1963 Singaporean general election

General elections were held in Singapore on 21 September 1963, five days after Singapore became part of Malaysia. Voters elected all 51 members of the Legislative Assembly. The elections were the only ones to date with no boundary changes to any existing constituencies prior to the elections. The result was a victory for the People's Action Party (PAP), which won 37 of the 51 seats, while the majority of the remaining seats were won by Barisan Sosialis (BS).

1963 Singaporean general election

← 1959 21 September 1963 1968 →

All 51 seats in the Legislative Assembly
26 seats needed for a majority
Turnout95.11% (Increase 5.04pp)
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Lee Kuan Yew Lee Siew Choh Ong Eng Guan
Last election 54.08%, 43 seats
Seats won 37 13 1
Seat change Decrease 6 New New
Popular vote 272,924 193,301 48,785
Percentage 46.93% 33.24% 8.39%
Swing Decrease 7.15pp New New

Results by constituency

Prime Minister before election

Lee Kuan Yew

Prime Minister after election

Lee Kuan Yew

The ruling party of Malaysia, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), contested the elections as part of the Singapore Alliance Party (SAP) in an attempt to oust the PAP, violating a previous agreement not to do so[citation needed] and straining relations between the two parties. The Alliance lost all seven seats which it held prior to the elections. Their participation in the elections prompted the PAP to contest seats in Peninsula Malaysia in the next federal election held in 1964, further adding to more tension between the two ruling parties.

As Singapore would gain independence in 1965, the elections were the only ones held as a state of Malaysia. After independence, the elected members of the Legislative Assembly would then become Members of the inaugural Parliament of Singapore.

A total of 210 candidates contested the elections – making it the largest slate of candidates to contest ever in Singapore's history. The ruling PAP – 51 candidates, its breakaway parties BS – 46 candidates and UPP – 46 candidates and the Alliance, the Singapore branch of the Malaysian federal ruling coalition – 42 candidates all vied to form the next government. This also marked the last time that any other party than the PAP would field candidates in more than half the total parliamentary seats. With two breakaway factions of the PAP fielding nearly full slate of candidates, this was the most hard fought election in Singapore's history and particularly for the ruling PAP.

The elections would be the last until 2015 in which all seats were contested. Further, the 1963 election would also be the last time (until 2020) where the ruling PAP would lose the popular vote in areas contested by the opposition and the only election in Singapore's history where the PAP would poll less than 50% of the nationwide popular vote.

With PAP winning a near three-quarters majority with just under 47% of the national vote, this is the lowest ever super-majority government formed to date in Singapore's history.

Background edit

Although the People's Action Party (PAP) had won 43 seats in the 1959 elections, they lost four seats in 1961 (two were from the by-election defeats, and two defected to the new United People's Party (UPP)). A further 13 legislators were expelled from PAP for voting against the government in a no-confidence motion on 20 July 1961; the dissidents subsequently formed a new party, the Barisan Sosialis (BS), alleging PAP as a communist front. The combination of by-election defeats, defections and expulsions reduced the PAP by 17 seats down to 26, leaving PAP with a one-seat majority.

On 3 July 1962, while the integration referendum debate was in procession, the PAP lost its majority following the resignation of legislator Ho Puay Choo (who later joined BS on 11 August). Five days later, UPP legislator S. V. Lingam returned to PAP fold, giving it back its one-seat majority. However, the PAP lost its majority again five days later after health minister Ahmad Ibrahim died from liver cancer. BS initially planned to field its iconic leader, Lim Chin Siong, in the vacated seat, but the Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew opted against a by-election, and instead called a fresh election.

On 31 August 1963, Singapore was declared independent from the United Kingdom with PAP declared as trustees until the merger with Malaysia could be complete. On 3 September, Lee dissolved the Legislative Assembly in accordance with procedure, and called for elections to be held on 21 September.

