Singapore is Out of Malaysia
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew announced Singapore's independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965. Singapore was no longer a part of Malaysia and was an independent and sovereign nation. " I was crestfallen ! It was totally unexpected ! Although of course the situation was getting more tense, day by day. But the break up was unexpected. It was a great disappointment.We had been fighting for Malaysia , since we started the PAP. I campaigned so hard for the merger during the Referendum. It was very ,very disappointing" says Ong Pang Boon , a Minister of Education during the time of separation. All the Ministers felt very disappointed and they felt that the separation broke everything they stood for . It was the crushing of their dreams , some of their families and friends were from Malaysia , to them it was a separation from their kith and kin .Some local people felt sad because it would be difficult to go to Malaysia , a place that they liked to visit. While some of the local people were not overly concerned about the news of separation , others expressed a sense of loss . They were worried and anxious about Singapore's ability to survive on its own . The challenges and concerns faced were the international recognition for Singapore's independence then the next concern was the defense for Singapore as they had no army and lastly was the economy-how to make a living for their people ? Internal and External Security was the biggest challenge for Singapore. Indonesia continued to carry out attacks on Singapore even after independence. The most serious accident occurred on 10 March 1965 when a a bomb exploded in MacDonald House , killing three people and injuring 33 others. The lack of a strong defense 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 defense of Singapore quickly . Dr Goh Keng Swee , as the first Minister of the MID(Minister of the Interior and Defense) had to strengthen the armed forces quickly. This was because many non-Singaporean military personnel from 1 and 2 SIR decided to transfer to the Malaysian army after the separation from Malaysia. Dr Goh then realised that every man in Singapore had to play a part in the defense of the the country. He therefore introduced the system of National Service so as to rapidly increase the size of the armed forces available to defend Singapore . Another way to ensure the defense of Singapore was to build strong ties with other countries through diplomacy. As a independent nation, Singapore had to cultivate relations with as many countries as possible to safeguard its independence from external threats. To bring about the understanding and cooperation among the countries in Southeast Asia, Singapore, Malaysian, Thailand and Philippines formed the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) in August 1967. The government's efforts to build up Singapore's defense and establish diplomatic relationships would not only ensure peace and stability but also attract investors. All these would eventually contribute to the growth of Singapore's industries and stimulate economic growth. The second problem faced was that trade was slowed down due to the policies implemented in other countries that restricted the imports of foreign-produced goods. Singapore was also experiencing severe employment, with 14.3 percent of the working population unable to find jobs. The situation worsened every year, as up to 20,000 school-leavers joined the workforce annually. Thus new jobs had to be created for all the people. Another challenge faced as a new nation was the forging of a common identity and a sense of belonging among the people. S.Rajaratnam felt that Singapore is their permanent home. They have to live and die here. They had to instil in Singaporeans a deep concern not just for their personal future but for the future of Singapore. They must get people to think of themselves as belonging to and owning the their loyalty to Singapore.