From Malayan Union to Singapore Separation: Political Unification in the Malaysia Region, 1945-65

Author: Mohamed Noordin Sopiee

Publisher: University Malaya Press, 2005

ISBN: 983100194X

Call Number: 959.504 MOH

From Cabinet papers, memoranda, and documents, the author probes the reasons why Whitehall decided to impose the disastrous Malayan Union on Malaya. He explains the British surrender to Malay demands, the rise of UMNO and Malay political vigor, the subsequence of non-Malay agitation, and the formation of the Federation of Malaya. His account of the four colorful secessionist movements mounted by Penang nationalists and pro-colonial elements, Johore royalist, and Kelantan parochialists in the first ten years of the Federation’s life fills a void in Malayan political literature.
The struggle for the merger of Singapore and Malaya between 1946 and 1960 is also studied and greater detail than ever before. In this book, the author adopts a revolutionary approach to the formation of Malaysia. He questions the accepted view on the British role; examines the clash between London and Kuala Lumpur; analyzes the PAP-Barisan contest in Singapore; suggests the reasons Brunei decided not to join the federation. The brilliance of the PAP in the 1962 Singapore Referendum is analyzed in some depth, as are the blunders Lee Kuan Yew made when Singapore was part of Malaysia. There is a blow-by-blow account of the development of the verbal overkill which led to separation and the events of the last crucial days before Singapore’s expulsion. The theory that separation was engineered by the PAP is also examined.

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