Timeline edit

3 September Dissolution of 2nd Legislative Assembly
12 September Nomination Day
21 September Polling day
22 October Opening of 3rd Legislative Assembly

Campaign edit

The elections, held in the midst of Singapore's merger with Malaysia, are remembered as the PAP's hardest-fought as the party faced intensive challenges from three other parties that fielded nearly full slates. BS collated with Parti Rakyat, and fielded candidates in all but two seats, while UPP had an unusually large number of candidates. The PAP government launched Operation Coldstore on 2 February 1963 and detained several BS leaders, including Lim.

On the final night of campaigning, PAP officials warned that should BS win the election and defeat PAP, the Malaysia Federal government could send troops into Singapore to invoke emergency powers in place of the incoming government led by the new pro-communist party, leaving no opportunity for BS to respond. This was said to have accounted for the eventual victory of the PAP the following day.

The sole Workers' Party (WP) legislator David Marshall resigned from the party he founded and became the only independent. Another participant was Singapore Alliance, an extension of the ruling federal Alliance Party in Malaysia, which was a coalition consisting of the Singapore People's Alliance (SPA) along with the local branches of UMNO, the Malayan Chinese Association and Malayan Indian Congress. However, former Chief Minister and leader Lim Yew Hock opted not to run in the elections, citing a defamation campaign by the PAP.[1]

Results edit

The PAP won a landslide victory, securing a two-thirds majority, an outcome that had been in doubt or unexpected in the lead-up to the vote. However, the party's vote share was its lowest-ever at just under 47%. Despite the BS and UPP winning a combined 14 seats, both parties failed to win most of the seats they contested, due to the split of the anti-PAP vote. A total of 92 candidates lost their deposits.

The Singapore Alliance lost all seven seats it had held before dissolution, losing even in core support areas such as Malay constituencies Kampong Kembangan, Geylang Serai and Southern Islands.

Nine incumbent members failed to be re-elected, among which the defeats of Kenneth Michael Byrne and Tan Kia Gan (in the seats of Crawford and Paya Lebar, respectively) marked the first time a higher-ranked PAP cabinet minister had been defeated in their constituencies. This would not happen again until the 2011 elections, 48 years and 11 elections later, where cabinet ministers Lim Hwee Hua and George Yeo were defeated in his constituency of Aljunied.

People's Action Party272,92446.9337–6
Barisan Sosialis193,30133.2413New
Singapore Alliance48,9678.420–3
United People's Party48,7858.391New
Partai Rakyat8,2591.4200
Pan-Malayan Islamic Party1,5450.2700
United Democratic Party7600.130New
Workers' Party2860.0500
Valid votes581,61599.01
Invalid/blank votes5,8180.99
Total votes587,433100.00
Registered voters/turnout617,45095.14
Source: Singapore Elections

