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Lim Yew Hock

The Honourable
Tun Lim Yew Hock
2nd Chief Minister of Singapore
In office
8 June 1956 – 3 June 1959
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor Sir Robert Black (1955–1957)
Sir William Goode (1957–1959)
Deputy Abdul Hamid bin Haji Jumat
Preceded by David Marshall
Succeeded by Lee Kuan Yew (as Prime Minister)
Personal details
Born 15 October 1914
Singapore, Straits Settlements
Died November 30, 1984(1984-11-30) (aged 70)
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Political party Progressive Party (1947–1949)
Labour Party
Labour Front (1955–1958)
Singapore People's Alliance (1958–1963)

Haji Omar Lim Yew Hock (15 October 1914 – 30 November 1984), born Lim Yew Hock (Chinese: 林有福; pinyin: Lín Yǒufú; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lîm Iú-hok), was a Singaporean and Malaysian politician of Chinese descent, who served as a Member of the Legislative Council and Assembly from 1948 to 1963, and the second Chief Minister of Singapore from 1956 to 1959.

In his early years, Lim worked as a clerk upon graduating from the Raffles Institution. Following the end of World War II, he joined the labour movement and later began his political career, joining the Progressive Party (PP) in 1947. In 1949, he became a member of the Labour Party. He founded the Labour Front (LF) with David Marshall. The Rendel Constitution was implemented in 1955 due to political instability and greater demands for independence in post-war Singapore. LF won the Legislative Assembly election, with Marshall as Chief Minister. Lim was appointed Minister for Labour and Welfare, and served as his deputy during his term of office.

However, after talks with the Government in London for self-rule failed, Marshall resigned as Chief Minister, and Lim took over. In order to gain trust from the British, Lim suppressed leftist movements. He led an all-party delegation to re-negotiate in talks for self-rule, eventually reaching an agreement with the British for a new constitution granting internal self-rule in 1959. However, Lim lost the support of the Chinese majority due to his oppression of pro-communists, especially the crackdown of teachers and students in Chinese schools for being left-wing. This led to the increase in support for the People's Action Party (PAP), then opposition, led by Lee Kuan Yew.

Lim's Singapore People's Alliance (SPA) was defeated by the PAP in the 1959 election, causing him to step down as Chief Minister, while Lee succeeded him as Prime Minister. Since then, he was less involved in Singaporean politics and left the Assembly in 1963. He was appointed Malaysian High Commissioner in Australia by the then-Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. However, he dropped out of Malaysian politics in advance due to his disappearance in 1966 during his term of office. Lim converted to Islam and led a low profile in Saudi Arabia in his late years.


  • Life 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Early political career 1.2
    • Labour Front 1.3
    • Chief Minister 1.4
      • Chinese schools riots 1.4.1
      • Negotiation for self-rule 1.4.2
      • Acknowledging Nanyang 1.4.3
      • Loss of support 1.4.4
    • Political involvement in the Federation 1.5
    • Late years 1.6
  • Legacy and reputation 2
  • Personal life 3
  • List of Ministers 4
  • Works 5
  • Honours 6
    • Merits 6.1
    • Honorary degrees 6.2
    • Titles 6.3
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
    • English-language 8.1
    • Chinese-language 8.2
  • External links 9


Early years

Lim Yew Hock was born in Singapore of the Straits Settlements, on 15 October 1914.[1] With Fujian ancestry,[1] he was the third generation of overseas Chinese in Singapore, and son of Lim Teck Locke.[2] Lim was the eldest son in his family and has a brother and two sisters. He was English-educated at Pearl's Hill School and Outram School from young.[2] He obtained excellent results and received a four-year scholarship. He was admitted to the prestigious Raffles Institution and completed his secondary education in 1931.[3]

Lim had planned to study Law in the United Kingdom (UK) upon graduation, and was ready to sit for Cambridge entrance examinations. However, his father's sudden death made him stay.[3][4] He was only 37 years old when he died, so the assets he left behind was put under supervision of Lim's uncle, while Lim was being further mistreated.[2] As the Great Depression greatly impacted Singapore's economy, he had to give private tuition after his secondary education to support his family, made up of his mother and younger siblings.[4]

Soon after he was employed as a junior clerk of the Imperial Chemical Industries in 1934, he transferred to Cold Storage as a junior clerk,[1] stabilising his income. Later, he was promoted as stenographer because of his outstanding working performance in writing shorthand.[4] During World War II, Japan launched the Pacific War in December 1941, leading to the fall of Singapore in February 1942. Lim lived on selling charcoal, until the end of Japanese occupation and Singapore's revert to British rule in 1945, when he returned to Cold Storage as private secretary.[2][3]

