Singapore inherited its legal system from the British who founded modern Singapore. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles of the East India Company established Singapore as a trading station in 1819. In 1807, some 12 years earlier, the East India Company had obtained the First Charter of Justice from the English monarchy. This empowered it to set up a Court of Judicature in Penang which had powers similar to those of English superior courts; to pass judgment according to “justice and right.” The Johor Sultanate subsequently ceded Singapore to the British in 1824. With that, the East India Company acquired full sovereignty in perpetuity over Singapore. Singapore, along with Penang and Malacca, became a British Crown Colony as part of the "Straits Settlements". On 27 November 1826, the East India Company obtained the Second Charter of Justice from the English monarchy. This created a new Court of Judicature to serve Penang, Singapore and Malacca, collectively known as the Straits Settlements.

 


 

 

The idea for some kind of body that could look into the welfare, religious guidance and problems faced by new converts to Islam was conceived in the early ‘70s. In 1973, “Kumpulan Saudara Baru” or “The New Brothers Group” was formed with the objective of having a place where the new Muslim converts could get together and develop the fraternal, religious and social relationships among themselves. The group operated out of a modest waqaf (to give in the line of Islam and its propagation) house at 24, Pheng Geck Avenue, which was administered and rented out by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore or MUIS. The house was named “Rumah Saudara Baru” or the “Muslim Converts’ Home” and was officially opened by the then President of MUIS, Hj. Buang Siraj on 27 November 1977. In 1979, under the leadership of Bro. Ridzuan Wu, the group decided to apply for the official registration of the Association with the Registry of Societies. This led to the official formation of “Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore” (MCAS). On 2 June 1997, The Galaxy – the building of the Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore; the “House of Arqam” – was officially opened by Guest-of-Honour, Mr Sidek Saniff, then Singapore’s Minister of State for Environment.

 


 

More than a decade later, however, when the disputes with Malaysia over the railway land used by KTM escalated, it came to the fore that one of the criteria the Malaysian authorities had listed before they would consider shifting the existing railway station away from Tanjong Pagar was for the MRT system to be introduced to Woodlands. On 16 October 2003, in response to a question fielded in parliament, Professor S. Jayakumar, then Minister for Foreign Affairs, mentioned, that the Points of Agreement concluded between the two sides on 27 November 1990 included a clause stating that KTM will shift the station to a site adjacent or close to the Woodlands within five years from the day the MRT to Woodlands is opened, something the KTM only accomplished in 2011.

 


 

Yamamoto Otokichi, also known as "John Matthew Ottoson", was born in Onoura Village at Chita District of Owari (now Mihama Town of Aichi Prefecture) in 1818. He later became a successful trader. In 1862, Otokichi moved from Shanghai and stayed in Singapore with his Malay wife to become the first Japanese resident here. He died at the age of 49 in 1867. In February 2004, Leong Foke Meng of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), with the help of the National Environment Agency (NEA), helped to uncover facts confirming Otokichi's remains at the Choa Chu Kang Government Cemeteries. On 27 November 2004, Leong, together with Mihama Town and the Japanese Association, initiated the exhumation of Otokichi's remains at the Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery. The remains were later cremated and ashes stored at the columbarium of the Japanese Cemetery. On 17 February 2005, a delegation of about 100 residents from Mihama Town visited Singapore and brought back to Japan a portion of Otokichi's ashes, realising the home-coming of Otokichi's remains after 173 years.