Year 1959

Singapore Go-Kart Club Formed

Sunday, 6th December 1959

The Singapore Go-Kart Club was formed and will be organising Go-Kart Racing in Singapore. The Club is affiliated to the Singapore Motor Club. Go-Kart racing was first introduced in 1957 in the United States.

Lightning Killed Two

Sunday, 6th December 1959

A Malay couple were killed by lightning as they sat in the doorway of their attap house in Jalan Kayu. They were resting there after lunch when they were struck by a bolt of lighting during a severe thunder storm. Their friend who is resting in an adjoining room suffered burns on his back. The rain also caused flooding in low-lying areas along Bukit Timah Road.

National Loyalty Week

Thursday, 3rd December 1959

National Loyalty Week was held between 3 - 10 December 1959 to encourage a sense of loyalty to the new state of Singapore amongst its diverse citizens. It saw the inauguration of key national symbols including the state flag, the national anthem, the state crest and the installation of the first Yang di-Pertuan Negara or Head of State.  During the week people could dial 2 or 3 to listen to Majulah Singapura on the telephone. Admission to swimming pools was free, and rides at the Great World and Happy World were free or greatly reduced in price. The Legislative Assembly and the University of Malaya's Science Faculty were opened to the public in the mornings. Exhibitions with free entry included "The 'Peoples' Government at Work" at the Victoria Memorial Hall, photography and arts exhibition at the Polytechnic, and the Singapore Harbour Board exhibition at the SHB Exhibition Pavilion at Tanjong Pagar.

Fly Via Viscount to KL

Wednesday, 2nd December 1959

Malayan Airways started Viscount Service between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The new Viscount airplane can carry up to 44 passengers and fly at the speed of 300 miles per hours. The journey from Singapore to KL takes less than half and hour. The Viscount was a British made medium-range turboprop airliner.

Farewell Sir William Goode

Monday, 30th November 1959

The three services, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors, staged a farewell parade for Sir William Goode (the Yang di-Pertuan Negara) at the Royal Naval Air Station at Sembawang. The parade marks the end of an era in Singapore Colonial history.

cleaning the city

Monday, 23rd November 1959

Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew today led a mass drive to spring-clean the city for National Loyalty Week, and also to time with the official installation of Singapore’s Yang di-Pertuan Negara on December 3. Three other Ministers also joined thousands of volunteers on the first day of the one-week giant campaign known as Gerakkan Pembersehan Bandar Raya Singapura. He said the government aimed to make Singapore as one of the cleanest and healthiest cities in Asia.

Oily Man in East Coast

Monday, 16th November 1959

An “oily man” (Orang Minyak) scare gripped residents of Frankel Estate here. shortly after a young girl reported that she was attacked in a playground off Changi Road by a young man wearing only swimming trunks. Several passers-by answered the girl’s cries for help and chased her attacker up to a steep cliff. The fugitive escaped the police dragnet. All womenfolk in the estate remained behind bolted doors as armed police searched for the girl’s attacker who was said to be smeared with oil. Malay legend has it that the “oily man” possesses evil supernatural powers and preys on women.

amnesty offer to secret society gangsters

Saturday, 17th October 1959

The Singapore Government announced a general amnesty offer to all Singapore secret society gangsters, giving them a chance to decide within 16 days to reform or be wiped out. The offer held good for around a fortnight. After that, a relentless campaign would be launched by the police, who had been given more powers under the new “beat the gang” laws recently passed by the Legislative Assembly.

National Anthem Majulah Singapura

Monday, 31st August 1959

The national anthem Majulah Singapura, written by Zubir Said, was presented.  Students of the then University of Malaya had the distinction of being the first to welcome a Cabinet minister with the Singapore's National Anthem. Interestingly, Minister for Home Affairs Ong Pang Boon was attending a rally in the Bukit Timah campus to celebrate Malaysia’s independence. After the playing of the Malaysia anthem, Mr Ong was greeted by “Majulah Singapura”.

Pulau Sudong given a face-lift

Sunday, 30th August 1959

Five hundred volunteers today braved rain and a choppy sea to give Pulau Sudong a face-lift.  It was part of the Ministry of National Development’s project to improve living conditions on the Southern Islands.  The Minister for National Development, Mr Ong Eng Guan, led the volunteers who were from the National Cohesiveness Corps and oil companies from the neighbouring islands.  Fallen tree trunks and rubbish heaps in the small kampongs were carried off to a dumping ground.  The graveyard was fenced off, buildings were painted and a derelict hut, used as a medical clinic, was renovated. Pulau Sudong was originally filled with mangrove trees and swamp. It made the headlines when geologists raised the alarm that the island was sinking. The islanders, however, were unwilling to move to nearby Pulau Pawai but they did not heed his warning and stayed firm on Pulau Sudong.

Lee Kuan Yew Singapore First Prime Minister

Friday, 5th June 1959

Lee Kuan Yew, leader of PAP political party, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Singapore at the age of 35.

State of Singapore Formed

Wednesday, 3rd June 1959

The State of Singapore formed with at the same day the Crown Colony's Office of the Governor was abolished. At one minute past midnight, the Governor proclaims Singapore a self-governing state. At 8.30am, he takes office as Yang di-Pertuan Negara, or Head of State. At 8.30am, Encik Yusof bin Ishak becomes Yang di-Pertuan Negara or the Head of State of Singapore. A celebration and mass rally by Peoples' Action Party (PAP) were held in the early evening at the Padang for Singapore gaining full self-government.

Eight detainees to be released

Tuesday, 2nd June 1959

Governor Goode announces the eight detainees will be released two days later are freed from Changi prison, breaking the impasse and averting a constitutional crisis. Six of the released including hardliner Lim Chin Siong, signed a statement that they support the PAP leadership's non-communist road.

Lee Kuan Yew to form the Government

Monday, 1st June 1959

Singapore Governor Sir William Goode asks Mr Lee Kuan Yew to form the Government. Mr Lee repeats his party's condition: The British to release eight detained associates. They are: Lim Chin Siong, Fong Swee Suan, Devan Nair, S.Woodhull, J.Puthucheary, Chan Chiaw Thor, Chan Chong Kin and Chen Say Jame.

Singapore Legislative Assembly 3rd General Election

Saturday, 30th May 1959

The third general election for the Legislative Assembly was a lively and closely-fought affair, with several new political parties joining the fray. This was the first GE for a fully elected legislature after negotiations between the British and Singapore lawmakers to allow Singapore self-government concluded successfully.

Singapore Constitution Exposition 1959

Saturday, 31st January 1959

The Singapore Constitution Exposition (SCE) 1959 at Kallang Park (abandon runway of Old Kallang Airport) was organised by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the full internal self-government to Singapore. The SCE was described as a spectacular exhibition on an eighty hectare ground and the most outstanding celebration of its kind ever to be staged in this part of the world. The Exposition represents a cross-section of races, cultures, goods, goods, costumes and ways of living into view the daily life in Singapore of racial harmony and tolerance.