Singapore

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SINGAPORE

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS SINGAPOREANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Republic of Singapore

CAPITAL: Singapore

FLAG: The flag consists of a red stripe at the top and a white stripe on the bottom. On the red stripe, at the hoist, are a white crescent opening to the fly and five white stars.

ANTHEM: Long Live Singapore.

MONETARY UNIT: The Singapore dollar (s$) of 100 cents is a freely convertible currency. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 dollar and notes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 10,000 dollars. s$1 = us$0.60606 (or us$1 = s$1.65) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is in force, but some local measures are used.

HOLIDAYS: Major Western, Chinese, Malay, and Muslim holidays are celebrated, some of which fall on annually variable dates because of the calendars used. Major holidays include New Year's Day, 1 January; Chinese New Year; Good Friday; Vesak Day (Buddhist festival); Labor Day, 1 May; Hari Raya Puasa (Muslim festival); National Day, 9 August; Hari Raya Haji (Malay Muslim festival); Dewali; Christmas, 25 December.

TIME: 8 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

The Republic of Singapore, the second-smallest country in Asia, consists of Singapore Island and several smaller adjacent islets. Situated in the Indian Ocean off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore has an area of 693 sq km (268 sq mi). Comparatively, the area occupied by Singapore is slightly more than 3.5 times the size of Washington, D.C. Singapore Island extends 41.8 km (26 mi) enewsw and 22.5 km (14 mi) ssennw and has a coastline of 193 km (120 mi), including about 84 km (52 mi) along the water channel between the island and the Malay Peninsula. Singapore is connected to the nearby western portion of Malaysia by a causeway 1,056 m (3,465 ft) in length across the narrow Johore Strait. Singapore's position at the eastern end of the Strait of Malacca, which separates western Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, has given it economic and strategic importance out of proportion to its small size. Singapore's capital city, Singapore, is located on the country's southern coast.

TOPOGRAPHY

Singapore Island is mostly low-lying, green, undulating country with a small range of hills at the center. The highest point of the island is Bukit Timah (166 m/545 ft). There are sections of rain forest in the center and large mangrove swamps along the coast, which has many inlets, particularly in the north and west. Singapore's harbor is wide, deep, and well protected. The longest river, the Seletar, is only 14 km (9 mi) long.

CLIMATE

The climate is tropical, with heavy rainfall and high humidity. The range of temperature is slight; the average annual maximum is 31°c (88°f), and the average minimum 24°c (75°f). The annual rainfall of 237 cm (93 in) is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year, ranging from 39 cm (15 in) in December to 28 cm (11 in) in May. It rains about one day in two.

FLORA AND FAUNA

Singapore Island is mostly denuded, the dense tropical forest that originally covered it being mostly cleared. There is some rain forest in the central area of the island, however, as well as extensive mangrove swamps along the coast. The greatest concentration of plant life can be found in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of the largest areas of primary rain forest in the country. Urban development has limited animal life. As of 2002, there were at least 85 species of mammals, 142 species of birds, and over 2,200 species of plants throughout the country.

ENVIRONMENT

Environmental responsibility for Singapore is vested in the Ministry of the Environment and its Anti-Pollution Unit. Air quality is protected by the Clean Air Act, as adopted in 1971 and amended in 1975 and 1980, and by the Clean Air (Standards) Regulations of 1975. Regulations limiting the lead content of gasoline were imposed in 1981, and emissions standards for motor vehicles were tightened in 1986. Air pollution from transportation vehicles is a problem in the nation's growing urban areas. In 1992, Singapore was among 50 nations with the world's highest levels of industrial carbon dioxide emissions, which totaled 49.8 million metric tons, a per capita level of 17.99 metric tons. In 2000, the total of carbon dioxide emissions was at 59 million metric tons.

Water quality is regulated through the Water Pollution Control and Drainage Act of 1975 and the Trade Effl uent Regulations of 1976. Singapore does not have enough water to support the needs of its people. In total, the nation about has about 0.1 cu mi of water. Four percent of the annual withdrawal is used for farming and 51% for industrial purposes. Pollution from the nation's oil industry is also a significant problem, and the cities produce about 0.9 million tons of solid waste per year. Wastewater is treated and recycled to conserve water supplies.

In 2003, only about 4.9% of the total land area was protected. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 3 types of mammals, 10 species of birds, 4 types of reptiles, 13 species of fish, 1 species of invertebrate, and 54 species of plants. Threatened species in Singapore include the Ridley's leaf-nosed bat, Chinese egret, yellow-crested cockatoo, batagur, tigers, and the Singapore roundleaf horseshoe bat.

POPULATION

The population of Singapore in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 4,296,000, which placed it at number 119 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 8% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 20% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 101 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 0.6%, a rate the government viewed as too low. The projected population for the year 2025 was 5,108,000. The population density was 6,929 per sq km (17,946 per sq mi). Singapore is virtually a city-state, and the entire population (100%) is considered urban.

MIGRATION

Singapore had only a few Malay fishermen as inhabitants at the time of its founding as a British trading post in 1819. It was subsequently and quite rapidly populated by immigrant peoples, primarily Chinese but also Malays (from Sumatra as well as adjacent Malaya) and Indians (who took advantage of common British governance to migrate to Singapore in search of better employment). Thus immigration, rather than natural increase, was the major factor in Singapore's fast population growth through the mid-20th century.

In November 1965, following separation from Malaysia, Singapore's newly independent government introduced measures to restrict the flow of Malaysians entering the country in search of work. These immigrants, who averaged 10,000 a year up to 1964, had to establish residence for several years to qualify for citizenship. In addition, all noncitizens were required to apply for a work permit or employment pass. Immigration is now generally restricted to those with capital or with special skills. There were 1,352,000 migrants living in Singapore in 2000. The number of foreign workers in Singapore jumped from 70,000 in 1975 to 600,000 in 2003. The share of foreigners in the workforce rose from 7% in 1975 to 25% in 2003. In 2004, there was a single refugee in Singapore and there were three asylum seekers.

In 2000, the net migration rate was 19.6 migrants per 1,000 population. This rate was significantly reduced by 2005 to an estimated 10.3 migrants per 1,000 population.

ETHNIC GROUPS

The people of Singapore are predominantly of Chinese origin, with the ethnic Chinese accounting for about 76.8% of the population. About 15% are Malays and 8% are Indians (including Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Sri Lankans).

LANGUAGES

There are four official languages in Singapore: Chinese (Mandarin dialect), Malay, English, and Tamil. English is the principal medium of government and is widely used in commerce; it is spoken by about 23% of the population. In 1987, under a government mandate, English was made the primary language of the school system. Mandarin is the most widely known language, spoken by about 35% of the population. Malay is spoken by 14% and Tamil by 3%. Other languages include Hokkien (11%), Cantonese (6%), and Teochew (5%).

RELIGIONS

The Chinese adhere in varying degrees to Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. According to a 2000 census, these faiths, as well as traditional ancestor worship, were practiced by about 51% of the population. Malays and persons with origins in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi portions of the Indian subcontinent are almost exclusively Muslim. About 15% of the total population practices Islam. About 15% of the population is Christian, with Protestants outnumbering Roman Catholics by about two to one. Most of the Indian minority (4%) are Hindus. There are also small Sikh, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Jain communities.

There is complete separation of state and religion in Singapore and freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed. However, all religious groups must be registered under the Societies Act, and the government has maintained a ban on the registration of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification Church. The government also has a semiofficial relationship with the Islamic Religious Council. One holiday from each of the nation's major religions (Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism) is recognized as a national holiday.

TRANSPORTATION

Singapore's history is partly the history of the island country's important regional role as a transportation link between East and West and between the mainland and insular portions of Southeast Asia. As long ago as 1822only three years after the establishment of a British colonial presence on the island1,575 ships called at the new port of Singapore from nearby islands, Europe, India, and China. With a natural deepwater harbor that is open year-round, Singapore now ranks as the largest container port in the world, with anchorage facilities that can accommodate supertankers. Ships of some 600 shipping lines, flying the flags of nearly all the maritime nations of the world regularly call at Singapore. In 2005, Singapore's merchant fleet comprised 923 ships of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 23,065,290 GRT.

Commercial air service was inaugurated in Singapore in 1930. In 2004, there were 10 airports, 9 of which had paved runways as of 2005. The two principal air facilities are Changi International and Seletar Airport. Singapore's own carrier is Singapore Airlines. In 2003, about 14.737 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

There were 3,130 km (1,947 mi) of roadways in 2002, all of which were paved, including 150 km (93 mi) of expressways. In 2003, there were 600,550 motor vehicles, of which 414,300 were automobiles and 186,250 were commercial vehicles. Singapore's sole rail facility is a 38.6-km (24-mi) section of the Malayan Railways, which links Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. There is also an 83km (52-mi) mass transit system with 48 stations.

HISTORY

Some historians believe a town was founded on the Singapore Island as early as the 7th century, while other sources claim that "Singapura" (Lion City) was established by an Indian prince in 1299. Historians believe that during the 13th and 14th centuries, a thriving trading center existed until it was devastated by a Javanese attack in 1377. Singapore, however, was virtually uninhabited when Sir Stamford Raffl es, in 1819, established a trading station of the British East India Company on the island. In 1824, the island was ceded outright to the company by the Sultan of Johore, the Malay state at the extreme southern end of the peninsula. In 1826, it was incorporated with Malacca (Melaka, Malaysia) and Penang (Pinang, Malaysia) to form the Straits Settlements, a British Crown colony until World War II. The trading center grew into the city of Singapore and attracted large numbers of Chinese, many of whom became merchants.

