Singapore Government/History 354 Campbell University
Singapore • Seceded from Malaysia in 1965. • Entire country is 270 sq. miles. • Population is 4.5 million; 77% Chinese, 14% Malay & 8% Indian. • 42% Buddhist. • Highest standard of living in Asia with a per capita GDP of $28,100, 11th highest in world.
Early History • Visited by Chinese traveler in 1349. Called it Tan-ma-hsi, a haven for pirates. • As part of Srivijaya & later Majaphit was called Tumasik. • The Malays called it Singapura, meaning “Lion City” in Sanskrit. • Was visited by Parameshwara on the way to establishing Malacca.
Singapore Becomes British • The modern state of Singapore was founded by Thomas Stanford Raffles in 1819 through a treaty with the Sultan of Jehore. • In the Treaty of London (1824), the Dutch ceded Malacca to the British and recognized the British claim to Singapore.
Early Colonial Period • Singapore was administered directly from London as part of the Straits Settlements. • Became self-governing in 1959 with Lee Kuan Yew as P.M. • In 1963, it became part of Malaysia only to secede in 1965. The issue was the “Bargain.”
Island Realities • Political separation from Malaysia doesn’t make Singapore self-sufficient. Economic ties remain. • Utilities: Drinking Water, Natural Gas, Electricity. • Other Necessities: Food, Raw Materials, Labor. • Size and population density dictate certain policies. • Public housing, Public health, Highly competitive educational system and employment, Demands for social conformity, Ubiquitous & strict legal structure. • Location and Free-port status dictate an export economy.
Seeking Direction • The establishment of Nanyang University in 1955 symbolized the divergent views of the future of Singapore: western oriented in language and culture vs. the Chinese orientation of Nanyang. • The Peoples Action Party (PAP) split along similar lines in 1961. PAP remained English educated and anti-Communist. Barisian Socialis (the Socialist Front) emerged as a new party. • Lee Kuan Yew sought to create a multi-ethnic society to avoid the image of a Chinese state.
Peoples Action Party • Singapore has functioned as single party state. PAP held all seats in the legislature until 1981, when J. B. Jeyaretnam of the Workers party won a seat. In 1984 & 1997 two other seats were won by non-PAP parties (The Workers” Party and the Singapore People’s Party). • To create a legislative balance, up to nine non-constituency members may be appointed from opposition parties. These are selected from the opposition members who came closest to wining a seat.
Governmental Structure • Singapore is a city-state, governed by a unicameral legislature of 84 seats plus 9 non-constituency seats. Members are elected for 5 years by plurality for group representation constituency. • It is headed by a president who is elected by popular vote and a prime minister. The cabinet includes a Senior Minister (Goh Chok Tong) and a Minister Mentor (Lee Kuan Yew). President Sellapan Ramanathan
PAP Dominance • P. M. Lee Kuan Yew has been the dominate figure in Singapore politics since 1957. He retired to become senior minister in 1990. • Goh Chok Tong served as P.M. from 1990 to 2004. • Lee Kuan Yew’s son, Lee Hsien Loong, became P.M. in 2004. He’s an honor graduate of Cambridge and Harvard. Lee Hsien Loong
Social Engineering • To avert the deleterious impact of Western values, introduced Confucian “immune systems”: • Starting in 1982, religion courses have been introduced into the schools. • Promoted family values by making adult offspring responsible for the maintenance of their parents, denied medical benefits to families of female civil servants and disallowed subsidized housing for unmarried women. • Encouraged the use of Mandarin Chinese. • Incentive for well educated mothers to have more children (improve the gene pool).
The Economy • Singapore has enjoyed growth rates as high as 11-13% with unemployment as low as 3%. Its an export economy heavily involved in electronics. The U.S. is Singapore’s top trading partner (1/3 of sales). • In 1979, launched its “Second Industrial Revolution” with goal of restructuring and diversifying the economy. • In 1992, initiated a “go regional” program of investments. • Singapore is China’s fourth largest investor. Lauched the Suzhou Industrial Township Project in China. • Started industrial parks and resorts on Bantam Island, Indonesia. • Launched collaborative projects in Bangalore, India. • Provided expertise to Vietnam (infrastructure); Cambodia for a seaport/airport; China in telecommunications and tourism.
Foreign Affairs-U.S. • Relations between Singapore and the U.S. are friendly. Singapore views the U.S. as not only a major trading partner but a counterbalance to China, as well. • In 1990, an agreement was signed for the U.S. Navy to use Sembawang dockyard for repairs and the U.S. Air Force to use Paya Lebar airport for training. In 1998, Singapore’s new Changi naval facility was added to the agreement. • The U.S. is the main supplier of defense equipment including F-16s. Training for about 100 Singapore Air Force personnel is regularly conducted at Luke AFB.
Questions • Q1. When and why did Singapore secede from Malaysia? • A1. 1965 due to dissatisfaction with the bargain. • Q2. Who founded the modern state of Singapore in 1819? • A2. Thomas Stanford Raffles. • Q3. Who was the first P.M. of Singapore? • A3. Lee Kuan Yew • Q4. What proportion of the population in Singapore lives in public housing? • A4. 80 to 90 %
More Questions • Q5.What is group constituency representation (GCR)? • A5. Elections in which teams of 2 or 3 representatives run from a combined electoral district. • Q6. What is non-constituency representation? • A6. Appointing candidates who are the closest runner ups in an election to seats in the legislature. • Q7. What is the Confucian “immune system?” • A7. Through education and legislation combating the deleterious effects of Westernization.