By constituency edit

Constituency Electorate Party Candidate Votes %
Aljunied 16,152 People's Action Party S. V. Lingam 7,745 50.90
Barisan Sosialis Thio Kheng Lock 4,624 30.39
Singapore Alliance Party Lim Koon Teck 1,681 11.05
United People's Party Woo Kong Seng 1,165 7.66
Anson 9,192 People's Action Party P. Govindasamy 3,957 46.90
Barisan Sosialis Chan Chong Keen 3,123 37.02
Singapore Alliance Party A. K. Isaac 543 6.44
Independent David Marshall 416 4.93
United People's Party Vythalingam V. 306 3.63
Workers' Party Chiang Seok Keong 91 1.08
Bras Basah 10,678 People's Action Party Ho See Beng 4,926 51.80
Barisan Sosialis Leong Kwan Fai 3,831 40.28
United People's Party Pan Cheng Luan 335 3.52
Singapore Alliance Party Wong Chin Sen 304 3.20
Workers' Party Chua Chin Kiat 114 1.20
Bukit Merah 12,225 Barisan Sosialis Lim Huan Boon 4,963 42.84
People's Action Party Sellappa Ramaswamy 4,520 39.02
United People's Party Poon Weng Ying 1,129 9.75
Singapore Alliance Party Shums Tung Tao Chang 740 6.39
Independent Ngon Eng Kok 232 2.00
Bukit Panjang 12,997 Barisan Sosialis Ong Lian Teng 5,679 46.45
People's Action Party Lee Khoon Choy 4,940 40.41
Singapore Alliance Party Loo Bah Chit 999 8.17
United People's Party Thuan Paik Phok 607 4.97
Bukit Timah 12,502 Barisan Sosialis Lee Tee Tong 6,173 52.39
People's Action Party Chor Yeok Eng 4,982 42.28
United People's Party Ong Tiong Kuan 628 5.33
Cairnhill 12,340 People's Action Party Lim Kim San 7,749 66.46
Barisan Sosialis Lim Ang Chuan 2,443 20.95
Singapore Alliance Party Lee Ah Seong 1,467 12.59
Changi 11,866 People's Action Party Sim Boon Woo 4,808 42.78
Barisan Sosialis Siek Shing Min 3,425 30.48
Singapore Alliance Party Dato Syed Esa 1,975 17.57
United People's Party Abdullah Masood 935 8.32
Independent M. N. Yahya 95 0.85
Chua Chu Kang 8,198 Barisan Sosialis Chio Cheng Thun 3,753 48.59
People's Action Party Lim Kim Hian 2,429 31.45
United People's Party Sim Chit Giak 800 10.36
Singapore Alliance Party Neo Guan Choo 396 5.13
Independent Goh Tong Liang 345 4.47
Crawford 10,949 Barisan Sosialis T. Bani 4,400 42.75
People's Action Party K. M. Byrne 4,207 40.88
United People's Party Lau Tok Keong 1,032 10.03
Singapore Alliance Party S. A. Hsieh 571 5.55
Workers' Party Goh Tong Liang 81 0.79
Delta 14,037 People's Action Party Chan Choy Siong 5,417 40.53
Barisan Sosialis Wee Toon Lip 5,354 40.07
United People's Party Chen Chia Kuang 2,233 16.71
Independent Wong Kui Yu 359 2.69
Farrer Park 10,189 People's Action Party S. Rajoo 5,365 55.71
Barisan Sosialis Lee Chin Siang 2,619 27.20
Singapore Alliance Party Arumugam Ponnu Rajah 1,232 12.79
United People's Party Wee Kia Eng 414 4.30
Geylang East 16,014 People's Action Party Ho Cheng Choon 7,165 47.28
Barisan Sosialis Phua Soon Lian 5,389 35.56
Singapore Alliance Party Ng Cheng Chwee 1,467 9.68
United People's Party Tan Peng Seah 1,134 7.48
Geylang Serai 15,302 People's Action Party Rahamat bin Kenap 6,722 48.01
Singapore Alliance Party Ahmad b. Hj. Taff 5,019 35.85
Pan-Malayan Islamic Party M. Taha Suhaimi 1,201 8.58
Independent Darus Shariff 1,059 7.56
Geylang West 15,386 People's Action Party Yong Nyuk Lin 6,288 43.63
Barisan Sosialis Un Hon Kun 5,670 39.34
United People's Party Kum Teng Hock 1,541 10.69
Singapore Alliance Party Mohd. B. Hj. Yacob 914 6.34
Havelock 15,159 Barisan Sosialis Loh Miaw Gong 6,304 44.05
People's Action Party Wong Chun Choi 4,157 29.05
United People's Party Ng Chee Sen 3,209 22.42
Singapore Alliance Party Lim Ser Puan 641 4.48
Hong Lim 12,003 United People's Party Ong Eng Guan 5,066 44.47
