Singapore was first controlled by a Board of Directors of the East India Company based in London, then by the British government in India which reported to London, and finally directly by the Colonial Office in London.
In 1826, the British decided to bring Singapore, Penang and Malacca together as a single administrative unit so as to cut costs and improve efficiency.
Since the Settlements were located along the Straits of Malacca , they were grouped together into a single administrative unit known as the Straits Settlements.
The Straits Settlements continued until the Japanese occupied Malaya and Singapore in 1942.
Changes in the administration of the Straits Settlements
In 1867, the Straits Settlements were transferred to the Colonial Office in London, making Singapore a Crown Colony. This meant that it was more than just a trading settlement – it now belonged to the Queen of England .
Structure of British Govt (1867-1942) Colonial Office in London gave orders to the Governor of the Straits Settlement Governor of the Straits Settlements was the most important person in the colony who made the final decisions in the government. He had the right to veto (reject or stop any law from being passed). He was helped by 2 councils.
The Executive Council
advised the Governor and helped run the government
Consisted of high ranking British officials who had the power to decide how the SS should be run.
Carried out tasks like maintaining law and order, collecting taxes,
Had lower-ranking British officials to help carry out such activities and other day-to-day administrative work,
The Legislative Council
helped to make and pass laws
Selected by the Governor.
Consisted of official members and non-official members.
The official members were the government officials in the Executive Council.
The non-official members were the European and Asian merchants.
Colonial Office in London gave orders to the Governor of the Straits Settlement
Governor of the Straits Settlements was the most important person in the colony who made the final decisions in the government. He had the right to veto (reject or stop any law from being passed). He was helped by 2 councils. 2 councils.
Initially, the official members outnumbered the non-official members.
The only people who were interested in what the government did were the European and Asian traders .
Some of them were nominated to be non-official members in the Legislative Council.
The non-official members wanted more say in the making of new laws. They appealed to the government to increase the number of non-official members. By 1924, the number of official members was the same as the non-official members.
Although there were equal numbers of official and non-official members in the Legislative Council, the Governor was still very powerful since he could veto any decisions made in the Legislative Council.
Moreover, the people of Singapore did not elect whom they wanted to represent them in the Legislative Council.
He asked the government to improve the living conditions of the Malays.
As a result, the government set aside a very large piece of land for a Malay settlement called Kampung Melayu. Here, the Malays could get low-cost housing and make a living by growing fruit and vegetables and rearing poultry.
The rents of houses were high and many among the poor could not afford them. Dr Lim asked the Legislative Council to pass a law to control rents . This prevented the landlords from raising rents unfairly.
Many Chinese immigrants were addicted to opium. Dr Lim proposed the banning of opium. However, some non-official members did no support Lim Boon Keng’s proposal as this would affect their income.
Opium was not banned until 1943.
do-whatever-you-want break . your one minute begins now.
Chinese Secret Societies: Thousands of Chinese immigrants formed gangs and secret societies that robbed, killed and took part in unlawful activities. Some ran opium houses, brothels and gambling dens.
Abuse of Immigrants: Many coolies who had to work and pay off their debts were often ill-treated and abused by their employers . Chinese girls were sold to brothels.
Piracy: Numerous trading ships were attacked by pirates and the cargo in the ship stolen. As a result, many merchants kept away from Singapore. Fortunately, piracy became less of a threat to the trade of Singapore with government action and the arrival of the steamship .
By the late 19 th Century, there was a demand for people trained in English to fill up posts in the government and in trading companies. To meet these demands, the government provided grants and set up English and Malay schools .
The Queen’s Scholarship was established for top secondary school students to further their studies in British universities . One such scholar was Dr Lim Boon Keng.
However, the British did not treat all schools equally. The British were often viewed as neglecting the Chinese schools as they believed that these schools bred anti-British sentiment among their students and they preferred to concentrate more on the English schools in order to maintain loyalty among the English-speaking Chinese.