29 Sep 2007
It was a complicated and chaotic situation. There were communal tensions based on ethnicity and what is generally referred to as "religion", but there were also economic tensions and political-ideological tensions (communist/non-communist/anti-communist and between local party blocs based in Singapore, or Malaya, which were ethnically based). There were also, clearly, personal rivalries between and among the political leaders. Also, Indonesia and the Philippines were interested or involved, with claims on various parts of Malaya/Malaysia. According to
the 1965 separation of Singapore, when it happened, was accomplished by the Malaysian Malays, who feared a Chinese takeover of all of Malaysia, and also wished to separate Singapore in order to bring stability and reduce communal violence in both Malaysia and Singapore.
The inclusion of Singapore into Malaysia was proposed in 1961 by Tengku Abdul Rahman (Malaysian Prime Minister and a son of the Sultan of Kedah). His proposal was welcomed by Lee Kuan Yew, the leader of Singapore. Rahman was worried about the large Chinese population of Singapore, but by including Sabah and Sarawak, along with Singapore, in Malaysia, he planned that the Malays would dominate. When he realized that his plans were imperfect, partly due to Indonesian fomented rebellions, he drastically changed course and decided to jettison Singapore.