At the Malaysian Federal Parliament (left) on 25 May 1965, two days before delivering the fateful speech attacking the inadequacies of race-based politics.
Calls for a Malaysian Malaysia
Relations soured further when the PAP contested the May 1964 Malaysian general elections, though it won only one of the nine seats it contested. A year later, in May 1965, the PAP joined several other multiracial parties to form the Malaysia Solidarity Convention, a political bloc to fight for a “Malaysian Malaysia”. Mr Lee’s open criticism of Kuala Lumpur sparked accusations that he was trying to usurp power for himself.
Things came to a head on 27 May 1965 when Mr Lee delivered a powerful speech in the Malaysian Parliament, an event that many later viewed as the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. He spoke off the cuff in English as well as Malay about the inadequacies of race-based politics.
A month later, the PAP defeated the Barisan Socialis in a by-election in Hong Lim, though it had lost twice before in that constituency. The victory was a signal to Kuala Lumpur that Singaporeans were fully behind Mr Lee and the PAP.