People's Action Party Seah Mui Kok 3,789 33.27
Barisan Sosialis Lim Chien Sen 2,344 20.58
Singapore Alliance Party Sam Tai Guan 191 1.68
Jalan Besar 13,764 People's Action Party Chan Chee Seng 6,686 51.87
Barisan Sosialis Ng Ngeong Yew 5,172 40.12
United People's Party Yong Wan Kit 1,033 8.01
Jalan Kayu 9,164 Barisan Sosialis Tan Cheng Tong 3,312 38.04
People's Action Party Teo Hup Teck 2,676 30.73
United People's Party Lui Boon Phor 1,146 13.16
Singapore Alliance Party M. P. D. Nair 1,057 12.14
Independent Ong Yu Thoh 516 5.93
Joo Chiat 14,966 People's Action Party Fong Kim Heng 9,300 65.88
Barisan Sosialis Leong Keng Seng 3,737 26.48
Singapore Alliance Party Seow Peck Leng 1,078 7.64
Jurong 7,611 Barisan Sosialis Chia Thye Poh 3,973 55.85
People's Action Party Ong Soo Chuan 2,268 31.89
United People's Party Soh U Loh 501 7.04
Singapore Alliance Party Wong Tuck Leong 371 5.22
Kallang 16,974 People's Action Party Buang bin Omar Junid 8,479 52.21
Barisan Sosialis P. Oorjitham 5,215 32.11
United People's Party Mohd. Shariff B. D. 1,166 7.18
Singapore Alliance Party Tan Hock Lim 969 5.97
Independent Tan Hai Tong 411 2.53
Kampong Glam 10,186 People's Action Party S. Rajaratnam 4,313 44.79
Barisan Sosialis Tan Jing Quee 4,093 42.50
United People's Party Harbans Singh 1,224 12.71
Kampong Kapor 11,672 People's Action Party M. Awang 4,554 41.93
Barisan Sosialis Lim Hock Thiam 4,155 38.27
United People's Party Nalliah Karuppiah 1,143 10.53
Singapore Alliance Party Chia Ban Wei 1,006 9.27
Kampong Kembangan 15,787 People's Action Party Ariff B. Suradi Mohamed 7,127 48.31
Singapore Alliance Party Ali Alwi 3,692 25.03
Partai Rakyat Saleha Binte Md. Shah 2,674 18.13
United People's Party Ibrahim B. Jaffar 914 6.20
Pan-Malayan Islamic Party Mohd. Dali B. Muin 344 2.33
Kreta Ayer 13,103 People's Action Party Goh Keng Swee 8,059 65.47
Barisan Sosialis Lau Peter 3,646 29.62
United People's Party Loke Wan 604 4.91
Moulmein 10,670 People's Action Party Avadai Dhanam Lakshimi-Devan Nair 5,856 58.00
Barisan Sosialis Tann Wee Tiong 3,051 30.22
United People's Party Neo Hay Chan 575 5.69
Singapore Alliance Party Koh Chiat Lim 542 5.37
Independent Soo Tho Siu Hee 73 0.72
Mountbatten 16,843 People's Action Party Ng Yeow Chong 7,751 48.97
Barisan Sosialis Fung Yin Ching 5,158 32.59
Singapore Alliance Party Lee Kim Chuan 1,865 11.78
Independent Felice Leon-Soh 1,053 6.66
Nee Soon 10,064 Barisan Sosialis Chan Sun Wing 4,914 51.33
People's Action Party How Kang Yong 3,329 34.77
United People's Party Goh Soo Ming 864 9.02
Singapore Alliance Party Yeo Teo Bok 364 3.80
Independent Lim Siak Guan 103 1.08
Pasir Panjang 6,721 People's Action Party Othman Wok 2,879 45.30
Barisan Sosialis Tay Cheng Kang 1,887 29.69
Singapore Alliance Party Ahmad bin Rahmat 1,351 21.26
United People's Party Yong Ah Kau 238 3.75
Paya Lebar 13,544 Barisan Sosialis Kow Kee Seng 6,152 47.96
People's Action Party Tan Kia Gan 5,402 42.11
United People's Party Yeo Keng Wee 858 6.69
Singapore Alliance Party Goh Yeow Dek 415 3.24
Punggol 10,294 People's Action Party Ng Kah Ting 4,721 47.76
Barisan Sosialis Koh Chit Kiang 2,860 28.93
Singapore Alliance Party Tan Jin Hong 1,320 13.35
United People's Party Lee Jiak Seck 984 9.96
Queenstown 16,133 People's Action Party Jek Yeun Thong 8,165 52.81
Barisan Sosialis Lee Ek Chong 5,589 36.15
United People's Party Ng Ho 909 5.88
Singapore Alliance Party Lee Khee Loong 798 5.16
River Valley 10,532 People's Action Party Lim Cheng Lock 5,597 56.67
Barisan Sosialis Goh Lam San 2,668 27.01