With its excellent harbor, Singapore also became a flourishing commercial center and the leading seaport of Southeast Asia, handling the vast export trade in tin and rubber from British-ruled Malaya. In 1938, the British completed construction of a large naval base on the island, which the Japanese captured in February 1942 during World War II, following a land-based attack from the Malay Peninsula to the north.

Recaptured by the United Kingdom in 1945, Singapore was detached from the Straits Settlements to become a separate Crown colony in 1946. Under a new constitution, on 3 June 1959, Singapore became a self-governing state, and on 16 September 1963, it joined the new Federation of Malaysia (formed by bringing together the previously independent Malaya and Singapore and the formerly British-ruled northern Borneo territories of Sarawak and Sabah). However, Singapore, with its predominantly urban Chinese population and highly commercial economy, began to find itself at odds with the Malay-dominated central government of Malaysia. Frictions mounted, and on 9 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to become wholly independent as the Republic of Singapore. Harry Lee Kuan Yew, a major figure in the move toward independence, served as the country's prime minister from 1959 until 1990. Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand formed the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967.

The People's Action Party (PAP), founded in 1954, has been the dominant political party, winning every general election since 1959. The PAP's popular support rested on law-and-order policies buttressed by economic growth and improved standards of living. Although the PAP regularly carried 6075% of the popular vote, it managed to capture virtually all seats repeatedly in the National Assembly. The PAP won all parliamentary seats in the general elections from 1968 to 1980. In the 1981 by-election, J. B. Jeyaretnam, secretary-general of the Workers' Party, won a seat; he maintained it in the 1984 general election. Chiam See Tong, leader of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), won another seat for the opposition in the same election. In March 1985, the third state president, Devan Nair, former trade unionist and member of the Singapore's "old guard," resigned from office under allegations related to alcoholism. The new president, Wee Kim Wee, took office in August. In May and June 1987, the government detained 22 persons under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for alleged involvement in a "Marxist conspiracy." These detentions triggered international protests by those critical of the government's abuse of human rights, including detention without trial and allegations of torture. Most of the alleged conspirators were released by December, but eight were rearrested in April 1988 after issuing a joint press statement regarding the circumstances of their detention. Two of the eight remained in custody until June 1990.

The September 1988 general election took place under an altered electoral system that increased the total seats in parliament from 79 to 81. The new constituencies consisted of 42 singlemember districts and the reorganization of the other 39 seats into 13 group representation constituencies (GRCs). Teams of three representatives for each party contested the GRCs, at least one of which must be from an ethnic minority, i.e., non-Chinese. Ostensibly, these changes were to ensure minority participation, but at the same time small and/or resource-poor opposition parties were handicapped by the requirement to field three candidates.

In November 1992, the media announced that Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (son of Lee Kuan Yew) and Ong Teng Cheong had been diagnosed with cancer. (The former was pronounced fully cured in 1994 but has been little seen in political circles.) On 28 November 1990, Lee Kuan Yew, prime minister of Singapore for over 31 years, transferred power to Goh Chok Tong, the former first deputy prime minister. Lee remained in the cabinet as senior minister to the prime minister's office and retained the position of secretary-general of the PAP. Singapore's first direct presidential elections were held on 28 August 1993, with Ong Teng Cheong becoming the first elected president.

An incident that garnered worldwide attention was the Singapore government's October 1993 arrest of nine foreign youths charged with vandalism involving the spray painting of some 70 cars. Michael Fay, an 18-year-old American student and the oldest in the group, was suspected to be the leader. Under police interrogation Fay admitted his guilt and pleaded guilty in court to two counts of vandalism and one count of receiving stolen property. In March 1994, Fay was sentenced to four months in prison, a fine of us$2,230, and six strokes of the cane. On 7 March 1994, President Bill Clinton urged Singapore to reconsider the flogging of Fay amid a failed appeal. A plea to the Singaporean president for clemency was rejected, but as a "goodwill gesture towards President Clinton," the sentence of caning was reduced from six strokes to four. The sentence was carried out on 5 May 1994.

In 1994, Singapore made international news when the government sued the International Herald Tribune for libel over an editorial the paper published suggesting that Prime Minister Goh was simply a figurehead and that ultimate power rested, as it always had, with Senior Minister and former Prime Minister Lee. The Singapore High Court, in a move that halted critical comments from the press, ruled in favor of the government and ordered the Herald Tribune to pay $667,000 in damages to Goh, Lee, and Deputy Prime Minister Lee. In 1995, the government was again criticized in the international press, this time in the New York Times, in which columnist William Safire called the country a dictatorship. Singaporean leaders took center stage in the international arena and proclaimed their right to reject Western values. They claimed that Asian values eschewed the precedence of individual liberty over social stability and that these values promoted an increasingly wealthy, clean, and hospitable city-state devoid of social pathologies that plagued both the West and other large Asian cities. The subsequent sentencing, on 1 December 1995 of Nick Leeson, an investment banker who single-handedly destroyed Barings through speculative investments in the Japanese stock market, seemed to confirm the bankruptcy of individual greed.

Parliamentary elections were held in 1997 and, unsurprisingly, the PAP retained its vast majorityopposition parties won only 2 of 83 seats. One seat, that won by Tang Liang Hong, remained vacant in 1997 as Tang fled the country fearing government persecutionincluding lawsuits, freezing of bank accounts, and restrictions on travelwhich began in earnest after his election. Tang's victory was seen as especially threatening to the rigid regime of the PAP because during the campaign, Tang had suggested that the English-speaking section of the ruling class monopolized power and that the Chinese needed to assert more control. These statements branded Tang as a Chinese chauvinist, an inflammatory label in the ethnically divided country.

From 1998 to 2005, an international piracy wave disturbed shipping in the Malacca Straits and Singapore Straits. Vulnerable small "feeder" ships that ferry cargo from massive container vessels too large to visit many ports were subjected to an increased number of incidents, an increase in violence, and the death of crew members.

In 2000, while some tax cuts were rescinded, Singapore announced positive economic growth, coming after two years of budgetary uncertainty related to the Asian economic crisis. The government also announced a budget surplus. However, other directives were exerted in 2000 when the government controlled media banned an episode of an American television show in which the lead female character kisses another woman. Broadcasters' responsibilities extended to taking "action against overtly sexy or alternative themes."

On 28 April 2001, an unprecedented antigovernment rally was held, the first legally sanctioned demonstration outside of an election campaign. Over 2,000 people gathered in support of opposition leader J. B. Jeyaretnam, who faced bankruptcy and thus expulsion from parliament. Jeyaretnam owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in defamation lawsuits brought by senior government officials and their supporters.

In September 2001, Malaysia and Singapore came to a series of agreements over issues that had strained relations between them for years. Largely prodded by concern over the growing influence of Islam in Malaysian politics, Singapore agreed to a Malaysian proposal that the causeway linking the two countries be demolished and replaced by a bridge and undersea tunnel after 2007. Malaysia agreed to supply water to Singapore after two water agreements expire in 2011 and 2061. Also discussed were disputes over the use of Malaysian-owned railway land in Singapore, and requests by Singapore to use Malaysian airspace.

On 3 November 2001, parliamentary elections were held in which the PAP won 82 out of 84 seats. Opposition candidates contested only 29 of the seats. The next elections were to be held 25 June 2007.

Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the United States urged countries around the world to increase antiterrorist measures. Southeast Asia was a primary focus of attention. In May 2002, the 10 members of ASEAN pledged to form a united antiterror front and to set up a strong regional security framework. The steps included introducing national laws to govern the arrest, investigation, prosecution, and extradition of suspects. As well, they agreed to exchange intelligence information and to establish joint training programs, such as bomb detection and airport security. As of December 2002, five of the ASEAN nations (Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand) had acceded to the Agreement on Information Exchange and Establishment of Communication Procedures to fight terrorism and other transnational crime. Singapore said it was not ready to join the pact.

In December 2001, Singapore arrested 15 individuals believed to be part of a terrorist cell with links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. Two suspects were released, but the others belonged to Jemaah Islamiya (JI), an Islamic organization with cells in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The cell's plot was to destroy key buildings in Singapore, including the American Embassy. JI's ambition was initially to create an Islamic Indonesia. However, the group expanded its goals to include an Islamic archipelago, Dauliah Islam Nusantara, to include Malaysia, the southern Philippines, and Singapore in a larger Islamic Indonesia. In August 2002, Singapore arrested 21 terrorist suspects who had allegedly carried out "reconnaissance and surveys" of potential terrorist attack targets in Singapore. They were purportedly members of Jemaah Islamiyah.

In 2003, Singapore was shaken medically and financially by SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. As the disease was identified, Singapore took stringent precautionsclosing markets, screening air passengers with thermal imaging, and establishing quarantines. About 33 people in Singapore died from SARS. A sharp economic contraction occurred as the illness also hit the economy hard. The service sector was worst hit as tourists stayed away and local people stayed home. Also in 2003, an unprecedented medical procedure to separate two adult Iranian sisters joined at the head was undertaken in Singapore by an international team of neurosurgeons. These efforts ended in failure, as the sisters died within one and a half hours of each other postoperatively as their circulation failed.

