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Labour Front
Malay nameBarisan Buroh
Chinese name勞工陣綫
Láogōng Zhènxiàn
Tamil nameதொழும் முன்னணி
Toḻum muṉṉaṇi
English nameLabour Front
Founder
Founded21 August 1954; 69 years ago (1954-08-21)
Dissolved28 February 1960; 64 years ago (1960-02-28)
Split from Labour Party
Ideology
Political position Centre-left

The Labour Front was a political party in Singapore that operated from 1955 to 1960.

History

The Labour Front was founded to contest the 1955 legislative elections by David Saul Marshall, Singapore's first chief minister and Lim Yew Hock, Singapore's second chief minister. A centre-left grouping, the Labour Front won 10 out of 25 elected seats in the legislative council and formed the first elected government of Singapore, which at that time was a separate crown colony.

Between 1955 and 1956, after sending two bi-partisan delegations to London for talks with the British, David Marshall's administration failed to gain approval from Britain for self-government in Singapore. David Marshall, taking responsibility for this failure, resigned in 1956 and soon went to form the Workers' Party of Singapore the following year. Critics believed that the British were not convinced of David Marshall's ability to govern Singapore well and to deal with the then rising threat of insurgency carried out in the name of communism. Marshall's more hardline stance in dealing with the underground communist movement was only counterproductive. He was succeeded by Lim Yew Hock.

The Lim Yew Hock government did not fare any better. Apart from the threat of the underground communist movement, Singapore faced problems in public order, poor economy, poor housing and sanitation, low living standards and corruption in the government. The then-opposition People's Action Party (PAP), led by Lee Kuan Yew, grilled the Labour Front government several times on these issues in parliamentary sessions. Later the majority of the Labour Front led by Lim Yew Hock, left the Labour Front to merge with the Liberal Socialists (formed by the Progressive Party and Democratic Party in 1956) to form the Singapore People's Alliance (SPA) in 1959.

In 1957 and 1958, two bi-partisan delegations successfully negotiated Singapore's status to be a self-governing state.

In the 1959 elections the PAP won 43 of 51 seats in the parliament with a popular vote of 53% and having campaigned on an anti- colonial platform with an ambition to initiate several reforms, improve the economy and living standards of the people and to eradicate corruption in the government. The SPA lost power and was reduced to only a handful of seats in opposition, while the residual Labour Front was reduced to a very small percentage of the original party and was eventually dissolved in 1960.

Election results

Election Seats up for election Seats contested Seats won Change Votes contested Votes polled Vote share Swing Contested vote share Swing Resulting Government
1955 25 17
10 / 25
new party 108,632 42,300 27.06% new party 38.94% new party Coalition Government with support from the Singapore Alliance
1959 51 3
0 / 51
Decrease10 29,130 3,414 0.65% Decrease26.41% 11.72% Decrease27.22% Extra-Parliamentary

Prominent Members

References

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