NATIONAL REFERENDUM 1962

This first and only referendum in Singapore's history was to decide on the island's position within the Federation of Malaysia after merger. The Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak would also join the Federation. Singapore's major political parties campaigned for the different conditions. PAP stood for Alternative A, where Singapore would retain powers over certain areas. SA, which took a pro-UMNO Malaysia stand, encouraged 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 Borneo territories. Alternative A received a strong endorsement, signifing 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 decide on placing the blank and rejected votes with one of the alternatives. PAP and SA legislators abstained from voting but BS legislators also did not vote and staged a walk-out.

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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