Also in 2003, subsequent to Singapore's support of US policies on the war on terror and in Iraq, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong signed a free trade agreement with the United States. Depicted as the "gold standard" for free trade agreements, it helped Singapore fix its position as a leading financial and trading nation in the region, especially after the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and 1998 and the effect of SARS in the region. Linked to Singapore's economic recovery from SARS, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong announced he would step down after the recovery. He also named his successor, Lee Hsien Loong, the elder son of Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. On 12 August 2004, Lee Hsien Loong took office as prime minister of Singapore in this planned handover of power. In this shuffl e, Goh Chok Tong became senior minister and Lee Kuan Yew filled the newly created post of minister mentor, overseeing the cabinet.

Indonesia and Singapore pledged in 2005 to finalize their 1973 maritime boundary agreement by defining unresolved areas north of Batam Island. In August 2005, a prominent Hong Kong journalist, chief China correspondent for the Straits Times newspaper of Singapore, was formally charged by China for spying.

In a continuing effort to promote tourism, in April 2005, a controversial plan to legalize casino gambling was approved, paving the way for the construction of two multi-billion dollar casino resorts. As an added attraction, Singapore announced plans to build a giant Ferris wheel, the Singapore Flyer, 558 feet tall, towering over the 450-foot London Eye.

On 1 September 2005, Singapore's President S.R. Nathan was sworn in for his second term of office without running for reelection because Singapore's Presidential Election Committee had ruled that he was the only candidate fit for presidency. Three rivals had submitted candidacy papers to the committee, but they were disqualified as ineligible, thus canceling elections that would have been held on 27 August.

GOVERNMENT

The constitution of the Republic of Singapore, as amended in 1965, provides for a unicameral parliamentary form of government, with a president who, prior to 1991, served as titular head of state. Singapore practices universal suffrage, and voting has been compulsory for all citizens over 21 since 1959.

In 1993, the unicameral legislature consisted of an 81 elected member parliament and six nominated members (NMPs) appointed by the president. The maximum term for parliamentary sessions is five years, although elections may be called at any time within that period. A general election is held within three months of dissolution. The number of parliamentary seats has increased with each general election since the seating of Singapore's first parliament, from 58 seats (1968) to 60 seats (1972), 69 seats (1976), 75 seats (1980), 79 seats (1984), 81 seats (1988), and 84 seats (2002).

Until the 1988 election, all constituencies were single-member constituencies. In 1988, 60 of the original 81 constituencies (out of the increased number for 1988, i.e., from 79 in 1984 to 81 in 1988) were reorganized into 13 group representation constituencies (GRCs). In each GRC teams of three candidates must be fielded, one of who must be from a minority community, i.e., of an ethnic minority group, Malay, Indian, or an "Other" (all persons other than Chinese, Malay, or Indian). A 1984 constitutional amendment allowed for the presence of at least three opposition representatives as nonconstituency (nominated) members of parliament (NMPs), and in 1990, a law increasing their number was passed. Accordingly, up to six NMPs could be appointed from among opposition candidates who were unsuccessful in an election; these NMPs are given limited voting rights.

In the 1991 general election, 60 members were elected from the 15 four-member GRCs, 21 from single-member constituencies, and the president appointed 6 nominated members of parliament. Changes to the electoral procedures included the increase to a minimum of four candidates to contest a GRC and the maintenance of minority qualification for the one person representing the minority community.

The prime minister, who commands the confidence of a majority of parliament, acts as effective head of government. The prime minister appoints a cabinet that, in 1993, consisted of a senior minister, two deputy prime ministers, and 11 other ministers. Prior to 29 November 1991, the president of the republic was elected by parliament to a four-year term. Since 1991, under an amendment to the constitution passed by parliament, the president is no longer elected by parliament but by the electorate, and has custodial powers over the country's reserves, as well as a major role in deciding key appointments to the judiciary, civil service, and statutory boards. The president is elected for a term of six years. The first direct presidential elections were held on 28 August 1993, electing Ong Teng Cheong. In July 1999, as his wife was dying of cancer, Ong announced he was not seeking a second term. Ong himself had been diagnosed with lymphoma in 1992, when he was deputy prime minister. He underwent treatment but the illness recurred in July 1998. Sellapan Rama (S. R.) Nathan was elected president unopposed on 28 August 1999. Ong died 7 February 2002. On 17 August 2005 Singapore's President Nathan was formally reelected for a second term as president without a ballot cast. Similar to 1999, election officials disqualified other potential candidates on a range of technicalities.

Several constitutional reforms were enacted in 1996 and 1997. In 1996, parliament enacted governmental reforms limiting the power of the president, curtailing his veto poweronly granted in 1991. Under the new rules, parliament can call a referendum if the president vetoes constitutional changes or other measures. In 1997, the number of nominated members of parliament increased from six to nine. However, the government also moved to tighten control over the political process in 1999 with the PAP filing a petition to close the Workers Party for failure to pay damages and costs associated with a defamation case. Earlier in 1998, the government banned all political parties from producing videos and appearing on television to discuss politics.

For the scheduled 17 August 2005 presidential elections, the Singapore Malay National Organization called for a Malay president. The only Malay president, Yusof Ishak, held the office from 1965 to 1970. The elected presidency replaced a rotational process in 1993. Strict qualification rules make it difficult for many to qualify.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Singapore in the late 1980s was effectively a single-party state. The ruling People's Action Party (PAP) of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew has dominated the country since 1959. In 1961, the radical wing of the PAP split from Lee's majority faction to form a new party, the Socialist Front (SF), also known as the Barisan Socialis. In 1966, 11 SF members resigned their seats in parliament, and 2 others joined the underground opposition to the Lee government, leaving the PAP as the sole party represented in parliament. In the general elections of 1972, 1976, and 1980, the PAP won all seats in parliament but carried a declining percentage of the total votes: 65 seats (84.4%); 69 seats (72.4%); and 75 seats (75.5%) (Far Eastern Economic ReviewFEER, 77.7%), respectively. The Workers' Party (WP), the strongest opposition party, won its first parliamentary seat in a 1981 by-election; under its leader, Joshua B. Jeyaretnam, the WP has been critical of undemocratic practices within the PAP government. In the 1984 general elections, the PAP won 77 of the 79 seats, even though it captured only 62.9% of the popular vote, compared with 75.5% in 1980.

In the 1984, 1988, and 1991 general elections, opposition parties gained small ground, and the PAP continued to garner a declining percentage of the total votes: 77 seats (62.9%) PAP [FEER 64.8%], 1 seat Workers Party (WP), 1 seat Singapore Democratic Party (SDP); 80 seats (61.7%) PAP [FEER 63.2%], 1 seat SDP; 77 (61%) PAP [FEER 61%], 1 seat WP, 3 seats SDP, respectively. In the 1991 elections, Chiam See Tong was again the winner for the SDP, along with Ling How Doong and Cheo Chai Chen. The Workers' Party MP was Low Thai Khiang.

The two other seats went to J. B. Jeyaretnam (WP) and to Chiam See Tong of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), the two main opposition parties, which are tolerated but subject to almost continual harassment by the government. For instance, in 1984, Jeyaretnam was accused of making false statements involving irregularities in the collection of the WP's funds; he was acquitted of two of three charges and fined. In 1986, the government appealed the case and the higher court set aside the initial judgment; Jeyaretnam was again fined and jailed for one month, enough to disqualify him from parliament and ban him from contesting elections for five years. On the basis of his criminal convictions he was disbarred and denied a pardon. He was refused permission to appeal against the conviction and sentence that resulted in his disqualification as an MP. But on appeal to the Privy Council against the decision to disbar him, he was vindicated and allowed to practice law again. In October 1991, Jeyaretnam avoided bankruptcy by paying legal costs in a defamation suit he lost, filed by Lee Kuan Yew over remarks made by Jeyaretnam in a 1988 election rally. On 10 November 1991, the ban on Jeyaretnam standing election expired. By avoiding bankruptcy, he would be able to contest the by-elections that Prime Minister Goh had promised to hold in the next 1218 months. However, the WP failed to field the four required candidates for a group represented constituency (GRC).

Then, in March 1993, Dr. Chee Soon Juan, an opposition politician from the SDP who ran against Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in the 1992 by-election, was expelled from his post as lecturer in the Department of Social Work and Psychology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) based on claims of "dishonest conduct" for using us$138 out of his research grant to courier his wife's doctoral thesis to a US university. In the end, Dr. Chee ended up losing his case to be reinstated.