Singapore Alliance Party Yap Pheng Geck 1,156 11.71
United People's Party Chung Kit Wong 455 4.61
Rochore 11,698 People's Action Party Toh Chin Chye 5,015 45.56
Barisan Sosialis Lee Siew Choh 4,926 44.75
United People's Party Pan Tiek Tai 1,067 9.69
Sembawang 9,329 People's Action Party Teong Eng Siong 3,745 42.17
Barisan Sosialis Chen Poh Chang 3,591 40.43
Singapore Alliance Party Appavoo P. 1,197 13.48
United People's Party Low Seng Wan 348 3.92
Sepoy Lines 10,046 People's Action Party Wee Toon Boon 4,907 52.25
Barisan Sosialis Ong Chang Sam 3,147 33.51
Singapore Alliance Party Goh Su Chiang 793 8.44
United People's Party Tan Choon Sing 545 5.80
Serangoon Gardens 8,765 People's Action Party R. A. Gonzales 4,456 53.40
Barisan Sosialis Ng Hui Sim 2,698 32.33
United People's Party Ng Teo Joo 736 8.82
Singapore Alliance Party Choy Kok Wah 455 5.45
Siglap 15,915 People's Action Party Abdul Rahim Ishak 9,342 62.12
Partai Rakyat Tay Check Yaw 2,618 17.41
Singapore Alliance Party Soo Ban Hoe 1,488 9.89
United People's Party Ong Jin Teck 1,365 9.08
Independent Koh Tee Kin 225 1.50
Southern Islands 5,236 People's Action Party Yaacob bin Mohamed 2,764 55.41
Singapore Alliance Party Ahmad Jabri b. Akib 2,224 44.59
Stamford 11,628 People's Action Party Fong Sip Chee 5,781 53.27
Barisan Sosialis Teo Hock Guan 3,719 34.27
United People's Party Lim Chung Min 771 7.10
Singapore Alliance Party Lal Behari Singh 582 5.36
Tampines 13,137 Barisan Sosialis Poh Ber Liak 5,976 48.33
People's Action Party Goh Chew Chua 3,601 29.13
United People's Party Liam Tian Seng 2,130 17.23
Singapore Alliance Party Lim Jew Kan 656 5.31
Tanglin 9,239 People's Action Party Edmund W. Barker 4,424 51.07
Barisan Sosialis Tan Cheow Hock 1,997 23.06
Singapore Alliance Party Thio Chan Bee 1,738 20.07
United People's Party Eng Chau Sam 336 3.88
Independent Ariffin b. Md Said 166 1.92
Tanjong Pagar 11,395 People's Action Party Lee Kuan Yew 6,317 58.93
Barisan Sosialis Ong Hock Siang 3,537 32.99
United People's Party Lim Peng Kang 473 4.41
Singapore Alliance Party Chng Boon Eng 393 3.67
Telok Ayer 13,219 People's Action Party Ong Pang Boon 5,390 44.01
Barisan Sosialis Lam Chit Lee 4,987 40.72
United People's Party Goh Hong Keng 1,484 12.12
Independent Wang Chung Kwang 385 3.15
Telok Blangah 13,263 People's Action Party Bernard Rodrigues 4,949 39.82
Barisan Sosialis Jukri b. Parjo 4,327 34.82
Singapore Alliance Party Abdul Rahman 2,627 21.14
United People's Party Tan Swee Huat 525 4.22
Thomson 11,336 Barisan Sosialis Koo Young 5,292 49.17
People's Action Party Leo Keng Fong 4,248 39.47
United People's Party Loo Ka Thiam 1,223 11.36
Tiong Bahru 12,534 People's Action Party Lee Teck Him 5,731 48.15
Barisan Sosialis Soon Dit Woo 3,798 31.91
United People's Party Ng Teng Kian 1,088 9.14
Independent William Tan 777 6.53
Singapore Alliance Party Tan Kok Siong 508 4.27
Toa Payoh 13,394 Barisan Sosialis Wong Soon Fong 6,083 48.20
People's Action Party Yip Sai Weng 4,276 33.88
United People's Party Goh Nee Kim 1,501 11.89
United Democratic Party Tan Chor Yong 760 6.03
Ulu Pandan 11,866 People's Action Party Chow Chiok Hock 5,000 44.86
Partai Rakyat Johari bin Sonto 2,967 26.62
Singapore Alliance Party Anang b. H. A. Manan 1,729 15.51
United People's Party Ler Chin Tee 1,450 13.01
Upper Serangoon 12,433 People's Action Party Sia Kah Hui 6,650 56.56
Barisan Sosialis Chia Yang Loong 3,547 30.17
United People's Party Phua Gek Boon 595 5.06
Independent Lim Choon Mong 573 4.87
Singapore Alliance Party Wu Moh Chye 393 3.34
Source: ELD, Singapore Elections