Early political career

Lim got involved in trade union activities right after the war. He resigned from Cold Storage and worked as full-time Secretary-General of the Singapore Clerical and Administrative Workers' Union (SCAWU).[3][5][6] In March 1947, he became the first Singaporean to receive the British Council scholarship, to study local trade unions in Britain.[7]

With his trade union background, Lim joined the newly formed Singapore Progressive Party (PP) led by Tan Chye Cheng to start off his political career.[2] In fact, there was a major change in politics of post-war Singapore. On one hand, there were increasing calls for independence,[2] and on the other hand, the Straits Settlements was dissolved in 1946 by the British Government, while the Legislative Council of the Straits Settlements was restructured in 1948 as the Legislative Council of Singapore.[2] In March 1948, Singapore held its first Legislative Council election to elect its six out of the 22 Councillors; Three out of five PP candidates won in the election.[2][8] Lim did not participate in the election, but was appointed as an unofficial member in April, representing the trade union in the Council.[3][5]

Lim left the PP in July 1949 and joined the Labour Party of Singapore (LP), whom Lim shared a similar political stand with. Later in June 1950, he was elected LP's Chairman, and was chosen to serve as Chairman of the SCAWU in July of the same year.[2] Under support of the union, he contested in the Keppel constituency during the Legislative Council election held in April 1951, and was successfully elected as a Councillor.[2] In this election, the number of elected seats increased from six to nine; The PP won six, LP won two, while the remaining seat was won by an independent candidate.[2][9] In May 1951, Lim founded the Singapore Trades Union Congress (STUC) and appointed himself as Chairman.[1] In the same year, he was funded by the United States Information Agency to study the labour movement in the US. However, LP's internal struggle among the different factions got worse and worse.[7] The faction led by party's Secretary-General Peter Williams successfully coerced Lim to step down as Chairman. He eventually left the party.[2]

Labour Front

Soon after leaving the party, Lim was appointed as member of the Rendel Commission, chaired by British

Political offices
Preceded by
David Marshall
2nd Chief Minister of Singapore
June 1956 - June 1959
Succeeded by
Lee Kuan Yew
(as Prime Minister)
  • Legislative Council election, 1951
  • Legislative Assembly election, 1955
  • Legislative Assembly election, 1959

External links

  • Lee, Kuan Yew, 李光耀40年政論選 [Lee Kuan Yew's Forty Years in Politics]. Taipei: Linking Publishing Company, 1994. ISBN 978-9-57081-182-7
  • Lee, Kuan Yew, ]Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew: The Ups and Downs to Independence李光耀回憶錄—風雨獨立路 [. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, September 1998. ISBN 978-7-11902-255-0
  • "戰後馬來亞地區閩南人與華文教育之發展 [Hokkiens and the Development of Chinese Education in Post-war Malaya]", Xinjiapo Wenxian Guan (, 26 November 2006.
  • "林有福是李光耀的上馬石 [Lim Yew Hock, Source of Lee Kuan Yew's Rise in Power]", Xinjiapo Wenxian Guan (, 3 April 2008.
  • "南洋大學的歷史事略 [History of Nanyang University]", Nanyang University Alumni Leisure Website (, 13 September 2012.