The main opposition parties are the SDP and the WP. Smaller minority parties are the United People's Front, which is also critical of antidemocratic aspects of the government rule and pro-Malaysian; the Singapore Malays' National Organization; and the Singapore Solidarity Party, formed in 1986 by three former leaders of the SDP. There were 22 registered political parties at the beginning of 1993: The Singapore Chinese Party; Persatuan Melayu Singapura; Partai Rakyat, Singapore State Division; Angkatan Islam; The Workers' Party; Pertubohan Kebangsaan Melayu Singapura; People's Action Party (PAP); United People's Party; Barisan Socialis (BS), Socialist Front (SF); Parti Kesatuan Ra'ayat (United Democratic Party); Singapore Indian Congress; Alliance Party Singapura; United National Front; National Party of Singapore; People's Front; Justice Party, Singapore; Democratic Progressive Party; People's Republican Party; United People's Front; Singapore Democratic Party (SDP); National Solidarity Party (NSP); Singapore National Front. The Malay Communist Party and the underground Malayan National Liberation Front are illegal.

In 1997, parliamentary elections were held and, again, the PAP maintained its virtual monopoly of seats. Of 83 seats up for election, the long-ruling party captured 81, with 47 unopposed. The opposition leaders Jeyaretnam and Tang Liang Hong, both with the WP, won seats. After the election, in a move that has been commonplace in Singapore, leaders of the PAP, including Prime Minister Goh and Senior Minister (and longtime leader) Lee, sued Tang for defamation. Tang promptly fled the country, saying he feared for his safety as the government froze his assets and imposed travel restrictions on his family. Jeyaretnam continued to face bankruptcy and the loss of his parliamentary seat as well, from a defamation payment awarded against him for allegedly defaming a PAP parliamentarian and nine other members of the Tamil community in an article written by a colleague in 1995. In the 1997 elections, the SDP lost all three seats it had won in the 1991 round.

In parliamentary elections held on 3 November 2001, the PAP won 82 out of 84 seats with 75.3% of the vote. Opposition candidates contested only 29 of the seats. The WP took one seat, as did the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), which includes the Singapore People's Party (SPP), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), National Solidarity Party, Singapore Justice Party, and Singapore Malay National Organization. The opposition parties complained that constituency changes and a range of regulations imposed by the PAP made it more difficult for them to win votes. The Parliamentary Elections Act was amended, curbing the use of the Internet for political campaigning and banning the publication of opinion polls during elections. The next parliamentary elections were to be held 25 June 2007.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Singapore, veritably a city-state, has no local government divisions. When the People's Action Party (PAP) came to power in 1959, the postcolonial city council was abolished. The former city council and rural board were integrated into departments of the central government. The Town Councils Act, enacted in June 1988, reintroduced a local organizational structure. Town councils were formed to take over the management and maintenance of the common properties of housing estates within towns. As of 1 March 1991, 27 town councils had been formed. After the general elections of August 1991, five town councils were dissolved and three new town councils were established, bringing the number of town councils to 25. In 1997, the number of town councils was reduced to 16.

Prime Minister Goh announced the creation of Community Development Councils (CDCs) in 1996. Set up after the 1997 general election as social parallels to the town councils, the CDCs were established to improve community bonding and to manage a spectrum of social services, from child care centers to public welfare assistance. Originally nine CDCs were established; in November 2001, their number was reduced to five. They are South West, North West, Central Singapore, South East, and North East. They are managed by a council comprising a mayor and between 12 and 80 council members.

In 2005, a Campaign Against Dengue was launched in Singapore, with town councils playing a major oversight role. Town councils stepped up checks for mosquitoes, as dengue cases soared to 9,540 cases by mid-September, already surpassing the 2004 total of 9,459.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Singapore's legal system is based on British common law. The judiciary includes the Supreme Court as well as subordinate courts. The subordinate courts include the magistrates' courts, trying civil and criminal offenses with maximum penalties of three years' imprisonment or a fine of s$60,000; the district courts, trying cases with maximum penalties of 10 years' imprisonment or a fine of s$250,000; the juvenile courts, for offenders below the age of 16; the coroners' courts; and the small claims courts, which hear civil and commercial claims for sums of less than s$10,000. The Supreme Court is headed by a chief justice and is divided into the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Court of Criminal Appeal. The High Court has unlimited original jurisdiction in both criminal and civil cases but ordinarily chooses to exercise such jurisdictional authority only in major cases. In its appellate jurisdiction, the High Court hears criminal and civil appeals from the magistrates' and district courts. Appeal in a civil case heard by the High Court in its original jurisdiction goes to the Court of Appeal, and in a criminal case, to the Court of Criminal Appeal.

In 1993, the former Court of Appeal (for civil cases) and the Court of Criminal Appeal were combined to form a single Court of Appeal. This reform was part of an overall plan for the eventual elimination of referrals to the Privy Council in London. All appeals to the Privy Council in London were eliminated in 1994.

The president appoints judges of the Supreme Court on the recommendation of the prime minister after consultation with the chief justice. A Legal Service Commission supervises and assigns the placement of the subordinate court judges and magistrates who have the status of civil servants; however, the president appoints subordinate courts judges on the recommendation of the chief justice. While the constitution provides for an independent judiciary and the judicial system provides a fair and efficient judicial process, the Internal Security Act allows the government to arrest, detain, and prosecute those who are deemed to threaten national security. Defendants have the right to be present at the trials, to have an attorney, and to confront witnesses against them.

ARMED FORCES

In 2005, Singapore's armed forces numbered 72,500 active personnel, supported by 312,500 reservists. The Army had 50,000 personnel, including a single Rapid Deployment division and three combined arms divisions. Equipment included 100 main battle tanks, 350 light tanks, 294 armored infantry fighting vehicles, over 1,280 armored personnel carriers, and more than 286 artillery pieces. The Navy had 4,000 active personnel. The fleet's major units included three tactical submarines, six corvettes, and 17 patrol/coastal vessels. The Air Force totaled 13,500 personnel with 111 combat-capable aircraft that included 43 fighters, 44 fighter ground attack aircraft, and 28 attack helicopters. Paramilitary forces numbered 93,800 active members and included the Singapore Police Force (12,000), an 81,800-member civil defense force, and a 1,500-man contingent of gurkha troops. The 2005 defense budget totaled $5.57 billion.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Having joined the United Nations (UN) on 21 September 1965, Singapore participates in ESCAP and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the IAEA, the World Bank, ILO, UNCTAD, and the WHO. Singapore served on the UN Security Council in 200102. It is a participant in APEC, the Asian Development Bank, the Colombo Plan, the WTO, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), and G-77. Probably its most important international association is its membershipalong with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Bruneiin ASEAN, the Association of South-East Asian Nations. Singapore has played a leading part in this important regional grouping, which has sought to maximize economic cooperation among its member states, to regularize political consultation on the part of the constituent governments, and to limit foreign political and military interference in the area. Singapore is part of the Nonaligned Movement.

In environmental cooperation, Singapore is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Historically, Singapore's economy was based primarily on its role as an entrepôt for neighboring countries due to its strategic geographic location at the entrance to the Strait of Malacca. It did not have minerals or other primary products of its own to export, but it served a major economic function by processing and transshipping the goods of nearby lands. Its most significant natural resource is a deep water harbor. As a result of these circumstances, Singapore became highly active in shipbuilding and repair, tin smelting, and rubber and copra milling. Until about 1960, however, its economy was frequently shaken by major fluctuations in its export earnings (particularly from rubber and tin) as a consequence of often adverse commodity and price trends. Since the early 1960s, Singapore has attempted to break away from this economic pattern. Its government embarked on an ambitious and largely successful program of promoting industrial investment (both from abroad and locally), developing industrial estates, and providing industrial financing and technical services.

By the early 1980s, Singapore had built a much stronger and diversified economy, which gave it an economic importance in Southeast Asia out of proportion to its small size. Government plans during the first half of the 1980s called for realigning industrial activities from traditional labor-intensive, low-wage activities to capital-intensive, high-wage and high-technology activities, notably the electronic industries and oil refining. In 1985, however, Singapore's economy declined for the first time in 20 years. One of the reasons for the decline was high wages, which made Singaporean products less competitive on the world market. Other reasons for the economic downturn included a slumping demand for oil and electronic products and the economic woes of Malaysia, Indonesia, and other important trading partners.

By the late 1980s, Singapore had begun to further diversify its economy, making it capable of providing manufacturing, financial, and communications facilities for multinational firms. In the late 1980s, one of the fastest-growing sectors of Singapore's economy was international banking and finance, accounting for some 25% of GDP. It ranked behind Tokyo and Hong Kong among financial service centers in the Southeast Asia region. In 1989, earnings from manufacturing accounted for 30% of GDP. Manufacturing accounted for 24.3% of GDP in 2002.

In the 1990s, productivity increased, as did labor costs. Export growth in high-technology manufactured goods signaled Singapore's success in shifting to higher value added production. The electronics industry accounted for the largest share of value-added in manufacturing. Manufacturing was dominated by the production of computer peripherals and oil processing. Between 1992 and 1995, property prices doubled, reaching their peak in 1996. In the five years 1993 to 1997, GDP growth averaged 8.84%. In June 1997, Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule, which was one trigger for the Asian financial crisis. In Singapore, GDP growth dropped to 1.5% in 1998 and residential property prices fell 40%. Singapore's sensitivity to the external economic environment, with trade running 300% of GDP, is extreme. Nevertheless, Singapore weathered the crisis without a contraction, and in 1999, growth recovered to 5.4%. Driven by the worldwide boom in information technology (IT) demand and robust recoveries in domestic consumption and investment, GDP growth soared to 9.9% in 2000. However, the dot.com bust in 2001 led to the economy's first yearly contraction since 1985, 2%. Recovery began in the second quarter of 2002, and though weak because of continued low export demand, growth was a positive 2.2% for the year. GDP growth in 2003 was a sluggish 0.8%, but in 2004 it soared to an estimated 8.4%, thanks to the recovery of the tourism sector, double-digit retail sales gains, rising investment rates, increased manufacturing production, and the construction industry's recovery from a two-year slump, among other factors. Real GDP growth was estimated at a more moderate 4.9% in 2005, due to a global electronics downturn and a slowdown of the US economy. GDP growth was forecast to average 4.5% a year in 200607. GDP growth averaged 3.1% over the 200105 period.

