In 1961, the British colonies of Malaya, Brunei, Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak, through negotiations between the local elite and the British administration, were arranged to form the Federation of Malaysia.
In 1962, a series of revolts broke out in Brunei in protest against the merger, and the Sultan withdrew from the proposal.
In 1963, the remaining colonies formed the new nation of Malaysia.
Two years later, Malaysia, dominated by the Malays and threatened by the advances of the People's Action Party of Singapore, predominantly ethnic Chinese, expelled the city from the union, forming an independent city-state.
In the years since, Singapore, under the leadership of Lee Kwan Yew rose to become one of the richest, most advanced, and most efficient nations on the planet. In contrast Malaysia has suffered deep socioeconomic and ethnic tensions and remains impoverished, despite its superior population and resources. Brunei, thanks to its tremendous oil and liquid natural gas resources, has become rather affluent, though lags behind Singapore.
This alternate history explores what would have happened if Singapore and Brunei remained in the Federation of Malaysia, and what could it could have accomplished under Lee's management.