People's Action Party–United Malays National Organisation relations

People's Action Party–United Malays National Organisation Relations

People's Action Party–United Malays National Organisation relations

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The sometimes turbulent relationship between the People's Action Party (PAP) and United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which were, and still are, the ruling parties respectively of Singapore and Malaysia, has impacted the recent history of both states.


Both parties have common roots, being formed during the period of anti-colonialism and widespread resentment which grew after the Japanese Occupation. Initially allowing insurgent faction members advocating communism into both their parties as an ally against colonialism, both later developed hostile relations with the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), expelling the leftists from their ranks. Thus, the PAP and UMNO had co-operated closely for some time to work towards eliminating the MCP insurgency and achieving independence from colonialism.

Such co-operation culminated in 1963 with the entry of Singapore into Malaysia.


There are many factors that led the UMNO and the PAP to agree to a merger. Negotiations for merger began in 1960, and initially, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the prime minister of Malaya, refused. However, fears of the MCP-backed insurgency taking over Singapore and using it as a base against Malaya gave reason for the Malayan government to admit Singapore as a member state, and for Singapore, the promise of independence from British colonial rule and economic growth with a guaranteed common market between the two nations gave the city-state reason enough to...
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