Constraints on Singapore's economic performance are labor shortages, rising labor costs, and declines in productivity. Singapore maintains one of the most liberal trading regimes in the world, and has regularly been ranked one of the least corrupt and most competitive countries. The government is a major and active player in the economy, owning substantial productive assets (land and capital). The government directs and targets the economy through laws, regulations, and incentives and participates in business ventures through Singapore's unique hybrid, the government linked company (GLC). Unemployment rose to 4.7% in 2001 and remained above 4% throughout 2002, a high level for Singapore. Unemployment stood at 4.8% in 2003 and was estimated at 3.4% in 2004. Inflation over the 200105 period averaged 0.6%.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $131.3 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $29,700. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 4.5%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 0.3%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 0% of GDP, industry 33.6%, and services 66.4%.

Foreign aid receipts amounted to $7 million (about $2 per capita) and accounted for approximately 0.0% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Singapore totaled $39.41 billion (about $9,272 per capita) based on a GDP of $92.4 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003, household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 5.4%. Approximately 15% of household consumption was spent on food, 5% on fuel, 3% on health care, and 14% on education.

LABOR

In 2005, Singapore's workforce was estimated at 2.19 million. In 2003, manufacturing accounted for 18%; construction 6%; transportation and communication 11%; financial, business, and other services 49%; and other undefined occupations at 16%. About 24% of the labor force consists of some 600,000 foreign workers. The unemployment rate was estimated at 3.4% in 2005.

In 2001, there were 72 registered trade unions in Singapore, with some 350,000 members. All but nine were affiliated with Singapore's National Trade Unions Congress (which represents, as a result, about 99% of the country's organized workers). The government generally asserts a strong influence over trade policies. Workers have the right to strike but rarely do so. Collective bargaining is utilized.

The standard legal workweek is 44 hours, with one day off each week. An annual bonus equal to at least one month's salary is customarily paid. Minors as young as 12 may work with the permission of the commissioner of labor, but there are few applications for such permission and one has never been granted. In practice, the minimum working age is 14 and violations of this regulation are very rare. The government has set minimum workplace health and safety regulations that are effectively enforced. There is no minimum wage.

AGRICULTURE

Urbanization and industrialization have taken ever larger amounts of land away from agricultural activity in postWorld War II Singapore. (World War II was fought 193945.) Many of the rubber and coconut plantations that dominated Singapore's landscape before the war have disappeared altogether. Housing for a growing populationand factories for its employmentstand where rubber and coconut trees used to grow. Nonetheless, agriculture remains part of Singapore's total economic activity. Growing methods on the island are the most intensive in all of Southeast Asia.

About 3% of the land area is used for farming, and vegetables remain a significant source of income. Remarkably, through the decades of the 1960s and 1970s and into the 1980s, Singapore was able to increase its primary produce annually through intensification. In 2004, production of fresh vegetables totaled 5,000 tons, resulting in a decreased need to rely on foreign produce imports. Singapore's trade deficit in agricultural products was us$1.36 billion in 2004. Orchids are grown for export.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Singapore has been self-sufficient (or nearly so) in the production of pork, poultry, and eggs since 1964, a notable achievement considering the modest amount of land available and the demands of growing urbanization and industrialization. The bird flu virus, which has affected a number of chicken-producing countries in East Asia since 2004, has created an atmosphere of uncertainty for chicken traders in Singapore. Hog and poultry farming together constitute Singapore's largest primary products industry. However, hog farming is being phased out because of environmental pollution; domestic pork requirements are increasingly being met by imports. In 2005, the livestock population included two million chickens and 200,000 pigs. That year, about 22,000 tons of eggs were produced.

The Pig and Poultry Research and Training Institute and Lim Chu Kang Veterinary Experimental Station conduct research on feeding, housing, breeding, management, and disease control.

FISHING

Local fishermen operate chiefly in inshore waters, but some venture into the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. Traditional fishing methods are in use along coastal waters, but there is a trend toward mechanization in both offshore and deep-sea fishing. In 2003, Singapore's fishermen caught 7,109 tons of fish (71% aquaculture).

All fresh fish are auctioned at the Jurong Central Fish Market or at the Punggol Fishing Port and Wholesale Fish Market. The Jurong facility provides modern shore-support assistance and processing plants. Aquaculture concentrates on the breeding of grouper, sea bass, mussels, and prawns. A marine fish-farming scheme to encourage aquaculture in designated coastal waters was implemented in 1981; by the end of 1985, 60 marine fish farms were in operation. In 2003, exports of fish products were valued at us$315 million.

FORESTRY

In 2000, about 3.3% of Singapore's land area was classified as forest. There is little productive forestry left on the island, but Singapore continues to have a fairly sizable sawmilling industry, processing timber imported largely from Malaysia (with some additional imports from Indonesia). Both Malaysia and Indonesia are expanding their processing capacities, however, and the industry is declining in Singapore in the face of the government's policy shift to high-technology industries. Roundwood imports totaled 34,900 cu m (1,232,000 cu ft) in 2004. Imports of forestry products totaled us$533.1 million, while exports amounted to us$451.3 million.

MINING

There is no mining in Singapore. However, although the city-state has limited natural resources, it is one of the most important shipping centers in the world. Singapore has the world's third-largest oil-refining center, behind Houston and Rotterdam, and the major oil and metal futures trading market in Asia. The production of chemicals was the second leading industry in 2002, and the manufacture of oil drilling equipment and petroleum refining ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Chemicals, mineral fuels, and petroleum products ranked among the top five export commodities. Singapore has no integrated cement plant and local operations ground imported clinker to produce cement.

ENERGY AND POWER

Singapore's total electrical generating capacity in 2002 was estimated at 7.657 million kW. All power was generated thermally, largely from imported mineral fuels. Production of electricity generated in 2002 totaled 32.585 billion kWh, with demand put at 30.304 billion kWh. Three subsidiaries of Singapore Power (PowerSeraya, Senoko Power and Tuas Power) generate 90% of Singapore's power. Another subsidiary of Singapore Power (PowerGrid) operates and maintains the country's electric power distribution and transmission system.

Although Singapore must import all the oil and natural gas it consumes, the country is a major petroleum-refining center. As of 1 January 2005, Singapore's crude oil refining capacity was estimated at 1.3 million barrels per day. In 2002, refined oil product output averaged 814,100 barrels per day. All petroleum product imports in 2002 averaged 1,619,810 barrels per day, of which 813,210 barrels per day were crude oil. Exports of refined petroleum products in 2002 averaged 917,900 barrels per day. Domestic demand for refined oil products averaged 698,050 barrels per day. Consumption and imports of natural gas in 2002 each totaled 41.67 billion cu ft. Imports of coal in 2002 totaled 11,000 short tons.

INDUSTRY

Singapore's major industries were once rubber milling and tin smelting. The modern industrialization of Singapore began in 1961 with the creation of the Economic Development Board to formulate and implement an ambitious manufacturing scheme. Most of the first factories set up under this program were of an import-substitute nature requiring tariff protection, but many such protective tariffs were subsequently withdrawn. Large-scale foreign manufacturing operations in Singapore commenced in 1967 with the establishment of plants by several major multinational electronics corporations. The Jurong Town Corporation was established under the Jurong Town Corporation Act of 1968 to develop and manage industrial estates and sites in Singapore. The emphasis was on upgrading facilities to attract high-technology and skill-intensive industries. The manufacturing sector grew by an average annual rate of about 20% during the 196274 period, and it registered an average annual increase of over 10% from 1975 to 1981.

Industry's share of GDP rose from 12% in 1960 to 29% in 1981. Such dramatic achievements were in large measure made possible by the existence of one of the most developed economic infrastructures in Southeast Asia, as well as by government efforts to provide a skilled, disciplined, and highly motivated workforce. Labor-intensive operations are encouraged to move offshore by the government, and service and high-technology industries are encouraged. Major industries are electronics, financial services, oil-drilling equipment, petroleum refining, rubber processing and rubber products, processed food and beverages, ship repair, and biotechnology. The most important manufacturing sector is electronics. During the 1990s, Singapore was the world's leading producer of computer disk drives, and as of the mid-2000s, there has been significant investments in wafer-fabrication plants. However, this dependence upon electronics can have negative consequences as well as positive ones: When world demand for electronics declines, Singapore is hard hit. In 1998, industry accounted for 35% of GDP, and manufacturing for 22%. In 2001, industry contributed 33% of GDP and employed about 33% of the labor force. In 2004, industry contributed 36.2% of GDP and employed about 24% of the labor force. Of the components of the industrial sector, manufacturing contributes about 25% to GDP and construction about 6.8%. Within manufacturing, electronics account for about half of manufactured output, with chemicals second. The electronics sector accounts for about 48% of investment in manufacturing; chemicals about 24%; engineering, 17%; and the biomedical sector about 9%.

