What Did Independence Mean
Problems Faced Since Gaining Independence.
9 August was the day Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent and sovereign state. They parted ways due to the large political and economic differences of each ruling parties in Malaysia and Singapore. This created communal tensions that ended with racial riots in July and September 1964. When the separation was announced, by our then Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, he was very disappointed and saddened. He broke down during the announcement saying he really did want independence for Singapore but with Malaysia. Singapore's union with Malaysia lasted 23 months.
After a very abrupt independence, Singapore felt that it needed immediate international recognition of its sovereignty. However, the UMNO strongly opposed the separation from Malaya and Singapore was in danger of being attacked by Indonesia or will be forced to join Malaysia again.
Soon, Singapore became part of the United Nations on 21 September 1965, with the help of the Malaysian, Chinese and Indian Governments.
There was also a new foreign ministry which was lead by Sinnathamby Rajaratnam. He also helped assert the Independence of Singapore and established diplomatic relations with other countries. Singapore also later co-founded the ASEAN and on 8th August 1967 and joined the Non-Aligned Movement and the World Trade Organisation.
Since Singapore was a very small island, the international media did not believe it could survive. Not only that, there were also other important problems like housing, unemployment, education, lack of natural resources and lack of land space.
The unemployment rate which was 10-12%, threatened civil unrest. The loss of access to Malaysia's hinterland and natural sources meant Singapore had no traditional sources of income. A large portion of the population also had no education.
However, Singapore overcame these problems and continued to grow into a better, richer country.