The Straits Settlements was formed by the amalgamation of Penang, Malacca and Singapore in 1826 followed by Labuan, which joined in 1906. Christmas Island and the Cocos-Keeling Islands became part of the Straits Settlements after they were incorporated into the settlement of Singapore in 1900 and 1903 respectively. After the Straits Settlements was dissolved on 1 April 1946, Singapore together with the Cocos-Keeling and Christmas islands, became a separate crown colony, while Penang and Malacca joined the new Malayan Union. Labuan was briefly annexed to Singapore before becoming a part of the new colony of British North Borneo in July 1946.
The decision to dissolve the Straits Settlements was based on a white paper issued by the British government in London in January 1946. The white paper had posited that it was imperative to regroup the Straits Settlements and the Malay states into two separate administrative entities – namely the Colony of Singapore and the Malayan Union – due to the prevailing political post-war conditions at the time. The move was deemed necessary to prepare Singapore and the Malay states for eventual self-government. The Malayan Union comprised the nine Malay states and the settlements of Penang and Malacca. The dissolution of the Straits Settlements was finalised by the passage of the Straits Settlements (Repeal) Act in the British Parliament.
As a separate crown colony, Singapore retained the hierarchical organisational structure of the Straits Settlements government with a governor at the helm who was assisted by an Advisory Executive Council, a Legislative Council and a Municipal Council. Franklin Gimson was installed as the first governor of Singapore on 3 April 1946.
1. Jarman, R. L. (1998). Annual reports of the Straits Settlements 1855–1941 (Vol. 1, pp. v–vi). Slough, UK: Archive Editions. Call no.: RSING 959.51 STR.
2. Colony of Singapore. Government Gazette. (1946, April 1). The Singapore Colony Order in Council, 1946 (G.N. 2, pp. 2–3). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 SGG; White paper on Malaya (1946, January 26). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, K. Y. L. (Ed.). (1999). The Singapore legal system (pp. 232–233). Singapore: Singapore University Press. Call no.: RSING 349.5957 SIN.
3. N. Borneo becomes a colony. (1946, July 16). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Political aspect of white paper. (1946, February 21). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Electoral representation for new Singapore Council. (1946, April 2). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, T. Y. L. (1999). The Singapore legal system (pp. 40–42). Singapore: Singapore University Press. Call no.: RSING 349.5957 SIN.
6. Colony of Singapore. Government Gazette. (1946, April 3) (G.N. 53, p. 55). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 SGG; Installation of two governors. (1946, March 31). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Installation of governor today. (1946, April 3). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
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.