Petroleum refining is a well-established industry in Singapore. After Rotterdam and Houston, Singapore is the world's third-largest refining center. Production capacity from its three main refineries (capable of processing 40 different types of crude oil) was 1.3 million barrels per day in 2005. The petrochemical industry has grown rapidly as a direct result of Singapore's refinery capacity. A large project to reclaim seven islands to form a 12-sq mi petrochemical complex on Jurong Island was due to be completed in mid-2006. A $200 million synthetic gas plant has been built on Jurong Island by the Messer Group of Germany and Texaco of the United States. Also, Singapore's second naptha cracking plant was launched in 2002 by the Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore and its partners, Phillips Petroleum, the Polyolefin Co., Hoechst, and Seraya Chemicals. The Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore is a government-linked company (GLC). GLCs are majority government owned but operate commercially, unlike traditional parastatals. GLCs account for more than 60% of Singapore's GDP. Industrial GLCs include Singapore Technologies (aerospace and electronics manufacturer); Keppel Corporation (oil drilling and related equipment manufacturer); Sembawang Corporation (construction and environmental engineering); Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing; Singapore Telecom Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore; and Singapore Refining Corporation.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The Science Council, established in 1967, advises the minister for trade and industry on scientific and technological matters relating to research and development (R&D) and to the training and utilization of manpower. The Singapore National Academy of Science promotes the advancement of science and technology, and the Singapore Association for the Advancement of Science, founded in 1976, disseminates science and technology. Other major scientific and technical learned societies and research facilities include an academy of medicine, an institute of physics, an institute of technical education, botanical gardens, a mathematical society, and a medical association. Scientific education is stressed at the university level and supported by training programs for more than 20,000 students (1990) in the nation's technical and vocational institutes. Special centers have been established for research on cancer, human reproduction, viruses, and immunology. Two new research institutions were established in 1985: the Institute of Systems Science, which does research in the area of information technology, and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, a center for biotechnological research. The Singapore Science Park, located near the National University of Singapore, was developed in 1987. In 1993, the National Computer Board announced an effort to create an "intelligent island" through an information infrastructure linking all of Singapore.

In 2002, there were 4,352 scientists and engineers and 381 technicians engaged in R&D per million people. In that same year, high-technology exports were valued at $63.792 billion and accounted for 60% of the country's manufactured exports.

In 1991, the government announced a s$250 million spending program to create science and high-technology parks. Expenditures for R&D in 2002 totaled $2,188.905 million, or 2.19% of GDP. Of that amount, the business sector accounted for the largest portion at 49.9%, followed by the government at 41.8%. Higher education, private nonprofit organizations, and foreign sources accounted for 0.7%, 0.5%, and 7.2%, respectively.

Courses in basic and applied sciences are offered at Nanyang Technical University (founded in 1981), the National University of Singapore (founded in 1980 by merger), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (founded in 1963), Singapore Polytechnic (founded in 1954), and Temasek Polytechnic (founded in 1990).

DOMESTIC TRADE

Marketing has always been an activity in which Singapore's Chinese, Indian and Arab merchants have played a major role. Their participation has increased in recent years as local branches of European firms have become less important. Warehousing, packaging, freight forwarding, and related services are of a high standard. A wide range of consumer goods, such as luxury, electronic, handicraft, and food items, are available in Singapore from international department stores, brand name specialty stores, local department store chains, and neighborhood shops and markets. Prices are fixed in most larger retail establishments; however, haggling is still common in smaller shops. Within the industrial sector, prices are inflated to account for bargaining.

Advertising is done by radio and television, outdoor displays, slides in motion picture theaters, and newspapers. There are several advertising agencies. Consumers are highly brand conscious, and advertising concentrates considerably on product trademarks.

Usual business hours are 9 am to 5 pm, with many businesses closed from 1 pm to 2 pm. Most major enterprises and foreign firms operate Monday through Friday and are open a half day on Saturday. A number of Chinese and Indian businesses maintain longer hours, with some open seven days a week. Bank hours are 9:30 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday, and Saturday from 9:30 am to 1 pm. Government offices are open from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, and 8 am to 1 pm on Saturday. Retail stores are open from 10 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday, with most shops also open on Sunday.

FOREIGN TRADE

Since World War II, Singapore has changed from an entrepôt center for the incoming and outgoing traffic of its neighbors in Southeast Asia to an exporting power in its own right. The leading exports of the mid-1960srubber, coffee, pepper, and palm oilwere replaced in the early 1980s by a variety of capital-intensive manufactures. Except for an occasional slowdown, annual levels of trade regularly record double-digit expansion. During the late 1990s, expansion in the high-end manufacturing and services sectors began replacing capital-intensive production. The total value of trade in goods (exports and imports) was equivalent to 273% of GDP in 2002. This figure included a large volume of reexport trade, which is encouraged by Singapore's favorable location in the Strait of Malacca and its excellent port facilities. Re-exports accounted for 47% of total exports in 2002. Exports reached

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 144,194.7 127,935.4 16,259.3
Malaysia 22,782.3 21,547.9 1,234.4
United States 20,559.5 17,982.7 2,576.8
China, Hong Kong SAR 14,423.3 3,089.1 11,334.2
China 10,129.0 11,068.2 -939.2
Japan 9,690.9 15,393.0 -5,702.1
Other Asia nes 6,897.9 6,467.1 430.8
Thailand 6,150.8 5,504.8 646.0
Korea, Republic of 6,058.6 4,959.5 1,099.1
Australia 4,679.1 2,184.8 2,494.3
Netherlands 4,618.6 1,089.8 3,528.8
() data not available or not significant.
Current Account 28,187.0
     Balance on goods 29,319.0
         Imports -128,490.0
         Exports 157,809.0
     Balance on services 1,137.0
     Balance on income -1,125.0
     Current transfers -1,144.0
Capital Account -168.0
Financial Account -25,110.0
     Direct investment abroad -5,536.0
     Direct investment in Singapore 11,409.0
     Portfolio investment assets -11,265.0
     Portfolio investment liabilities 363.0
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets -18,792.0
     Other investment liabilities -1,289.0
Net Errors and Omissions 3,770.0
Reserves and Related Items -6,679.0
() data not available or not significant.

168% of GDP in 2004. (Exports can count for more than 100% of GDP because most of the components used to produce them are imported.)

Most of the advanced electronics that Singapore exports also make up a substantial percentage of the world export market. Because electronics are vulnerable to the vagaries of world demand, however, Singpore has taken steps to revive domestic consumption.

Singapore's main trading partners are the ASEAN groupprincipally Malaysiathe United States, China and Hong Kong, and Japan.

Singpore's main exports in 2004 were electronics (22.7% of total exports); oil (11.1%); petroleum products (9.4%); and telecommunications apparatus (1.6%). Major imports in 2004 included machinery and equipment (58.6% of total imports); oil (15%); manufactured goods (6.7%); and chemicals and chemical products (6.5%).

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

The traditional current account surplus is largely due to demand for non-oil exports (especially electronics) from the United States, Japan, and regional countries with electronics production facilities. The account also benefits from high net investment income receipts. Total official reserves are estimated to be equal to 8.8 months of imports. A sharp contraction of imports in 1998 due to the financial crisis caused a high current account surplus, while the devalued currency caused an even larger outflow of cash from the financial accounts. Singapore's balance of payments weakened in 2001, largely due to that year's decline in trade. Singapore's recorded trade surplus in 2003 was $28.1 billion. Exports totaled $158.4 billion, and imports stood at $130.3 billion. The current account surplus averaged 22.8% of GDP over the 200105 period. The current account surplus stood at an estimated $8.8 billion in 2004.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

Singapore was founded as a trading outpost by Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffl es of the East India Co. in 1819. The country's rigid development was closely linked to the government's efficient financial management. Conservative fiscal and monetary policies generated high savings, which, along with high levels of foreign investment, allowed growth without the accumulation of external debt. The banking system was opened to foreign banks in the late 1960s. In 1988, Singapore had foreign reserves worth about $533 billion, which, per capita, put it ahead of Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan. Many sources of finance are available to organizations doing business in Singapore. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) requires banks to observe its policy of discouraging the internalization of the Singapore dollar. The MAS performs the functions of a central bank, except for the issuing of currency. The Board of Commissioners of Currency deals with currency issues. The MAS seeks to strike a balance between supervision on the one hand, and development of the financial markets on the other.

