#OnThisDay (3 Jun) Singapore Self Governance
Singaporeans celebrate our country’s birthday on 9 Aug every year. But between 1960 and 1963, our National Day was celebrated #onthisday, 3 Jun, to commemorate the day Singapore became a self-governing state in 1959. The UK ceded power in all areas (except security and defence), leaving our first elected government in charge.
Achieving self-governance was a significant step towards obtaining full independence for Singapore, and our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, was jubilant when he called out: “Merdeka! Lagi sekali dengan semangat, merdeka!” (“Independence! Again with spirit, independence!”)
Singapore’s aspirations for independence had earlier inspired local composer Zubir Said to compose Majulah Singapura, for the reopening of Victoria Theatre in 1958. In 1959, this song was adapted and become our National Anthem. 1959 was also when our State Crest (National Coat of Arms) and National Flag were unveiled.
With self-governance, Singaporeans became responsible for our own future. 3 Jun was the day Singapore adopted its own constitution. Voting was made compulsory for the first time in 1959. From then on, Singaporeans were responsible for who we chose to lead us.
Our sense of responsibility shapes the way we defend, house, and educate ourselves. It informs how we work, play, and care for one another. It drives our nation to overcome challenges – from building our own defence force, to attracting global investments, to meeting our food, water, and energy needs. And it strengthens our resolve to take on whatever the future brings.