The Battle for Merger 1: The Malaysia Plot

The Malaysia Plot also known as the “Malaysia Conspiracy” is a conspiracy theory concerning the reasons as to what led to the “Merger” of Singapore with the federated states of Malaya (and North Borneo and Sarawak) into Malaysia in 1963. This propaganda calendar card was distributed probably in early 1962 by the socialists, prior to the merger and post-radio offensives (delivered by Lee Kuan Yew in late 1961). The picture depicts a giant rolled up document with the word in simplified Chinese 大马来西亚计划 (The Greater Malaysia Plan). On a wooden signpost pointed towards the left side of the document opening is written the word 独立 (Independence). On the other side of the document are Tunku Abdul Rahman, Lee Kuan Yew and Lord Selkirk. On the card were written “The Malaysia Plot” from top to bottom in English, Chinese and Malay.

There are many general ideas behind the conspiracy theory. The British held interest to safeguard the effective use of military base in Singapore from “sea of hostile population” which clearly refer to “communist sympathisers amid the Chinese majority in Singapore”. Tunku Abdul Rahman was never really keen on the merger with Singapore citing irreconcilable differences but was enticed by getting Sarawak and North Borneo, and Lee Kuan Yew had most of his political agendas served in this move including the getting rid of his political opponents. The Left sensed that this is a neo-colonialist plot that would threaten the well being of their hegemony in Southeast Asia and perceived merger terms to be discriminatory and deprived Singaporeans of their voting rights in the federal elections.  In the following year on 2 February 1963, Operation Coldstore was carried out which led to the arrest of over 100 people suspected for communist links , who were detained without trial under the Preservation of Public Service Security Ordinance (PSSO), including major members of the Barisan Socialis party like former acquaintance Lim Chin Siong as an example. Seven months later, on 16 September 1963, People’s Action Party won the 1963 General Elections and Singapore merged with Malaya, Sarawak and North Borneo to form Malaysia.


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