Communal Challenges in Singapore
The first serious racial riots which the Special Branch had to deal with soon after its formation in 1948 was the Maria Hertogh riots of 1950 where Muslim rioters attacked Europeans, Eurasians and Christians. A total of 18 people were killed and 173 injured.
When Singapore was in Malaysia, we experienced serious Sino-Malay riots in 1964, instigated by outside forces.
Over 500 people were injured and 36 lives were lost in the clashes between Chinese and Malays. The ISD, together with the Police, helped contain a volatile situation. Sino-Malay tensions surfaced again in Singapore in 1969 following the outbreak of the 1969 racial riots in Malaysia after the General Election. Many incidents of Sino-Malay clashes erupted and the situation was brought under control following security sweeps by the Police and armed forces throughout Singapore. The vigilance of the security forces in Singapore and the persistent efforts of ISD officers in making island-wide coverage contributed to the return of normalcy in Singapore.
1964 Racial Riots
Above: Items and Weapons Seized from the Silat Exponents in April 1987
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