Thursday, August 12, 2010

A page from my stamp album - Singapore

Today Singapore and Malaysia are two different independent states. But these two have been part of the once larger British Empire since the early 19th century. The stamps shown above (left column)are of the period of the times when the two states were under the British dominion.

The occupation of Singapore and Older Malaya dates back to 1818, when one Sir Stamford Raffles (an East India Company employee and Lieutenant Governor of Java) identified Singapore island as excellently placed to create another free port and end the remaining Dutch control of the area. After negotiations with the rulers of Johor, a commercial base was established in 1819 and grew to eclipse both Penang and Malacca. By 1824 Singapore had been ceded perpetually to the Company and these British controlled areas had become known as the Straits Settlements.

In 1867 the Settlement became a British Crown Colony (administered from London and not India) and by 1876 three other Malayan states had a British Resident or advisor, the fourth in 1888. The Sultans were allowed to remain and were duly respected, empowered to act as figureheads and religious leaders, but the British effectively ran everything else. In 1896 Perak, Pahang, Negri Sembilan and Selangor were formed into the Federated Malay States.
The un-federated States of Kelantan, Kedah, Perilis and Terengganu accepted British advisors in 1904 and Johor followed in 1914, a few years after Sultan Abu Bakar (who had held the British at arm's length throughout his reign) died and was succeeded by his son Sultan Ibrahim.

On 16 September 1963, Singapore merged with the Federation of Malaya alongside Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. This marked the end of a 144-year period of British rule in Singapore. 

The union, however, was rocky from the start. The ideological differences between leaders of the State of Singapore and the federal government of Malaysia resulted in frequent disagreement in politics, economic, financial and social policies. The conflict spread to the populace, resulting in major racial riots in 1964 in Singapore. In 1965, Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman decided upon the expulsion of Singapore from the Federation, leading to the Independence of Singapore on 9 August 1965.


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