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The Proclamation of Singapore that announced Singapore's separation from Malaysia on 9 August 1965 was drafted by Mr E W Barker, then Minister for Law. He was also responsible for drafting two other related documents, namely: an Amendment relating to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia as an independent and sovereign state, and an Act to amend the Constitution of Malaysia and the Malaysia Act to give Singapore independence.1
PM Lee Kuan Yew entrusted Mr E W Barker with the job of drafting the documents in mid-July 1965 after he received news that the Federal Cabinet had agreed with Tunku Abdul Rahman that Singapore should separate from Malaysia. After several rounds of negotiations between the Singapore government represented by Mr Lee and Dr Goh Keng Swee, Minister of Finance, and the Malaysian government represented by Tunku, Tun Abdul Razak, Deputy Prime Minister, Dato Ismail bin Dato Abdul Rahman, Home Affairs Minister and Tun Tan Siew Sin, Finance Minister, the abovementioned documents were eventually finalised on 7 August.2
"Every time I look at these Agreements, I'm happy, I have a sense of pride, having contributed to a major change - the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. I was able to draft these documents then in a short time because I had just left the Bar, in fact, nine months before that. I had been in practice for 14 years and had a lot of experience. Hence, I was able to do it."
Extract of oral history interview with Mr E W Barker, 1982.
Information extracted from the oral history interview of Mr E W Barker, Accession No: 000193
Source: SM's Office
Proclamation of Singapore that Mr E W Barker
drafted was signed by Mr Lee on 9 August 1965.
1Lee Kuan Yew, The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore: Times Editions Pte Ltd and Singapore Press Holdings, 1998), pp. 631-632.
2Leslie Fong, "The Week Before Separation", in Singapore 25 Years: A Straits Times Special, National Day, 9 Aug 1990, ed. Leslie Fong (Singapore: Straits Times Press, 1990), pp. 5-10 and Lee, The Singapore Story, pp. 628-647.