Singapore has not encouraged the freewheeling financial services culture of Hong Kong, nor has it resorted to a divigiste approach, as in South Korea or Taiwan. Until quite recently, Singapore has tried to enjoy the best of both worlds. This is now starting to change, as Singapore's own major banks, long regarded as complacent due to their domestic oligopoly, are beginning to venture overseas. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $20.1 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $101.0 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 1.99%. As of 1999, Singapore had more than 700 financial institutions, including approximately 230 commercial and merchant banks, 142 of them commercial banks. Some 9 of the 31 banks with full banking licenses were locally incorporated; the remainder were branches of various overseas banks. Since 1971, the government has sought to attract representation by a variety of foreign banks in terms of countries and geographical regions. Most of the new foreign banks allowed into Singapore have been offshore banks that concentrated on foreign exchange transactions. The Post Office Savings Bank (POS-Bank) is the national savings bank (est. 1877). Thirteen commercial banks have restricted licenses, and 98 banks operate offshore. Singapore's four largest banksDBS Bank, United Overseas Bank (UOB), OCBC Bank, and Overseas Union Bank Ltd. (OUB)had a 90% jump in profits in 1999 over 1998, recovering from the financial crisis quickly.

In October 1992, the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange severed all links with the Singapore Stock Exchange. All the Singapore stocks moved to the Singapore exchange and the Malaysian companies moved to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. As of 2004, a total of 489 companies were listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, which had a market capitalization of $171.555 billion. In that same year, the STI index rose 17.1% to 2,066.1.

The Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX) opened in 1984. SIMEX traded, as of the end of 1985, futures contracts in gold, eurodollar time deposit interest rates, and US/deutschemark and US/yen currency exchanges. Trading in Japanese stock index and sterling futures began in 1986. In 1989, SIMEX also became Asia's first energy market with the introduction of the High-Sulphur Fuel Oil futures, the world's most active contract of its kind. In 1999, SIMEX achieved its second-highest annual volume of 25.8 million contracts. It was voted International Exchange of the Year in 1989, 1992, 1993, and 1998.

INSURANCE

Most insurance firms are branches or agencies of UK (or other Commonwealth), European, and US companies, although local participation in insurance, particularly business insurance, is increasing. Marine and warehouse insurance constitutes most of the business insurance, but almost all types of commercial insurance are available. Workers' compensation, third-party automobile liability, and professional liability are all compulsory insurance in Singapore, and must be placed with local companies.

The regulatory authority is the insurance commissioner of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. In 1998, total insurance premiums amounted to s$7.8 billion. As of 30 June 1999, there were a total of 160 registered insurers. In 2003, the value of all direct insurance premiums written totaled $8.898 billion, of which $5.561 billion was accounted for by life insurance premiums. In that same year, the top nonlife insurer was NTUC Income, with gross written nonlife premiums (including personal accident and healthcare) of $208.1 million, while the nation's leading life insurer was AIA, with gross written life insurance premiums of $1,042.5.

PUBLIC FINANCE

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Singapore's central government took in revenues of approximately us$18.6 billion and had expenditures of us$18.2 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately us$460 million. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 102% of GDP. Total external debt was us$24.67 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2002, the most recent year for which it had data, central government

Revenue and Grants 35,100 100.0%
     Tax revenue 21,025 59.9%
     Social contributions
     Grants
     Other revenue 14,075 40.1%
Expenditures 29,741 100.0%
     General public services 2,618 8.8%
     Defense 8,485 28.5%
     Public order and safety 1,767 5.9%
     Economic affairs 3,656 12.3%
     Environmental protection
     Housing and community amenities 3,199 10.8%
     Health 1,662 5.6%
     Recreational, culture, and religion 1,090 3.7%
     Education 6,952 23.4%
     Social protection 1,242 4.2%
() data not available or not significant.

revenues in millions of Singapore dollars were 35,100 and expenditures were 29,741. The value of revenues in millions of US dollars was $19,602 and expenditures $17,129, based on a market exchange rate for 2002 of 1.7906 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 8.8%; defense, 28.5%; public order and safety, 5.9%; economic affairs, 12.3%; housing and community amenities, 10.8%; health, 5.6%; recreation, culture, and religion, 3.7%; education, 23.4%; and social protection, 4.2%.

TAXATION

Individual and commercial incomes are taxed whether derived in Singapore or from outside sources. Types of direct taxation include income, property, estate duty, and payroll taxes; the Inland Revenue Department is responsible for the assessment and collection of all such levies. As of 2006, the top marginal personal tax rate was 21%. In 2007, the top personal rate is to be reduced to 20%. As of 1 January 2004, foreign income received by a resident individual was exempted from Singapore's personal income tax. However, foreign income received via a partnership in Singapore is taxed. Also, nonresidents working in Singapore more than 60 days but less than 183 days in a calendar year are taxed at a 15% rate on gross employment income or taxed on employment income as a resident, whichever is higher.

As of 2005, Singapore had a standard corporate income tax rate of 20%. Industrial establishments, companies, and various other businesses are eligible to deduct from their gross profits varying and usually generous depreciation allowances for building, plants, and machinery. There are tax holidays of 5 to 15 years on qualifying profits for approved "pioneer" industries. Companies whose "pioneer" status has expired or who do not qualify, but still engage in high value operations, can receive a reduced rate of 5% for a period of 10 years and with extensions, up to 25 years. Other taxes include a goods and services tax (GST) at a rate of 5%, a stamp tax, and a property tax.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Prior to the 1960s, Singapore was essentially a free port, with import duties levied only on alcoholic beverages, tobacco and tobacco products, petroleum products, and certain soaps. In 1959, however, a law was passed empowering the government to levy import duties on other products to protect local industries. In the 1960s, many new tariffs were established with the primary aim of helping to support development of local manufacturing firms. In the early 1970s, many items were withdrawn from the tariff list, and by 1982 there were only 176 items on the list, compared with 349 in 1972. In 1985, excise duties on sugar and sugar substitutes and import and excise duties on fuel oil were lifted. By 1993, there were almost no import tariffs except for duties on alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, petroleum products, and a few other items. Duties ranged from 545%. There are no export duties. As of 2002, the average tariff in Singapore was below 1%, as more than 99% of goods entered duty free. In 2000, duties were levied on tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, gasoline, automobiles (31%), and motorcycles (12%).

Singapore has six free trade zones, five for seaborne cargo (in the five gateways of the port) and one for air cargo. The GST (goods and service tax) of 5%, which is levied on all imports, is not levied on goods stored in the free trade zones.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Legislation to attract new foreign investments, the Economic Incentives Act, was passed in 1967; it granted exemption from taxation for a five-year period to investors for export development and provided inducements and guarantees with respect to repatriation of profits and capital. Overseas offices were set up to promote such foreign investment in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Zürich, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Stockholm, and Melbourne. The Capital Participation Scheme, adopted in 1973, permitted high-technology industries to set up branches in Singapore with 50% equity participation by the government. With changes in Singapore's industrial development, there have also been alterations in incentives. In the early 1980s, the main criteria for granting tax incentives were capital investment ratios (including training costs) per worker, value added per worker, and the ratio of technical personnel and skilled workers to the total workforce. Major investment activity focused on petroleum refining, general manufacturing, electronics, and hotel construction, as well as on traditional endeavors.

Since the mid-1980s the government's incentive policies have broadened to include Singapore's development as a total international business center, an international air-sea cargo center, a location for the regional operational headquarters of multinational corporations, and a major exporter of services. Investment in the manufacturing sector is encouraged in areas of medium-range or higher technology, or the design and production of higher valueadded products. Singapore does not require that foreign investors take on private-sector or government joint-venture partners.

In 2000, foreign companies' net investment commitments in manufacturing were $4.2 billion, somewhat ahead of the $4.016 billion reached in 1997 before the Asian financial crisis, and $1 billion more than the level in 1998. US companies accounted for 51% of the total; European companies, 23.8%; Japan, 21%; and all other countries, 4.26%. As of 1999, cumulative foreign investment in Singapore was a little over $31 billion, of which $12.2 billion (39%) was from US companies; 31.6% from Japanese companies; and 25% from Europe. Foreign investments account for about one-quarter of cumulative gross fixed assets in the manufacturing sector.

In 2002, the total stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) stood at approximately $137.4 billion, or 1.51% of GDP. Some $49.9 billion of that figure was invested in the manufacturing sector. The United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom were the primary investors.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Technological change and political considerations in the postWorld War II periodnot least of all the nationalism that accompanied the quest for independence among the region's European colonieshave combined to alter dramatically the economic self-perception and public policies of this diminutive island state. By the late 1950s, it was obvious that prospects for economic growth would be severely limited if Singapore remained bound by its old economic role as entrepôt. The decision to industrializeand to do so rapidlywas deliberate policy. The initial emphasis in the government's economic development program was on employment. The increasing trend toward economic self-sufficiency in neighboring Indonesia and Malaysiaand the steady retreat of the United Kingdom from defense responsibilities in the region as a whole (centered on its large Singapore naval and air facilities)prompted the government to focus completely on finding alternative employment for the island's highly skilled and disciplined workforce. By the end of the 1960s, this problem was effectively solved, with Singapore boasting one of the lowest unemployment rates in all of Asia.

Emphasis in the mid-1970s was on labor skills and technology, especially as these were identified with such modern industries as machine tools, petrochemicals, electronics, and other precision work. A high level of participation by private foreign capital provided an important cornerstone to this development. In 1979, the government abandoned its earlier policy of stimulating low-wage industries and adopted a policy of encouraging capital-intensive and technologically sophisticated industries. Especially targeted for investment promotion in the 1980s were computers, computer peripherals, electronic medical instruments, automotive components, specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and optical and photocopying equipment. Following the recession of 198586, the government concentrated on developing new markets and on turning Singapore into a manufacturing, financial, and communications center for multinational corporations.

