Singapore became the 104th member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank on 3 August 1966. Singapore had sought out the two institutions for financial advice and loans prior to its application for membership. After the political separation between Singapore and Malaysia in August 1965, both countries wooed the IMF for its technical and brokering expertise in the subsequent negotiations over the adoption of a common currency and banking system. Despite the breakdown in negotiations and the decision to issue separate currencies, Singapore highly valued the two IMF missions sent to reconcile the wishes of the two governments. Singapore had also previously benefitted from loans provided by the World Bank for two major projects: the loan for the construction of the first phase of the Pasir Panjang 'B' Power Station was approved on 16 May 1963, and the loan for the Johor River Water Project was granted on 2 March 1965.
Singapore applied for membership to join the IMF and the World Bank on 8 September 1965. After the two institutions came to an agreement over the terms of the membership application on 21 February 1966, Singapore was given six months to accept the membership offer. Then Finance Minister Lim Kim San tabled the Bretton Woods Agreements Bill in parliament on 22 June 1966 on a Certificate of Urgency. Lim’s justifications for Singapore joining the IMF and the World Bank were as follows: to boost Singapore's capacity to manage its balance of payments; to instil global confidence in Singapore's monetary policies; and to gain continued access to IMF technical expertise and advice on the country's economy. In addition, membership to the IMF was a prerequisite for joining the World Bank, which would in turn make Singapore eligible for more development loans. The Bretton Woods Agreements Act came into effect on 4 July 1966, thereby completing the constitutional process of obtaining government approval for Singapore’s application for membership to the two institutions.
On 3 August 1966, Goh Koh Pui, then Chairman and General Manager of the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA), finalised Singapore's entry into the IMF and the World Bank by representing the nation in Washington D.C. to sign the articles of agreement of the IMF and the World Bank.
1. Singapore year book [Microfilm: NL6554] (p.133). (1964–1970). Singapore: Government Printing Office.
2. Singapore. Parliament. Parliamentary Debates: Official Report. (1966, August 26). Common Currency and Banking System (Statement by the Minister for Finance) (Vol. 25, cols. 267–269). Retrieved August 14, 2013, from the Parliament of Singapore website: http://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/topic.jsp?currentTopicID=00052514-ZZ¤tPubID=00069148-ZZ&topicKey=00069148-ZZ.00052514-ZZ_1%2Bid019_19660826_S0004_T00141-ministerial-statement%2B
3. Singapore. Parliament. Parliamentary Debates: Official Report. (1966, June 22). Bretton Woods Agreements Bill (Vol. 25, cols. 123–124). Retrieved August 14, 2013, from the Parliament of Singapore website: http://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/topic.jsp?currentTopicID=00052439-ZZ¤tPubID=00069146-ZZ&topicKey=00069146-ZZ.00052439-ZZ_1%2Bid026_19660622_S0003_T00041-bill%2B
4. Singapore. Public Utilities Board. (1964). Annual report [Microfilm: NL 12706] (pp. 12–13). Singapore. Public Utilities Board.
5. Singapore. Public Utilities Board. (1967). Annual report [Microfilm: NL 12706] (p. 7). Singapore. Public Utilities Board.
6. Singapore Attorney-General's Chambers. (2012, March 31). Bretton Woods Agreements Act (Chapter 27). Retrieved August 14, 2013, from Singapore Statutes Online: http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/search/display/view.w3p;ident=241ac209-08a2-48e4-a320-682175e26139;page=0;query=DocId%3A90782220-c2b0-42ff-9853-45a486a0f698%20Depth%3A0%20ValidTime%3A14%2F08%2F2013%20TransactionTime%3A14%2F08%2F2013%20Status%3Apublished;rec=0
7. Singapore Parliament, 22 Jun 1966, col. 124.
8. Singapore Attorney-General's Chambers, 31 Mar 2012.
9. Singapore year book [Microfilm: NL 6554], 1967, p. 133.
The information in this article is valid as at 2013 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.