Macau Daily Times

this day in history



The British government is to allow the island colony of Singapore to govern itself under a new constituti­on agreed in London.

The Singapore Constituti­onal Conference ended today after four weeks of talks when Chief Minister of Singapore Lim Yew Hock and Alan Lennox-boyd, secretary of state for the Colonies, signed an agreement.

The constituti­on comes into effect some time after 1 January 1958 when the colony will become known as the State of Singapore.

Britain will remain in charge of external affairs and defence.

There was, however, one major pre-condition that the Singapore delegation would not agree to - that “persons known to have been engaged in subversive activity” would be barred from standing for the Legislativ­e Assembly.

This demand is aimed at excluding extremist left-wing activists in the People’s Action Party (PAP), some of whom have been detained for inciting anti-british riots last year.

At the signing ceremony at Lancaster House, Mr Lim rejected this demand as “a departure from normal democratic practice” but agreed to put it before the Legislativ­e Assembly.

Under self-government, the office of Governor will be abolished and replaced with a Malayan-born representa­tive of the Queen known as the Yang di-pertuan Negara.

An internal security council preventing subversion is to be set up under the chairmansh­ip of the UK Commission­er charged with safeguardi­ng British affairs in the territory.

Last April, David Marshall, first Chief Minister of Singapore, led a delegation to London to ask for internal self-government with the aim of achieving independen­ce or “merdeka” in Malay.

The talks failed, and as a result Mr Marshall resigned as Chief Minister last June. He was succeeded by Lim Yew Hock.

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