mr Othman Wok is happy about the result of separation.

Minister for National Development and Minster of Law, Mr E.W Barker had neutral feelings towards the separation. “It was just ‘Alright, we agree to separate.'”He feel that the separation was needed and agreed on. Thus, Mr E.W Barker was neutral about the Singapore’s separation from Singapore.

Reactions of the Local People

One student was sad about the separation as “it would be difficult to go to Malaysia, a place that I liked to visit.”. It shows that she was unwilling to accept the separation. Another student, was neutral about the issue. She “was not aware of the political issues then.”.

One of the locals under normal working class, was concerned and sad when the news broke out because he “had tried so hard to make Malaysia work. To me, separation was an admission of our failure.”. Moreover, “our island-state had no natural resources and had the future disadvantage of having a small population and therefore, a small market.”.

An editor of The Straits Times, was shocked when delivered the news. “Although there had been signals that things were not going well, the actual separation was not anticipated because, despite all the tensions, it seemed as if the leaders were still trying to settle the conflicts.”. A newspaper report on the announcement of Singapore’s independence has also said that “though some housewives began to stock up on food, and some shops were closed for the day, the atmosphere, while tense, remained quiet. Coffee stalls did a roaring business. Many stayed open all night, catering to customers who wanted to talk about this turning point in their national life- or wait for the morning papers to hit the street.”.

One of the civil servants felt that the separation was very disappointing as he felt that the future had no hope” as there were “no economic resources in Singapore, all we have are our skills.”. This shows that he was not pleased with the news. A lecturer was in sheer disbelief when the news broke out. He “felt a sense of loss and sadness because people suddenly found themselves separated by a political divide”. On the other hand, an aide-de-camp to President Yusof Bin Ishak, had no reaction to the news. He “took the live that life must go on and that I would remain In Singapore and work towards its survival, security and success”and”was not particularly nationalistic”.

Reactions of Leaders and the Media in Other Countries

Malaysia Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman is nonchalant with Singapore’s separation from Malaysia. “I hope and pray that on their own, they will be able to find what they want.” and “give them our utmost help”. This shows that he is reluctant.

Australia had strong trade connections with Singapore since the colonial period. Thus, Australia was worried that Singapore would be unable to handle the challenges that it encountered after achieving independence, thereby affecting trade. Australian Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies felt rejected about Singapore’s separation should be regarded as the beginning of a new approach of working together to promote their common interests. ” In one of Australia’s newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, they had written in an article that an independent Singapore was not regarded as possible three years ago. The conditions  in Singapore today remain unchanged and the survival of Singapore is questionable””

British Prime Minister Sir Harold Wilson was disappointed with Singapore’s separation from Malaysia. However, he had recognised Singapore as an independent state and was glad to know Singapore wanted to work on terms of friendship with them. He had also wished Singapore well.


In conclusion, some people were not overly concerned about the news of separation, some expressed a sense of loss over the separation of Singapore from Malaysia while others were glad it happened. Singapore also faced many different types of challenges and were also anxious about Singapore’s ability to survive on its own but was able to find solutions to cope with these challenges.

Done by: Wen Xin, Jing Hui, Roshan, Harman and Jasper


What did independence mean for Singapore?

mr lee say sg i                  (Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at a press conference explaining Singapore’s sudden independence on 9 August 1965)

With independence, Singapore took a huge milestone as it had to be self-sufficient, but this was especially difficult as we faced many problems such as lack of economic resources, weak defense force, mass unemployment, and difficulty in establishing a sense of citizenship and belonging.In order to better understand how remarkable Singapore’s independence was, let’s take a look at how people reacted towards Singapore’s independence.

The-Straits-Times_Singapore_Out_headlin(New excerpt from The Strait Times on the reactions of political leaders)

The Minister for Education,former Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign affairs said that they was taken aback by the unexpected break up and was also greatly disappointed as their efforts for merger had been wasted, especially when they had such high hopes about the future of Singapore with Malaysia.On the other hand,  some political leaders were actually quite relieved about the seperation as they felt that it was better for both Singapore and Malaysia, as well as its people. Most local people were upset and shocked upon hearing the sudden news but the others were not really too concerned about Singapore’s political future and just wanted their lives to go along.As for leaders and the media in other countries, they felt sad and sorry for Singapore and offered their help too, if we were to face any problems.

marching con(Marching contingent during first ever National Day Parade after independence)

After the seperation and the reaction of various people, many people were unsure if Singapore would actually be able to survive on its own after independence as it faced different challenges in defending itself, stabilizing its economy and making people’s life better. One of the main challenges that Singapore faced was in security because the British government withdrew its military forces and Singapore could not defend itself using its small defence force. Hence,the Ministry of the Interior and Defence was established where National Service was introduced to increase the defense force. Diplomatic relations with other countries was also established to ensure strong ties and alliances with other countries. Another problem was Singapore’s economic survival as it was a small country without its own natural resources and also could not continue depending on entrepot trade. These were made worse due to severe unemployment. Lastly,Singapore had difficulty forging a common identity and sense of belonging as nobody seemed to care much about citizenship rights, privileges and responsibilities.

Hence, Singapore’s independence was a remarkable event as it brought about changes in people’s lives by making it better and solving the problems and challenges faced.

Done by: Brian, Shao Kai, Hai Tao, Deekshitha, Lakshmi


Singapore’s Independence.

(Headline of The Straits Times, 10 August 1965)


Internal and external security

(NS men being examined to be enrolled)

Problem: Singapore was not well secured. Singapore faced threats directly and indirectly. They are threats such as Indonesia bombing Singapore due to Konfrantasi and communist war happening in Vietnam.

Solution: As a result, Singapore decided to build defence industry and introduce NS [national service] to build our nation’s defence. Singapore also had military cooperation with other countries. As our defence was increasing, Singapore had to set up its own chartered industry to supply weapons and ammunitions.

Economic survival

Problem: Singapore was a small country with no natural resources. Malaysia also imposed more tax on Singapore. Trade also slowed down due to the policies in other countries which restricted foreign-produced goods. On top of that, Singapore also faced severe unemployment.

Solution: Singapore developed manufacturing industries to solve the problem which come under economic survival. Manufacturing industries reduces Singapore’s dependency on trading with other countries and also increases employment in Singapore.

(The State Crest which was introduced in 1959)

Citizenship and sense of Belonging

Problem: people of Singapore at that time did not have common identity and sense of belonging. They also did not feel welcomed or a part of Singapore.

Solution: Singapore introduced national symbols to solve the problems created by citizenship and people not having sense of belonging. Example of the symbols are, national flag & state crest. This broke the bridge between different ethnic groups.

(Local people going to polling stations)

Peoples Reaction  

Local people: local people felt sad. They were not aware of the political issues. They lost hope on their future after separating from Malaysia.

Leader and Media: the leaders and the media hoped that they would attain what they wanted to get. Although minority were happy about leaving Malaysia, majority were startled and did not know what to do after the separation.

(The Singapore Flag)


Significance of Singapore would bring it an identity in the world. The significance would make ur countries recognised by other countries. It will also let the locals feel free from reliance and feel proud. Our country would be strong and don’t need to leech on other countries.

Done By: Nandhu, Tian Jun, Shammas, Yixuan, Arthi