  • "MARSHALL NAMES HIS MEN", The Straits Times, 7 April 1955, p. 1.
  • "DOCKS BOSS SIGNS THE AGREEMENT", The Straits Times, 7 July 1955, p. 7.
  • "CITY COUNCIL WORKERS TO STRIKE", The Straits Times, 15 August 1955, p. 1.
  • "GOVT. ASK ILO AID ON LABOUR TROUBLES", The Straits Times, 31 August 1955, p. 5.
  • "Hotel strike inquiry", The Straits Times, 7 October 1955, p. 1.
  • "STC strike: Mr. Lim has a plan", The Straits Times, 28 December 1955, p. 1.
  • "THE NEW CABINET WITH SIR ROBERT", The Straits Times, 9 June 1956, p. 1.
  • "Assembly Debates Bust-the-Gangs Bill", The Straits Times, 14 August 1958, p. 2.
  • "The Peoples' Alliance", The Straits Times, 12 November 1958, p. 6.
  • "FRANCIS THOMAS RESIGNS", The Straits Times, 1 February 1959, p. 1.
  • "Chew Resigns", The Straits Times, 4 March 1959, p. 1.
  • "A busy day for Lim", The Straits Times, 7 March 1959, p. 1.
  • "'NO' TO NANYANG DEGREES", The Straits Times, 23 June 1959, p. 1.
  • "Tengku takes the pulse of Tun Lim Yew Hock", The Straits Times, 27 September 1961, p. 7.
  • Morais, John Victor, The Who's who in Malaysia. Solai Press, 1965.
  • "The Diplomat & the Samaritan", Time Magazine, 1 July 1966.
  • "Sandra: I'm ready to send a bundle of photos", The Straits Times, 24 August 1966, p. 11.
  • Morais, John Victor, The Who's who in Malaysia. Solai Press, 1967.
  • "TUN LIM: I HAVE QUIT FOREIGN MINISTRY", The Straits Times, 7 November 1968, p. 11.
  • "I knew it was coming says Yew Hock", The Straits Times, 30 November 1968, p. 1.
  • YEO, Kim-wah, Political Development of Singapore, 1945-1955. Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1973.
  • "Lim Yew Hock dies in Jeddah", The Straits Times, 1 December 1984, p. 1.
  • "Man who thumped the Reds", The Straits Times, 1 December 1984, p. 14.
  • Lim, Yew Hock, Reflections. Kuala Lumpur: Pustaka Antara, 1986. ISBN 978-9-67937-029-4
  • "1956 - Student Riots", Headlines, Lifelines, 1999.
  • Wong, Ting-hong, "State Formation, Hegemony, and Nanyang University in Singapore, 1953 to 1965", Formosan Education and Society, 1, 59-87, 2000, pp. 59–85.
  • Wong, Ting-hong, Hegemonies Compared: State Formation and Chinese School Politics in Postwar Singapore and Hong Kong. Great Britain: Routledge, 2002. ISBN 978-0-41593-313-1
  • Lau, Albert, "Lim Yew Hock", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Mukunthan, Michael, "Lim Yew Hock", Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board Singapore, 2004.
  • Nor-Afidah, "Nanyang University", Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board Singapore, 2005.
  • "11 April 1957: Britain agrees to Singapore self-rule", BBC On This Day 1950 - 2005, 2005.
  • Tan, Guan Heng, 100 Inspiring Rafflesians: 1823-2003. New Jersey : World Scientific, 2008. ISBN 978-9-81277-892-5
  • Lee, Edwin, Singapore: The Unexpected Nation. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008. ISBN 978-9-81230-797-2
  • Tan, Kevin, Marshall of Singapore. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008. ISBN 978-9-81230-877-1
  • Trocki, Carl A., Paths Not Taken: Political Pluralism in Post-War Singapore. Singapore: NUS Press, 2008. ISBN 978-9-97169-378-7
  • Ng, Tze Lin Tania, "Rendel Commission", Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board Singapore, 2009.
  • Quah, Jon S. T., Public Administration Singapore-Style. UK: Emerald Group Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978-1-84950-925-1
  • "Singapore Legislative Assembly General Election - 1955", Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board Singapore, 2010.
  • Sutherland, Duncan, "Sir Robert Black", Singapore Infopedia, 25 June 2010.
  • Corfield, Justin, Historical Dictionary of Singapore. Singapore: Scarecrow Press, 2011.
  • "A Forgotten Past – The Curious Case of Lim Yew Hock", Remember Singapore, 13 November 2012.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Corfield (2011), pp. 159-160.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Lau (2004)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Man who thumped the Reds" (1 December 1984)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Tan, Guan Heng (2007), p. 141.
  5. ^ a b c d Mukunthan (2004)
  6. ^ a b c d e "Lim Yew Hock dies in Jeddah" (1 December 1984)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Morais (1965), p. 234.
  8. ^ "LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL GENERAL ELECTION 1948",, retrieved on 12 January 2013.
  9. ^ "LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL GENERAL ELECTION 1951",, retrieved on 12 January 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ng (2009)
  11. ^ Quah, p. 37.
  12. ^ a b Sutherland (2010)
  13. ^ "LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY GENERAL ELECTION 1955",, retrieved on 12 January 2013.
  14. ^ "Singapore Legislative Assembly General Election - 1955" (2010)
  15. ^ Wong (2002), p. 82.
  16. ^ "MARSHALL NAMES HIS MEN" (7 April 1955)
  17. ^ Tan, Kevin (2008), pp.269-270.
  18. ^ "DOCKS BOSS SIGNS THE AGREEMENT" (7 July 1955)
  19. ^ "GOVT. ASK ILO AID ON LABOUR TROUBLES" (31 August 1955)
  20. ^ "Hotel strike inquiry" (7 October 1955)
  21. ^ "CITY COUNCIL WORKERS TO STRIKE" (15 August 1955)
  22. ^ "STC strike: Mr. Lim has a plan" (28 December 1955)
  23. ^ Lee, Edwin (2008) , p. 107.
  24. ^ a b c d Corfield (2011), p. xxv.
  25. ^ a b c "THE NEW CABINET WITH SIR ROBERT" (9 June 1956)
  26. ^ Trocki (2008), p. 118.
  27. ^ Lee, Kuan Yew (September 1998)
  28. ^ Tan, Kevin (2008)
  29. ^ a b c Lee, Edwin (2008), p. 137.
  30. ^ a b c d e "1956 - Student Riots" (1999)
  31. ^ a b c d Lee (2008), p. 138.
  32. ^ a b c d Lee (2008), p. 139.
  33. ^ a b c "11 April 1957: Britain agrees to Singapore self-rule" (2005)
  34. ^ a b c d e f Corfield (2011), p. xxvi.
  35. ^ Yeo (1973), pp. 152-153.
  36. ^ a b c d e f g Wong (2000), p. 69.
  37. ^ a b Nor-Afidah (2005)
  38. ^ a b "戰後馬來亞地區閩南人與華文教育之發展" (26 November 2006)
  39. ^ a b c "南洋大學的歷史事略" (13 September 2012)
  40. ^ "'NO' TO NANYANG DEGREES" (23 June 1959)
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "A Forgotten Past – The Curious Case of Lim Yew Hock" (2012)
  42. ^ Trocki (2008), pp. 119-120.
  43. ^ "Assembly Debates Bust-the-Gangs Bill" (14 August 1958)
  44. ^ Lee, Kuan Yew (1944), p. 148.
  45. ^ "CITY COUNCIL ELECTION 1957",, retrieved on 12 January 2013.
  46. ^ "CITY COUNCIL BY-ELECTION 1958",, retrieved on 12 January 2013.
  47. ^ "The Peoples' Alliance" (12 November 1958)
  48. ^ a b c "LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY GENERAL ELECTION 1959",, retrieved on 12 January 2013.
  49. ^ a b c d e f Tan, Guan Heng (2007), p. 142.
  50. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Diplomat & the Samaritan" (1966)
  51. ^ a b "Sandra: I'm ready to send a bundle of photos" (24 August 1966)
  52. ^ a b "TUN LIM: I HAVE QUIT FOREIGN MINISTRY" (7 November 1968)
  53. ^ Morais (1966), p. 166.
  54. ^ a b "I knew it was coming says Yew Hock" (30 November 1968)
  55. ^ "Tengku takes the pulse of Tun Lim Yew Hock" (27 September 1961)
  56. ^ Lim (1986), p.125.
  57. ^ a b "林有福是李光耀的上馬石" (3 April 2008)
  58. ^ "FRANCIS THOMAS RESIGNS" (1 February 1959)
  59. ^ "Chew Resigns" (4 March 1959)
  60. ^ "A busy day for Lim" (7 March 1959)
  61. ^ "Issue 42414", London Gazette, 18 July 1961, p.4.


