SG50: Three cheers for Goh Keng Swee

In Uncategorized on 01/11/2015 at 4:44 am

If we were still part of M’sia, S’pore would be like this?


— In April 1964, Zanzibar merged with mainland Tanganyika to form Tanzania.

— Zanzibar was a trading port

— Its population was (is) different from the mainland and were largely immigrants)


Over time, rule by a single party has stoked up Zanzibaris who believe that their state should be more independent than it is. Already Zanzibar is very different from the mainland. It is almost entirely Muslim. A large part of its population is descended from Arab traders. This election has been no exception. On the stump the CUF, together with its opposition allies on the mainland, called for a new federal structure for Tanzania. CCM meanwhile campaigned on a platform of no change, warning that a CUF win on Zanzibar might mean the break-up of the union—or even the return of the Sultan, who was deposed in 1964 and now, aged 86, lives in exile in Portsmouth in Britain. In practice, neither side’s cause is plausible. With a population of around 1m, Zanzibar is too small to have much chance as an independent state. Yet it seems that the status quo is unacceptable to most of its inhabitants. Without a compromise, the islands could retain their curse for some time.

(Economist blog)

I’m glad the Tunku kicked us out and that one Harry was wrong about wanting to stay in.

May 28, 2010 – ST Forum

Separation from Malaysia: How crucial was Dr Goh’s role?

MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew made an interestingly significant remark about Singapore’s separation from Malaysia in his eulogy at Sunday’s state funeral for his colleague-in-arms, former Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee.

MM Lee said he had asked Dr Goh to negotiate a looser rearrangement for Singapore, but to keep Singapore within Malaysia.

Added MM Lee: ‘He (Dr Goh) decided that the best alternative was a clean break. After (Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister) Tun Abdul Razak and (Minister for External Affairs) Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman agreed, (Law Minister) Eddie Barker and I worked furiously to settle the terms of the separation.’

MM Lee’s remark is intriguing in the light of the conventional narrative of the events leading up to Separation in 1965. From all that historians have gleaned prior to MM Lee’s remarks on Sunday, MM Lee, who was then Prime Minister, played the pivotal role involving Separation.

His remarks suggest that the decision to break away from Malaysia was decided unilaterally by Dr Goh at the crucial moment; against the proposition MM Lee, and perhaps the collective Cabinet, had decided; which was at the very least, to still remain a part of the Malaysian federation of states.

If the above is true, the apparent contradiction should be resolved. A key question that arises from MM Lee’s remarks is this: What was the extent and significance of Dr Goh’s role in Separation? Furthermore, MM Lee’s remark also suggests that the key Malaysian leaders – Tun Razak and Dr Ismail – agreed to Dr Goh’s proposal of a clean break.

This would imply that it may well have been Singapore which precipitated the idea of Separation, rather than Malaysia, as has been the notion all this while, stemming from first Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s view. He reconfirmed, when I interviewed him a few years before he died, that he overruled the strident objections of his extremist colleagues in Umno in deciding to sack Singapore from Malaysia.

It would be informative, if not instructive, if MM Lee or Dr Toh Chin Chye (then chairman of the PAP and the only key surviving member of the Old Guard today) shed more light on this critical turning point in the history of Singapore and Malaysia.

Associate Professor Hussin Mutalib

  1. Taz why GKS kena pariah status after his used-by-date for going against his sith lord.

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