Legislative Council of Singapore

The Legislative Council of the Colony of Singapore was a legislative council in Singapore that assisted the governor in making laws in Singapore.[1] It officially came into existence in 1946, when the Straits Settlements (Repeal) Act, 1946 abolished the Straits Settlements, and Singapore became a crown colony on its own that would need its own legislative council. Based on existing systems already in place when the council operated under the Straits Settlements, it was partially opened for public voting in 1948, before being replaced by the Legislative Assembly in 1953.

Legislative Council of the
Colony of Singapore
Coat of arms or logo
Established1 June 1946; 76 years ago (1946-06-01)
Disbanded5 February 1955; 67 years ago (1955-02-05)
Preceded byLegislative Council of the Straits Settlements
Succeeded byLegislative Assembly of Singapore
Last election
21 September 1951; 71 years ago (1951-09-21)
Meeting place
2016 Singapur, Downtown Core, Teatr Wiktorii i Hala Koncertowa (02).jpg
Victoria Memorial Hall


Legislative Council of the Straits Settlements (1867–1942)Edit

The Legislative Council of the Straits Settlements was formed on 1 April 1867 when the Straits Settlements was made a Crown Colony that answered directly to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London, instead of the Calcutta government based in India. Letters patent granted a Colonial Constitution on 4 February, which allocated much power to the governor. He was assisted by an Executive Council and Legislative Council, the latter of which was entrusted with law-making in the colony, although the governor had a casting vote and the power of assent and veto on all bills.

The Legislative Council was composed of members in the Executive Council, the chief justice, and non-official members nominated by the governor. These nominated members were intended to better represent the local people, including in its ranks Asian members. Mostly wealthy Asian business and professional leaders, they were not necessarily a fair representation of the locals, however. Starting with four members, it started to grow through the years, with Singaporean members increasingly dominating the council to the displeasure of the politicians from Malacca and Penang.

Despite this control by British subjects of European race, the local Asian population was usually apathetic about such control. There have been a few exceptions. Tan Cheng Lock, a member of the Executive Council who had previously opposed several policies made by the Legislative Council – such as the Aliens Ordinance of 1933 which restricted immigration – as anti-Chinese, called for direct popular representation through popular votes, and to increase the number of non-official members to form a majority in the Legislative Council. Initiatives like these were unsuccessful, however, as there was little support from wider society who were widely apathetic to local politics, with the Chinese population paying more attention towards growing their commercial and professional interests, and in the events occurring back in China, fueled largely by the rise in Chinese nationalism sentiments.

Legislative Council of the Colony of Singapore (1946–1955)Edit

After World War II, the Straits Settlements (Repeal) Act, 1946 dissolved the Straits Settlements, with Singapore becoming a Crown Colony on its own while Penang and Malacca joined the Malayan Union. The effects of the war led to major changes in attitudes towards the British colonial government, particularly with the drop in confidence in their ability to govern and protect Singapore, and a resulting desire to have greater say and participation in local affairs. With mounting local pressure, a new Colonial Constitution was passed, with the Singapore Colony Order-in-Council of 1946 to 1948 providing for public voting to take place for the first time with the first general election of 1948.

Elected members of the Legislative Council were restricted to only six non-official members, however, and voting was only open to adult British subjects who have been residents in Singapore for at least a year before the elections. The rest of the thirteen non-officials included four nominated members by the governor and three by the chambers of commerce. Nine official members complete the council. The governor continued to exercise significant power, included the right to veto bills by the council.

List of sessionsEdit

Legislative Council Commenced Session Session dates Dissolved By-elections
1 April 1948 1st 16 February 1951 1948
4th 16 January 1951 – 16 February 1951
17 April 1951 1st 17 April 1951 – 18 December 1951 5 February 1955 1952
2nd 19 February 1952 – 16 December 1952
3rd 24 February 1953 – 15 December 1953
4th 16 March 1954 – 29 January 1955

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Legislative Council". nlb.gov.sg. 17 April 2019.

External linksEdit