  • Lim Yew Hock (15 October 1914 - August 1958)
  • Tun Lim Yew Hock, SMN (August 1958 - November 1968)
  • Lim Yew Hock (November 1968 - 1972)
  • Haji Omar Lim Yew Hock (1972 - 30 November 1984)


Honorary degrees



  • Reflections. Kuala Lumpur: Pustaka Antara, 1986. ISBN 978-9-67937-029-4


  • Lim Yew Hock Government (7 June 1956 - 3 June 1959):[25]
  • Changes
    • February 1959: Francis Thomas resigned and was replaced by M. P. D. Nair.[58]
    • March 1959: Chew Swee Kee resigned and the post was held concurrently by Lim.[59][60]

List of Ministers

Appendix: Life experiences
  • Junior Clerk, Imperial Chemical Industries
  • Junior Clerk, Cold Storage; Later promoted Stenographer and Private Secretary; Lived on selling charcoal during the fall of Singapore
  • Secretary-General of the Singapore Clerical and Administrative Workers' Union
  • Singapore Progressive Party member
  • Unofficial member of the Legislative Council of Singapore
    (April 1948 - April 1951)
  • Singapore Labour Party member
    (July 1949 - December 1952)
  • Chairman of the Singapore Labour Party
    (June 1950 - December 1952)
  • Chairman of the Singapore Clerical and Administrative Workers' Union
    (July 1950 - 1955)
  • Singapore Legislative Councillor for Keppel constituency
    (April 1951 - April 1955)
  • Chairman of the Singapore Trades Union Congress
    (May 1951 - 1955)
  • Member of the Rendel Commission
    (July 1953 - February 1954)
  • Labour Front member
    (April 1954 - November 1958)
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly of Singapore for Havelock constituency
    (April 1955 - June 1959)
  • Member of the Council of Ministers
    (April 1955 - June 1959)
  • Minister for Labour and Welfare
    (April 1955 - June 1959)
  • Chief Minister of Singapore
    (June 1956 - June 1959)
  • Chairman of Labour Front
    (March–November 1958)
  • Chairman of the Singapore People's Alliance
    (November 1958 - September 1963)
  • Singapore Minister for Education
    (March–June 1959)
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly of Singapore for Cairnhill constituency
    (June 1959 - September 1963)
  • Malaysian High Commissioner to Australia
    (January 1964 - July 1966)
  • Deputy Secretary (Special Duties), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia
    (August 1966 - August 1968)

