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David Marshall is appointed the first Chief Minister 6th Apr 1955

Singapore was granted partial internal self-government under the Rendel Constitution in 1955. Prominent lawyer and leader of the Labour Front, David Marshall, became the first chief minister of Singapore when the Labour Front-Alliance coalition government was formed after the first Legislative Assembly election held in April 1955.[1] Marshall's tenure as chief minister coincided with mounting labour and student agitation that resulted in the Hock Lee Bus riots on 12 May the following month.[2]

Pressing for an end to colonial rule, Marshall led a 13-man all-party delegation in what became the first of three constitutional talks held in London in April 1956 to determine the terms of full internal self-government for Singapore with the British government.[3] The talks ended in a deadlock on 15 May over the issue of internal security. Failing in his pledge to obtain internal self-government, Marshall resigned as chief minister in June.[4] Lim Yew Hock, who was then the Minister for Labour and Welfare, succeeded Marshall as chief minister.[5]

1. Labour wins – Marshall will be chief minister. (1955, April 3). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Marshall names his men. (1955, April 7). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Chew, E., & Lee, E. (Eds.). (1991). A history of Singapore (p. 134). Singapore: Oxford University Press. Call no.: RSING 959.57 HIS.
3. Chan, H. C. (2008). A sensation of independence: A political biography of David Marshall (p. 183). Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions. Call no.: RSING 324.2092 CHA.
4. Mr. M: End colonialism or govt. quits. (1956, March 19). The Straits Times, p. 1; Lim told: Take the helm. (1956, June 8). The Straits Times, p. 1; Miller, H. (1956, May 17). Drama of the last hours. The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. The Straits Times, 8 Jun 1956, p. 1.


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.

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