Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern-day Singapore, visited Malta in 1967 looking to assess how the country had faired since the rundown of British forces following Malta's independence in 1964. At the time, the British were also looking to leave Singapore and, just like Malta, Singapore's economy was heavily based on British military expenditure.
Unfortunately, Lee Kuan Yew did not like what he called Maltese “dependency” on British aid, as he himself wrote in his autobiography 'From Third World to First':
The loss of British military expenditure between 1968 and 1971 was a blow to our economy. It was some 20 percent of our GDP, providing over 30,000 jobs in direct employment and another 40,000 in support services. I was determined that our attitude to British aid, indeed any aid, should be the opposite of Malta's. When I visited Malta in 1967 to see how it had sorted out its problems after the rundown of the British forces, I was astounded. The Suez Canal had been closed as a result of the Arab Israeli Six-Day War three months earlier, in June. Ships were no longer going through the Canal, hence the dockyard in Malta was closed, but dockworkers on full pay were playing water polo in the dry dock which they had filled with water!
I was shaken by their aid dependency, banking on continuing charity from the British. The British had given fairly generous redundancy payments, including five weeks' salary for each year of service, and had also covered the cost of three months' retraining in Maltese government institutions. This nurtured a sense of dependency, not a spirit of self-reliance.