Lim married Chia Kim Neo in 1937. They had one son and three daughters.[2] After having been through his disappearance in 1966 and resignation from the Malaysian Government in 1968, Lim's marriage with Chia broke down.[2] When he converted to Islam and was living in Saudi Arabia in his late years, he remarried ethnic Chinese Hajjah Hasnah Abdullah, another Muslim convert. Both of them had a daughter with the name of Hayati.[2]

Personal life

I have always been humble, irrespective of my position in life... I have found that there is no true greatness in greatness itself, but there is truly greatness in humility. Lim Yew Hock was not great when he was Chief Minister in Singapore, but Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock was great, when he remained humble, in his relationship with his fellow men.[49]

After he stepped down as Chief Minister, he gradually declined in Singaporean politics. His political career in Singapore came to an end when he chose not to contest in the Legislative Assembly election in 1963. Lim got involved in politics in the Malaysian politics in the following year.[5][41] However, it, too, came to an end after his disappearance in 1966 in Australia.[41] He eventually chose to lead a low-profile life in Saudi Arabia and was no longer involved in Singaporean nor Malaysian politics.[41] Lim made such an evaluation about himself in his autobiography published after his death:

Despite having achieved full internal self-rule for Singapore, he lost the support of the people, handing over the post of Prime Minister to Lee Kuan Yew.[41] There have been views, showing that despite losing the support of the people, he had achieved full internal self-governance for Singapore and eliminated left-wing influence in the PAP, paving the way for Lee and his PAP to remain in power thereafter for a long period of time.[57]

Unlike his predecessor Marshall, Lim chose to cooperate with the British. He adopted a tough stance against leftist groups, students and teachers, gaining trust from the British, leading to re-negotiations for self-rule with the British.[41][49] Under his leadership, Singapore reached an agreement with Britain following a series of talks, granting full internal self-rule in 1959.[49] However, he lost the support of the Chinese majority due to his crackdown of teachers and students in Chinese schools.[3][31] Moreover, the British had gradually changed their position to support the opposition PAP and its leader Lee Kuan Yew throughout the successive self-rule talks in London, tipping Lee as the potential future leader of Singapore.[41][57]

Unlike Lee Kuan Yew, David Marshall, Toh Chin Chye and other Singaporean political leaders who emerged after World War II, who received their tertiary education in prestigious UK institutions, Lim had only received local education.[4] Despite so, he worked as a clerk at the start and joined trade unions. He later became Legislative Councillor and Assemblyman, and appointed as Chief Minister, as an influential politician in colonial Singapore.[3][4]

Legacy and reputation

In his late years, Lim moved to Islamic Development Bank.[6][56] He died on 30 November 1984 at his Jeddah home, at the age of 70, and was buried in Mecca that night.[6] His autobiography, Reflections, was published after his death in Kuala Lumpur in 1986.[1]

Lim met with a traffic accident and was badly injured in September 1961.[55] Despite having made a full recovery, he had occasional health problems, for instance, before his disappearance in June 1966, he had undergone two months of medical treatment earlier on.[41] After resigning from the Malaysian Foreign Affairs Ministry, Lim initially settled in Malacca,[6] until he met with a broken marriage with his wife, when he chose to convert to Islam and emigrated to Mecca, Saudi Arabia to start a new life. He adopted an Islamic-sounding name, Haji Omar Lim Yew Hock.[6]

Late years

Before his disappearance, the Foreign Ministry had scheduled for him to serve as Malaysian Ambassador to Italy. However, after the incident, the Foreign Ministry arranged for him to work as Deputy Secretary (Special Duties) to the Ministry instead.[52][53] Lim resigned from the Foreign Ministry in August 1968, putting an end to his political career in Malaysia.[3][52] Shortly after, the Government abruptly revoked his title as Tun in late November of the same year, making his disappearance in Australia a bewildering mystery.[54] According to his autobiography published after his death, he chose to go missing because he had a broken relationship with his wife and he was emotionally overwhelmed.[2]

Soon after, Lim returned to Kuala Lumpur in July 1966, under his family members' accompaniment.[50] In Malaysia, Lim was alleged for having an extramarital affair with Nelson the stripper, but Lim denied.[41] Nelson also spoke to the reporters in Australia; she stressed that she and Lim were just ordinary friends and that she was totally unaware of his whereabouts during his disappearance.[51] Malaysian Parliament opposition members even invited her to Malaysia to answer queries about her relationship with Lim, which she declined; but she said that she could send a pile of photographs of her to them if they wanted.[51]

