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Singapore since it attained its independence on June 3 1959 has been a thriving trading nation It had been controlled by the British but after negotiations was relinquished to self-autonomy with the understanding that it would remain a republic Since then it has reaffirmed its non-Communist stance and continued with progressive economic policies to the delight of the free world Singapores modern history begins with its independence It quickly drafted a Constitution which called for a nine-member cabinet drawn from the 51-member legislature and a Prime Minister An additional stipulation was that there had to be a Malay Head of State in the predominately Chinese population In the first election the PAP or Peoples Action Party won 43 seats in the legislature and its leader Lee Kuan Yew became Prime Minister Sir William Goode the former Governor received the Malay position of Head of State In 1961 Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malay proposed a closer cooperation between some of the Southeast Asian countries Lee Kuan Yew supported this plan to have a central government that controlled defense foreign affairs and internal security Backing for the merger was provided by a public referendum and on September 16 1963 Malaysia consisting of the Federation of Malaya Singapore Sarawak and Northern Borneo was established Despite the overwhelming support for the merger two years later on August 9 1965 Singapore withdrew from Malaysia On September 21 of the same year Singapore became a member of the United Nations It also was joined into the Commonwealth of Nations on October 15 Singapore continued with the radical political changes and formed a republic on December 22 with Yusof bin Ishak as the first President This struggling country with a myriad of races had now to restructure its economy and focus on its unsurpassed trading potential Still in control the predominately PAP government began a series of acts and programs to help augment the economy and workforce In 1968
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