Singapore: Political Parties and Pressure Groups Materials

Scope and Content

Singapore political material, from 1961 onwards, including posters, pamphlets, leaflets, newsletters, speeches, commemorative programmes, letters, reports, conference reports, manifestos, constitutions and aother miscellaneous election materials issued by the Barisan Sosialis, independent candidates, the National Solidarity Party (Singapore), the People's Action Party (Singapore), the People's Association Youth Movement (Singapore), the Singapore Chinese Party, the Singapore Malay National Organisation, the United Front (Singapore), the United National Front (Singapore) and the Workers' Party (Singapore).

Administrative / Biographical History

Having become an autonomous British dependency in 1959 Singapore joined the new independent federation of Malaysia in 1963, only to leave it two years later to declare itself the Reublic of Singapore. The country has been ruled since 1959 by the People's Action Party (PAP) whose long-standing leader Lee Kwan Yew was Prime Minister until 1990. The majority of the materials here are concerned with the two fundamental features of Singapore since independence, its strong record of economic growth and its political authoritarianism. Unsurprisingly the PAP holdings stress the former, and prior to the 1990s this was coupled with frequent references to the need for stability against the threat of communism. Opposition parties such as the Barisan Sosialis, which split from the PAP in the early 1960s and for which there are substantial holdings, have been more concerned with the perceived unfairness of the democratic system and with human rights abuses. Additionally many of the earlier materials deal with Singapore's position within the federation of Malaysia and the administration of the federation itself, seen by some left-wing parties as being a means by which British colonial interests could continue to be served behind a veneer of independence.


Alphabetically by organisation, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The Commonwealth Political Parties Materials collection was begun in 1960-61, with special emphasis being placed then, as now, on 'primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos.' (ICS, Twelfth Annual Report 1960-1961). Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also Singapore: Trades Unions Materials (TU.SI) as well as Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.