After nine days of disappearance, Vincent Laus, a guesthouse operator drove Lim back to Canberra on 19 June 1966, where Lim was under poor mental condition.[41] Laus claimed that he met Lim in the Sydney streets and found him vomiting and in discomfort; he brought him back to his guesthouse to rest, only to realise several days later that he was whom the police was searching for.[50] However, the media raised doubts about Laus' words, including why he had taken days to find out Lim's identity, and why he had not sought the police for help, instead of driving Lim personally back to Canberra.[50] The Malaysian Government declined to comment further on his disappearance, while its envoy only described Laus as a 'Good Samaritan', filling the event with mystery.[50]

The Australian police conducted a large-scale search on Lim; Malaysian Government deployed an envoy to Australia to find his whereabouts, while his wife and two of his daughters also flew there to aid in the search.[50] In an interview by Australian televisions, Lim's wife, in tears, asked for her husband's early return.[41] On the other hand, the envoy from the Malaysian Government said that Lim was probably "wounded from stumbling upon a stone, and might be currently under care from someone with unknown identity".[50] While in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman spoke to the Australian reporters over the telephone, calling for Lim to show up; The Tunku said, "My friend, come back, I will welcome you, and am willing to let bygones be bygones."[50]

During his term of office in Canberra, Australia, he was reported missing on 11 June 1966.[50] A reporter in Sydney claimed to have seen Lim taking a domestic flight to Sydney, with the alias of 'Hawk'. There were also rumours that he patronised the Paradise Club in Kings Cross, New South Wales and Sandra Nelson, a 19-year-old stripper was his all-time favourite.[50] However, Lim's exact whereabouts were unknown, and the police failed to get in touch with Nelson.[50]

Having friendly relations with Lim, the Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman intervened in Lim's disappearance in Australia in 1966

Following a referendum held in Singapore, the Federation of Malaysia, which comprised Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo, was proclaimed in September 1963. The Legislative Assembly of Singapore held an election on the same month; the SPA had formed the Singapore Alliance Party together with some other members of the Opposition back in 1961, under the support of the ruling Alliance Party in Malaysia, with the attempts of challenging the PAP once again.[3][41] However, Lim did not contest in the election, while the Alliance Party did not win any seat; Lim resigned his chairmanship from the SPA, fading out of Singaporean politics.[3][5][41][49] In January 1964, the then-Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman appointed Lim as Malaysian High Commissioner in Australia.[3] When Singapore gained independence from Malaysia in August 1965, he acquired Malaysian citizenship and was issued Malaysian passport.[3] Remained in office as the High Commissioner, he described himself as a 'child of estranged parents', hoping for the reunification of the two states.[3]

Lim won the Cairnhill seat in the Legislative Assembly election of 1959 and despite serving as the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, his political influence unceasingly reduced.[2][3] Lim started to lose interest in Singaporean politics; Back during his tenure as Chief Minister, he had already established friendly relations with Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Prime Minister of Malaya, and had expressed increased concern for politics in Malaya;[2][49] He had also called for the merger of the State of Singapore with Malaya, so as to bring an end to British rule in Singapore.[3]

Political involvement in the Federation

On 3 June 1959, he officially stepped down as Chief Minister.[34] The British officially proclaimed the establishment of the State of Singapore, marking the end of British colonial rule.[34] PAP's Secretary-General Lee Kuan Yew was sworn in on 5 June as the first Prime Minister of Singapore, where Singapore came under full internal self-governance.[34]

[48]) did not win any seat.Francis Thomas (led by David Marshall) and the LF (led by Workers' Party), the E. H. Holloway (led by Liberal Socialist Party The [48] Under the new constitution, the

Conversely, under the leadership of Chairman Toh Chin Chye and Secretary-General Lee Kuan Yew, the PAP, then opposition, won the support of the people by accusing the LF for being the puppet of the British Government.[2][3] After a major restructure, the City Council held its first election in 1957; The PAP won 13 out of 32 seats while the LF won only four.[45] In the following year, the LF was defeated once again by the PAP in the Kallang by-election held in July.[3][46] In November 1958, Lim founded the Singapore People's Alliance (SPA), with himself as Chairman. However, he failed in his attempts to re-gain support from the people.[3][47]

Lee Kuan Yew, the then-Secretary-General of the People's Action Party (PAP)

Even though Lim had successfully achieved self-rule from the British, he lost the support of the Chinese majority due to his tough stance in the crackdown of teachers and students from Chinese schools.[2][3][31] He had aroused negative public reaction in several other aspects; This includes the resale of Christmas Island to the Government of Australia at a low price, under the request of the British Government,[41] and also the insistence of extending the validity of the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance.[42] There was a rapid decline in support for the Lim's LF due to several other factors: His government was not able to crack down the rapid growth of secret societies, and gang fights occurred frequently, resulting in the deterioration of law and order;[43] The lives of the people had not improved and there was no economic growth; The PAP exposed Chew Swee Kee, the then-Education Minister in early 1959 for being alleged of accepting large sums of money.[44]

