NATIONAL REFERENDUM 1962

This only referendum in Singapore's history was to decide on the island's position within Malaysia after the merger, which also included the North Borneo territories of Sabah and Sarawak. Singapore's major political parties campaigned for the different conditions. PAP stood for Alternative A where Singapore would retain powers over certain portfolios. SA, affiliated to Malaysia's ruling Alliance Party, stood for Alternative C where Singapore's status would be no different from other states. BS called upon voters to cast blank votes and reject merger as it did not agree to the inclusion of the North Borneo states. In the end, Alternative A received a ringing endorsement, signifying a victory for the PAP government. After the referendum, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew responded to BS accusations of non-democracy by tabling a bill to include the blank votes in one of the three alternatives chosen by the legislature. PAP and SA legislators abstained from voting but neither did BS legislators who staged a walk-out during the sitting.

Polling day: 1 September 1962 [Sat]

Electorate: 624,000
Voter turnout: 561,559 (90.0%)

RESULTS

ALTERNATIVE A
"I support merger giving Singapore autonomy in labour, education and other agreed matters as set out in Command Paper No. 33 of 1961, with Singapore citizens automatically becoming citizens of Malaysia."
397,626 (71.1%)

ALTERNATIVE B
"I support complete and unconditional merger for Singapore as a state on an equal basis with the other eleven states in accordance with the Constitutional documents of the Federation of Malaya."
9,422 (1.7%)

ALTERNATIVE C
"I support Singapore entering Malaysia on terms no less favourable than those given to the Borneo territories."
7,911 (1.4%)
BLANK VOTES
None of the above (reject merger)
144,077 (25.8%)

ALTERNATIVE A wins by margin of 253,549 (45.3%)

Valid votes: 559,036 (99.6%)

Rejected votes: 2,523 (0.4%)

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