The Chief Minister of Singapore was the head of government of the crown colony of Singapore until its abolition on 3 June 1959. The Chief Minister was appointed by the Governor of Singapore. The Chief Minister was the party leader of the largest party in the Legislative Assembly.
Powers of Chief MinisterEdit
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. 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. 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. 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 lay in the hands of the Chief Minister.
List of Chief MinistersEdit
|Chief Minister||Start of term||End of term||Ward contested|
|David Saul Marshall||April 6, 1955||June 7, 1956||Cairnhill|
|Lim Yew Hock||June 7, 1956||June 3, 1959||Havelock|
Lim Yew HockEdit
Omar Lim Yew Hock (born Lim Yew Hock (Template:Zh); 15 October 1914 – 30 November 1984) 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 after he graduated 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.
The second and last Chief Minister of Singapore. He served as Minister of Labour and Welfare in David Marshall's Cabinet and concurrently held this position as Chief Minister. He led the breakout from the Labour Front to form the Singapore People's Alliance. He was defeated by Lee Kuan Yew in the 1959 general election. The latter was appointed as the first Prime Minister of Singapore.
In 1956, the first Chief Minister David Marshall resigned after failing to gain full independence from British rule. Lim, then Minister for Labour and Welfare, became the Chief Minister and headed a new coalition government. He began to suppress the anti-colonial activists and communists. He banished two Chung Cheng High School teachers and dissolved the Chinese Middle School Students' Union.
When the Chinese Middle School riots broke out in October 1956, Lim decided to take aggressive steps to stop the violence. With the support of the British Governor and Commissioner of Police, troops with tear gas and helicopters were brought in to end the riots. Many key pro-communist union leaders in the People's Action Party (PAP), including Lim Chin Siong, were detained under the Public Security Act.
With his strong measures against the unrests, the British gained more confidence in the local government's handling of internal security. Lim led an all-party delegation to negotiate with the British in a series of Merdeka talks from 1956 to 1958, and won Singapore a new constitution granting internal self rule.
Following internal differences with Marshall, he dissolved the Labour Front and formed the Singapore People's Alliance (SPA). However, his tough measures ultimately led to his political downfall. It alienated a large portion of the Chinese-speaking electorate and this enabled the PAP to win the 1959 general election and form a new government of Singapore. The other reason for his political downfall was that Christmas Island, administered by Singapore at that time, was transferred to Australia in 1957, and that incident made Lim Yew Hock unpopular.
However, he retained his seat in the Legislative Assembly by winning at Cairnhill instead of re-running at Havelock, beating incumbent David Marshall, the seat which he held until 1963. Under Lim Yew Hock, the SPA joined the Singapore Alliance Party on July 1961, an extension of the federal Alliance Party which included the local branches of the United Malay National Organization, Malayan Chinese Association, and the Malayan Indian Congress. Despite his high profile within the Singapore Alliance, Lim chose not to stand in the 1963 Singapore general election. The Singapore Alliance subsequently performed poorly during the election and lost all seven of its seats, including the four held by the People's Alliance.
In 1964, Lim was appointed Malaysian High Commissioner to Australia, based in Canberra. In June 1966, he went missing from Canberra. A massive police search was unsuccessful in locating him. His wife and daughters went on national television to plead for his safe return, and the Malysian Prime Minister at the time, Tunku Abdul Rahman, made a personal appeal from Kuala Lumpur and sent Malaysia's chief of protocol, Enche Abdul Rahman Jallal, to Sydney to help in the search.
It was discovered that Lim had flown from Canberra to Sydney under the name "Hawk". It was also revealed that he had an ongoing association with a 19-year-old Kings Cross stripper, Sandra Nelson. Initially, she too could not be located, but later said she had no idea where Lim had been. Then, just as mysteriously as he had disappeared, Lim turned up after being missing for ten days. A passing stranger had discovered him ill, wandering on a Sydney street, and took him in. Apparently the stranger was not aware of Lim’s identity for nine days, and had not even made the connection from the nationwide media coverage of his disappearance. The stranger drove him to Canberra to return him to the High Commission. The stranger’s identity was never revealed.