The final terms of agreement on full internal self-government for Singapore were made at the third and concluding all-party constitutional talks held in London in May 1958. Thereafter, the State of Singapore Bill received its first reading in the House of Commons on 17 June the following month and passed its third reading on 16 July. The bill subsequently passed the House of Lords on 24 July and became an Act of Parliament upon receiving the royal assent on 1 August.
The State of Singapore Act of 1958 vested power in the Queen to issue an order in council that would convert Singapore from a colony into a self-governing state. Published on 27 November 1958, the Singapore (Constitution) Order in Council laid down the terms of the new constitution, which included provisions for the offices of a head of state, or Yang di-Pertuan Negara, and a United Kingdom Commissioner; an Executive, Legislature and Judicature; and an Internal Security Council. Internal self-government for Singapore was achieved in May 1959 when the constitution came into force with the formation of the city state’s first fully-elected government.
1. State of Singapore bill in commons. (1958, June 18). The Singapore Free Press, p. 1; Commons passes bill for state of S’pore. (1958, July 18). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Lords gives assent for state of Singapore. (1958, July 26). The Straits Times, p. 2; A royal ‘yes’ to self-rule for S'pore. (1958, August 2). The Straits Times, p. 1.
3. Great Britain. (1958). State of Singapore Act 1958: Chapter 59, 6 & 7 Eliz. II (p. 1) [Microfilm: NL259]. London: H.M.S.O.
4. Colony of Singapore. Government Gazette. Supplement No 81 of 27 November, 1958. (1958, November 27). Singapore (Constitution) Order in Council. (S 293, 1956/1958, pp. 1–61). Singapore: Govt. Print. Off. Call no.: RCLOS 342.5957 SIN-[HWE].
5. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005 (p. 269). Singapore: NUS Press. Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR.
The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.