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Flashback Friday: PAP wins 1 seat in Malaysian General Election on April 25, 1964

Published on Apr 25, 2014 12:34 PM

April 25, 1964 in Singapore: Singapore wins one seat in the Malaysian General Election

Even though the People's Action Party (PAP) dominated Singapore politics, it wins only one seat today in the 1964 Malaysian General Election, held in West Malaysia.

Frictions between Singapore's leaders and Malaysia's Alliance Party, led by the United Malays National Organisation (Umno), were fuelled when PAP decided to contest in the 1964 election.

Large crowds had been turning up at PAP's rallies in West Malaysia, but the party eventually only wins one seat. It is won by Malacca-born Devan Nair who represents the Bangsar constituency in Kuala Lumpur. Mr Nair will later become the third president of Singapore in 1981.

The Alliance Party wins the majority, occupying 89 out of 104 seats.

Tensions are high as right-wing Umno leaders see PAP's contest and later formation of an alliance with four other opposition parties from Malaya and Sarawak called the Malaysian Solidarity Convention, as a Chinese plot to take over control of Malaysia.

Months after, situation would worsen with provocative speeches and writings on both sides.

Fearing further violent outbreaks after Umno extremists demanded for the arrest of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and other PAP leaders, Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman would decide to expel Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia.

The separation would be made official on August 9, 1965 when the Malaysian Parliament passes a bill favouring separation 126 to 0. Singapore delegates are not present and do not vote.

"For me, it is a moment of anguish. All my life, my whole adult life, I have believed in merger and unity of the two territories," Mr Lee Kuan Yew would say in tears in a televised press conference hours later.

April 25, 1964, overseas: Ship in World War II's secret mission heads back to Australia

The Krait, the ship that a group of commandos and sailors from the Z Special Unit used to sink seven Japanese vessels in Singapore on Sept 27, 1943, returns to the Sydney Harbour today.

Operation Jaywick, as the mission was named, required members of the Z Special Unit, made up of 14 personnel from the Australian Army and Royal Australian Army, to canoe into the Singapore Harbour from the Riau islands of Indonesia, and attach magnetic limpet mines to Japanese ships.

Each limpet, contaning just over 4.5 kg of explosives, could blast a hole of 1.5 sq m square in the plates of a ship.

The Krait was previously a Japanese fishing vessel that was captured by the Unit. Its Japanese flag allowed it to go about its business unnoticed.

After the war, the Krait was discovered in Sabah, being used by a timber firm. About £6,000 was raised by the former crew members to buy the ship back.