Aftermath edit

Analysis of the election suggested that reasons for the PAP victory included:[2]

  • The PAP's eleventh hour warning to voters that Malaysia would send troops into Singapore and invoke emergency powers in place of the incoming Barisan government;
  • Strong support among voters for Singapore's merger with Malaya, which was perceived to be jeopardised should Barisan win the election due to its opposition to merger;
  • English-educated middle classes fearful of communism tactically voting for PAP following the split of the leftists away from the party.
  • Barisan's support for Indonesia and the Communist Party of Indonesia's opposition to the formation of Malaysia, especially when Indonesia had declared Konfrontasi and begun provocative military manoeuvres in Borneo in the lead up to the election;
  • Policies introduced by the government such as building of 26,000 Housing and Development Board flats, reduction in unemployment rate and investment in public services from 1959 to 1963.

To discourage future defections, the PAP government passed a constitutional amendment stipulating that legislators who resign or are expelled from the parties they were elected under would lose their seats. As a result, by-elections were subsequently held in Hong Lim in 1965, seven constituencies in 1966 and five constituencies in 1967. Those victories resulted PAP in achieving a parliament monopoly that would last for the next 15 years until the first elected opposition MP in 1981. The changes during the 1963–1968 parliamentary term remain the biggest turnover of MPs in post-independence Singapore.

The distribution of 15 Singapore seats in Malaysia's lower house of Parliament (Dewan Rakyat) was based on the outcome of the election. PAP was allocated 12, which were given to Prime Minister Lee, Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye, ministers Goh Keng Swee, Ong Pang Boon, S. Rajaratnam, Yong Nyuk Lin, Jek Yeun Thong, Lim Kim San, Othman Wok and assembly members Abdul Rahim Ishak, Wee Toon Boon and Ho See Beng. BS was allocated 3: Chia Thye Poh, Lim Huan Boon and Kow Kee Seng.[3][4]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Lau, Albert (1998). A Moment of Anguish: Singapore in Malaysia and the Politics of Disengagement. Singapore: Times Academic Press. ISBN 981-210-1349.
  2. ^ Sonny Yap; Richard Lim; Leong Weng Kam (2010). Men in White: The Untold Story of Singapore's Ruling Political Party. Singapore: Singapore Press Holdings.
  3. ^ "LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY GENERAL ELECTION 1963". Singapore Elections. Archived from the original on 6 June 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.