Loss of support

Lim also reassessed the possibility of full acknowledgment of Nanyang's university status. He appointed the Prescott Commission in January 1959, chaired by S. L. Prescott to evaluate the standard and recognisability of Nanyang's degree.[36] Nevertheless, in the Prescott Report submitted to the Government in March the same year, the performance of Nanyang was bitterly criticised by the Commission, which had reservations about granting full recognition to Nanyang's degrees by the Government.[36] Lim, who did not want to lose support from the people and put his election campaign in danger, chose not to release the report immediately. The report was not made public until after the establishment of the State of Singapore in July 1959. By that time Lim had already stepped down as Chief Minister.[36][39][40]

Ever since Lim took over as Chief Minister, the Government had taken a positive attitude to Nanyang's development despite its policies of non-recognition to Nanyang's degrees.[36] The building of Nanyang's campus was completed in March 1958 and Sir William Goode, the-then Governor was invited to host the institute's opening ceremony.[37] In October 1958, Lim's government announced that it would provide financial assistance to Nanyang, where half of the $840,000 (Malaya and British Borneo dollar) would be used for Nanyang's expenditures while the other half would be used for student bursaries. This was the first time Nanyang received government funding.[36] Lim had the Assembly pass the Nanyang University Ordinance in March 1959, officially granting Nanyang university status.[36]

Lim had taken a friendlier approach to the Nanyang University prior to the creation of a self-ruling state in June 1959, in order to gain the support of the Chinese majority.[36] Nanyang was the first university with Chinese as its main medium of instruction, which was funded and set up by Tan Lark Sye and other Singaporean businessmen with Fujian ancestry in 1953.[37][38][39] However, Nanyang had been disfavoured by the Government due to the latter's English-first policies and the former's alleged CPM involvement.[38] During Marshall's rule, the-then Minister for Education Chew Swee Kee said in May 1956 that degrees conferred by Nanyang would not be recognised by the Government.[39]

For the first time in 1958, Nanyang University was funded by the Government

Acknowledging Nanyang

Meanwhile, Lim prompted the Assembly in October 1957 to pass the Singapore Citizenship Ordinance.[24] The Ordinance defined Singapore citizens as those who were born in Singapore, who were born outside Singapore whose fathers were born in Singapore and did not hold foreign nationality, who were born in Malaya and had been living in Singapore for at least two years, who were citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies living in Singapore for at least two years, and who were foreigners living in Singapore for at least ten years.[35] In recognition of his performance, the University of Malaya conferred Lim the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in September 1957,[7] while he was presented the rank of Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara (S.M.N) in August 1958 by Malaysian King Tuanku Abdul Rahman, therefore being granted the title of Tun.[7]

British Government was assured of Singapore's internal security due to Lim's tough stance against the communists. This allowed re-negotiations for self-rule from December 1956 to June 1958.[2] Under Lim's leadership, a delegation of representatives from various political parties headed to London in March 1957 to commence talks with the British for self-rule.[24][32] They reached a consensus in April, while Lim signed a new constitutional agreement with Secretary of State for the Colonies Alan Lennox-Boyd on behalf of Singapore.[32][33] Representatives from Singapore drafted a new constitution;[33][34] In August 1958, the British Parliament passed the State of Singapore Act.[34] Based on the agreement, there would be a great increase in the number of Legislative Assembly seats to be contested in the 1959 election, where all seats would be popularly elected;[32] Singapore would become a self-governing state, with the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers being replaced respectively by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Singapore, in charge of all affairs except defence and diplomacy; The Yang di-Pertuan Negara would replace the existing Governor.[32][33]

Negotiation for self-rule

Under the support of Black, the riot police were dispatched by Lim to clear the school grounds. The Government also imposed a curfew from 26 October to 2 November, suppressing the riots effectively.[3][24][29][30] However, the riots killed 13 and injured hundred more in the five days.[30][31] Hundreds were arrested, including assemblymen Lim Chin Siong, Fong Swee Suan and Devan Nair, who were radicals from the opposition PAP. They were released when the PAP came to power in 1959.[30][31]

To enhance the internal security, Lim arrested the Singapore Women’s Association, the Chinese Musical Gong Society and the Singapore Chinese Middle School Students Union were banned by the authorities.[30] The series of raids prompted the teachers and students from Chinese schools in October 1956 to launch sit-in protests at Chung Cheng High School and The Chinese High School, eventually escalating into riots.[29][30]

When Marshall led a delegation in March to May 1956 to negotiate talks with the British for self-rule, Black emphasised the priority of internal security issues,[10][12] while anti-colonialist LF was ineffective in suppression of the series of riots incited by the communists. As a result, talks broke down and complete self-rule was refused.[10]

