Part V of the retrospective on Singapore's road to independence
Accusations and counter-threats flew back and forth across the causeway in early 1965. At one point, it became all a little too much for Singapore's PM Lee Kuan Yew as he filed a libel writ against UMNO's Secretary-General.
STRAITS TIMES, FEB 15, 1965
The Federal Minister of Finance, Mr Tan Siew Sin, said today that one-party rule in Singapore had degenerated into "rule by fear."
"This is not a far-fetched statement," he said, when opening the MCA Sembawang ward branch.
Mr Tan, who is the national president of the MCA, said reports coming indicated that the fear of intimidation and victimisation by the ruling party "is prevalent among sections of the community."
"I myself have in my possession many number of anonoymous letters from civil servants telling me of this fear.
"They say that it is risky to be regarded as even a personal friend of a member of any Opposition party.
"Even among those who are not in the public service, this general atmosphere of fear persists.
"Businessmen who depend on Government patronage in the form of contracts for their livelihood speak in whispers when they have to criticise the Government.
"They maintain that the slightest hint of such association with a member of the Opposition, and this naturally includes the Alliance, would bring down upon their heads the kind of persecution at which the ruling party is so adept.
"Such a campaign would be waged with utter ruthlessness and venomous thoroughness one associates with totalitarian regimes imposed by the Communists, Nazis and Fascists prior to World War ll."
"This skill at using terror tactics is even more amazing when you consider that they are being wielded by a State Government whose major powers have been substantially curtailed since Malaysia Day."
Commenting on observation that the State Government of Singapore is an efficient government, Mr Tan said: "One of the most efficient governments in all history was the German Government headed by Hitler before World War ll.
"It is no consolation to have the most efficient government in the world ruling over you if all the time you live under the shadow of fear, the fear that if you should happen to displease someone in authority or even appear to displease someone in authority, that may be the end of yourself or those near and dear to you.
"In Singapore there is an atmosphere of unease and tension. This is due to the fact that politicians go out of their way to rouse mob passions. They create controversial issues even if there are none to worry about."
Mr Tan then spoke of the need for an effective and responsible opposition in Singapore "to point out to the Government its mistakes, and tell it when and where it has gone wrong."
STRAITS TIMES, FEB 23 1965
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Dr Toh Chin Chye declared last night that the island State could not be treated like Penang or Malacca "because it has its own historical development."
It may be true that teritorially Singapore is small but population-wise it is the biggest State in Malaysia," he said.
He said: "Furthermore, Singapore had its own commercial and economic importance even before it joined Malaysia.
"In these circumstances these circumstances trying to absorb Singapore into the orbit of the Central Government by treating it as a minor State is a mistake.
The PAP, he reiterated, had not been founded as a communal party but as a multi-racial party with a positive political philosophy. And it was on this basis that the party had succeeded for the last 10 years.
STRAITS TIMES, MAR 3 1965
Police have refused to grant permission for the People's Action Party branch here to hold a procession from the airport to its headquarters at Kampong Pantai tomorrow evening.
The procession had been planned to give the Singapore Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, a motorcade escort when he arrives by air from Kuala Lumpur to open the branch headquarters.
STRAITS TIMES, APR 28 1965
Singapore's Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew is suing Dato Syed Ja'afar Albar, the Secretary-General, for libel.
Two writs were titled in the High Court Registry early today by Graham Hill of Messrs. Rodyk and Davidson on behalf of Mr Lee.
In the first suit against the UMNO leader alone, the libel is alleged to have been contained in an open and undated letter from him to Mr Dennis Bloodworth, South-east Asia correspondent of the London Observer, on or about Aug 7 last year.
In the second suit against Dato Syed Ja'afar, the Utusan Melayu and its editor, Inche Melan bin Abdullah, the libellious statements are alleged to have been contained in two articles appearing in the Utusan Melayu on March 25, 1964 and last March 27.
According to the writ, the articles were headed: "Lee is accused of being an enemy of Malaysia and an agent of Indonesia. Walk over my dead body first - Albar," and "Albar accuses Kuan Yew of being an agent of the Communists."
In both suits, Mr Lee is claiming damages, costs and other or further relief as the court may see fit.