NATIONAL REFERENDUM 1962
This only referendum in Singapore's history was to decide the terms and conditions on the merger with Malaysia. Singapore's political parties were permitted to campaign for the different options starting from 14 August 1962. PAP stood for "A", where Singapore would retain autonomy over education, labour and language policies, while all citizens would automatically become Malaysian citizens and Singapore would have a fixed number of seats in the Federal Parliament. Option "B" stipulated that the status of Singapore would be equal to other Malayan states and the former Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca, while its seats in the Federal Parliament would be allocated on proportional representation basis. Although PAP professed that this option was based on the proposal by Barisan, the latter vehemently denied this. SA, which was friendly towards Malaysia's ruling Alliance Party, stood for "C", where Singapore would enter under no less terms than the Borneo-based territories of Sabah and Sarawak, which were also joining the merger. For "B" and "C", only those born in Singapore and their descendants could directly become citizens of Malaysia. As there was no option to reject merger, coupled with the uncertain citizenship status of Singaporeans, the referendum was criticised as a "sham" by Barisan, LSP, WP, UDP, PR and UPP. Furthermore, Barisan opposed the inclusion of the East Malaysian states, which Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew supported to keep Malays as the majority race. The six opposition parties called on voters to cast blank votes and with the exception of UPP, formed a Council of Joint Action to appeal to the United Nations. After the citizenship matter was resolved with Malaysian PM Tunku Abdul Rahman, LSP pulled out of CJA as it felt its purpose was achieved and preferred the referendum be scrapped, while WP's position became untenable due to internal party friction. In the end, "A" received a resounding endorsement, symbolising victory for PAP. At the Legislative Assembly sitting following the referendum, PM Lee countered Barisan's accusations of the undemocratic process by tabling two motions, one to include uncertain votes under "A" and the other to assimilate blank votes into one of the three options selected by the legislature. 25 PAP lawmakers voted in favour of the first motion while six from SA abstained and two from UPP plus one from WP voted against. Apart from a SA and an independent Assembly Member who were absent, 14 from Barisan staged a walk-out before voting took place. For the second motion, the combined 31 PAP and SA AMs abstained, two from UPP voted against while sole WP representative David Marshall had also departed the sitting.
Polling day: 1 September 1962 [Sat]