The Chinese middle schools riots in October 1956 broke out at The Chinese High School

After Lim succeeded as Chief Minister, his top priority was to achieve full self-governance for Singapore from the British Government.[2] The British had taken to account Singapore's future early during Marshall's tenure as Chief Minister. The British had agreed to Malaya's (Malaysia's predecessor) independence, and due to the strategic value of Singapore's geography, the British wanted to continue taking control over foreign and defence affairs of Singapore. Hence, the British are inclined to granting Singapore self-governance instead of independence.[27] Though Sir Robert Black, the then-Governor had taken a more open and friendly approach to self-governance for Singapore, as compared to his predecessor Sir John Nicoll, he believed in gradual self-governance. If the handover of power were to be carried out too hastily, self-governing political leaders might not have sufficient experience in governing.[28]

Chinese schools riots

Chief Minister

Lim's Council of Minister was similar to that of Marshall's. Besides continuing to serve as Labour and Welfare Minister, while the other members include his deputy Abdul Hamid bin Haji Jumat (Minister for Local Government, Lands and Housing), J. M. Jumabhoy (Minister for Commerce and Industry), Francis Thomas (Minister for Communications and Works), Chew Swee Kee (Minister for Education) and A. J. Braga (Minister for Health).[25] Marshall, former Chief Minister, later left the LF and founded the Worker's Party.[26] In March 1958, Lim was chosen as LF's Chairman.[7]

Soon after, Marshall led an all-party delegation with Governor Sir Robert Black to London, UK in March 1956, to negotiate with the British for self-rule in Singapore.[10] However, talks failed by May 1956, and in his return to Singapore, Marshall resigned as Chief Minister on 6 June.[10] On 8 June 1956, Marshall's deputy, Lim, who was also Minister for Labour and Welfare, took over and became Singapore's second Chief Minister.[4][24][25]

After the election, Lim was appointed by Marshall as Minister for Labour and Welfare, while he resigned his chairmanship from the STUC.[3][16] Then, workers were on strikes one after another, often escalating into civil unrest incidents, so Lim, as Labour and Welfare Minister, had to meditate and assist in subsiding such strikes.[2] He had handled the April–May 1955 Hock Lee bus strikes,[17] May–July 1955 Singapore Harbour Board Staff Association strikes,[18] and also strikes from hotels, City Council of Singapore, Singapore Traction Company, etc.[19][20][21][22] The Hock Lee bus strikes turned into a riot in May 1955, killing four and injuring many, including two police officers who died.[23]

In April 1955, in the subsequent UMNO-MCASMU, three), People's Action Party (PAP, three), Democratic Party (two) and three independent candidates.[13][14] After the election, Marshall became Singapore's first Chief Minister, but as the LF did not obtain absolute majority, he formed a coalition government with the Singapore Alliance, and appointed two pro-LF unofficial nominated members into the Assembly under the help of Governor Sir John Nicoll.[15] Lim was elected as Havelock constituency's Assemblyman. He was the only popularly elected Legislative Councillor who transited over to the Legislative Assembly.[1][4]

Lim won in the Legislative Assembly election of 1955, representing Havelock constituency, and was appointed Minister for Labour and Welfare. The photograph shows the former Legislative Assembly House of Singapore

The existing Executive Council was replaced by the newly formed Council of Ministers, chaired by the Governor, composed of the three ex officio members (Chief Secretary, Attorney General, Financial Secretary) and the remaining six unofficial members, inclusive of the Chief Minister and five other members from the Assembly.[10] Although the Governor presided over the Council of Ministers, the Chief Minister could lead discussions, whereas the other Council members who was also Assemblymen would also take up different ministerial posts, similar to the Westminster and parliamentary system.[10][12]

In February 1955, a new constitution, the Rendel Constitution was implemented. Singapore would create its first Legislative Assembly with majority of the seats popularly elected, to replace the existing Council.[10] 25 out of 32 seats would be elected by the general populace, four seats would be allocated to Governor-appointed unofficial members, three seats taken by ex officio members, respectively the Chief Secretary, Attorney-General and Financial Secretary, while the remaining seat would be for the unofficial Speaker of the Assembly nominated by the Governor.[10] Moreover, the post of the Chief Minister was added, which would be assumed by the leader of the majority party in the Assembly, sharing the responsibility with the Governor.[10] The Governor continued to take control over areas such as external affairs, internal security, defence, broadcasting and public relations, whereas the power of policy-making for the people's welfare lied in the hands of the Chief Minister.[10][11]

[2], with Marshall as Chairman.David Marshall barrister and well-known Francis Thomas (LF) with Labour Front At the same time, Lim formed the [2] The Commission subsequently submitted a report in February 1954 for major changes in constitutional law of Singapore, heading towards self-rule.[1]

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