In the 1990s, the economic development strategy emphasized both the manufacturing and service sectors. The Economic Development Board (EDB), formed in 1961, has guided Singapore's industrialization. Early emphasis was placed on promoting investment in manufacturing. The Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), announced in 1991, focused on education and human resources to enhance export competitiveness. Emphasis on developing the service sector has been supported and enhanced by the Operational Headquarters (OHQ) program, encouraging companies to use Singapore as regional headquarters or as a central distribution center. The Creative Business Program promotes investment in the film, media, publishing, arts and entertainment, textile, fashion and design sectors. The EDB works toward Singapore's vision of its future as a developed country through the promotion of business. Singapore's globalization strategy hinges on making a transformation from a production-driven economy to an innovation-driven one. Other key elements of this strategy are the reversal of downward trends in productivity, and sustaining foreign investment in Singapore's capital investment. Singapore initiated the formation of a growth triangle, linking Johor, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia's Riau Province, focusing on Batam Island. Singapore benefits by tapping into a supply of low-wage workers and offshore land to sustain its more labor-intensive industries.

The Asian financial crisis was only a temporary setback for the healthy economy of Singapore. Roadblocks to further economic development include rising labor costs, which have threatened investment in Singapore's industrial sector, causing the government to implement strategies to cut costs and increase productivity. The rise of Singapore's currency also prompted the dispersion of new industrial enterprises from the country, which the government answered by promoting the development of high-capital industries.

The collapse of the dot.com bubble in 2001 presented a more serious challenge, particularly as subsequent eventsthe 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and global uncertainties attending the war with Iraqresulted in continued low export demand.

As of the end of 2005, the Singapore economy was growing at a healthy clip of around 5%. At that point, Singapore's central bank (the Monetary Authority of Singapore) stated that its policy of allowing the Singpore dollar to strengthen against a basket of currencies would be maintained. This effective monetary tightening reflected continued confidence in the health of the local economy. The government is seeking to encourage innovation and to diversify the economy toward new services and consumer industries. Singapore wants to foster the development of a knowledge-based economy. Protected sectors, such as financial services, were in the process of being liberalized in 2006, in an effort to increase overall efficiency. Certain bilateral free-trade agreements, including one with the United States, which came into force in 2004, were negotiated in order to improve market access and encourage foreign investment inflows.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

The provident fund system was updated in 2004, and covers most employed persons and the self-employed. It provides benefits for old age, disability, death, sickness, and maternity. Retirement is at age 55 subject to conditions. Employee contributions are based on income; employers pay 10% of monthly earnings. There is a special system for public employees, and employers may choose a private plan if approved. Employers also fund workers' compensation benefits for job-related injuries. In addition, employers are required to provide 14 days of paid sick leave and eight weeks of paid maternity leave to their employees.

Women's legal rights are equal to those of men in most areas, including civil liberties, employment, business, and education. Women comprise 42% of the labor force and are well represented in the professions. Despite the legal principle of equal pay for equal work, women earn approximately less then men. This is due in part to the fact that most women work in lower-paying administrative jobs. In 2004, the constitution was amended to remove the inequality that a female citizen could not automatically convey citizenship to her children, but a man could. Spousal abuse and domestic violence are not widespread problems and the laws provide protection to women.

Prison conditions are considered to be good, but there are reports of the mistreatment of detainees. Caning is a common form of punishment for many different offenses. Cases of police abuse are generally investigated by the government and reported in the media. Freedom of assembly and association are restricted.

HEALTH

Singapore's population enjoys one of the highest health levels in all of Southeast Asia. This achievement is largely attributed to good housing, sanitation, and water supply, as well as the best hospitals and other medical facilities in the region. Fully 100% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 99% had adequate sanitation in 199495. Nutritional standards are among the highest in Asia. Singapore is financing medical care with a combination of personal contribution and government assistance. In 1984, Singapore initiated a Medisave scheme, a compulsory savings plan for medical expenses. About half the population pays hospital bills through this plan, although as of 1990, the plan did not cover outpatient expenses. Workers must contribute 34% of their earnings to a medical savings account to be used for medical expenses. The contribution of workers is matched by employers. Total health care expenditures were estimated at 3.2% of GDP.

There are 19 hospitals, five of which were administered by the government, and five were "government restructured." The remaining nine hospitals are privately run. The main multidisciplinary hospitals are Alexandra Hospital, Changi Hospital, and Tan Tock Hospital (all government run), and National University Hospital, Singapore General Hospital, and Toa Payoh Hospital (all government restructured). In 2004, there were an estimated 140 physicians, 26 dentists, and 424 nurses per 100,000 people.

An estimated 74% of married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception. The fertility rate was 1.5 children per woman during her childbearing years. As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at 12.8 and 4.3 per 1,000 people, respectively. Life expectancy in 2005 was 81.62 years. That year, the infant mortality was 2.29 per 1,000 live births, the lowest in the world. The entire population has access to health care services.

Leading causes of death per were communicable diseases and maternal/perinatal causes, noncommunicable diseases, and injuries. Vaccination rates for children up to one year old were as follows: tuberculosis, 97%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 95%; polio, 93%; measles, 88%; and hepatitis B, 91%. Rates for DPT and measles were 94% and 93%, respectively.

The slow growth of the HIV epidemic in Singapore may be attributed to general awareness and programs promoting condom use at STD clinics. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.20 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 4,100 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 200 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

HOUSING

Sustained rapid population growth in the years preceding and following World War II provided Singapore with an acute housing shortage. In 1947, a housing committee determined that, with a squatter problem worsening each year, 250,000 persons required immediate housing, while another 250,000 people would need new housing by the late 1950s. In 1960, the Housing and Development Board was established by the new PAP government. During its first five-year building program (196065), the board spent s$230 million to construct 53,000 dwelling units for more than 250,000 people. It was in this period that Queens Town, Singapore's first satellite community, was developed. By the mid-1970s, Queens Town had a total of 27,000 living units in seven neighborhood complexes, housing upwards of 150,000 people.

In the second five-year building program (196670), 67,000 additional units, accommodating 350,000 persons and costing s$305 million, were built. About 113,000 more units were erected by the board in the third building program (197175), and over 130,000 in the fourth building program (197680). Another 100,000 units were constructed in the fifth building program (198185), and 160,000 were planned for the sixth building program (198690). In 1985, as a result of these government-sponsored efforts, 2,148,720 personsor 84% of the total population of Singaporelived in 551,767 apartments under the management of the Housing and Development Board. Some 397,180 units were sold to the public.

As of the 2000 census, there were about 964,138 occupied housing units nationwide. About 79% of all dwellings were built by the Housing and Development Board. About 93% of all dwellings were owner occupied. As of 2003, about 84% of the population resided in flats constructed through Housing and Development Board programs. The demand for purchase of home ownership flats was at about 13,846 units.

EDUCATION

All children who are citizens are entitled to free primary education. Primary schooling is available in all four official languages. Primary school is compulsory and covers a six-year program of study. Secondary school lasts for four years. Based on their primary school final examinations, students are placed in secondary school for general or technical studies. Students eligible to consider university studies enter a three-year preparatory program to complete their secondary education.

In 1996, there were 269,668 students 198 primary schools, with 10,618 teachers. The student-to-teacher ratio stood at 25 to 1, where it remained as of 1999. In 1996, secondary schools had 207,719 students and 10,354 teachers. Fifteen vocational institutes offered training courses in the metalworking, woodworking, electrical, electronic, and building trades.

The National University of Singapore was established on 8 August 1980, through the merger of the University of Singapore and Nanyang University. In addition, there are the Singapore Technical Institute, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, and Nanyang Polytechnic. In 1996, all institutions of higher education had 6,689 teaching staff and enrolled a total of 92,140 students. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 92.5%, with 96.6% for men and 88.6% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditures on education were estimated at 3.7% of GDP.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The National Library of Singapore (founded in 1844 and known, until 1960, as Raffl es National Library) contains 5.6 million volumes, including books in the four official languages. The National Library houses the government archives and serves as a repository for official publications printed in Singapore since 1946. The library has nine full-time branches, and a mobile library service for rural portions of the island. The National University of Singapore Library contains almost 2.2 million volumes, including extensive medical and science/technology collections. (The National University of Singapore was formed in 1980 with the merger of the former University of Singapore and Nanyang University.) Singapore Polytechnic holds 196,000 volumes, and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies holds 140,000. The National Library Board, established in 1995, maintains a three-tiered public library network that includes 3 regional libraries, 19 community libraries, and 18 community children's libraries. The Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, also sponsored by the National Library Board, has a collection of about 530,000 materials.

The National Museum (formerly Raffl es Museum), established in 1849, has collections of natural history, ethnology, and archaeology. Since 1965, it has also specialized in the art, culture, and way of life of Singapore's multiracial communities. The National Art Gallery, established in 1976, features works by the peoples of Southeast Asia, and is a part of the National Museum. The Art Museum and Exhibition Gallery of the National University of Singapore includes in its collections Asian art objects and contemporary Singaporean and Malaysian painting and textiles. The new Singapore Art Museum opened in 1996 with a permanent collection of more than 3,000 contemporary paintings and sculptures from Southeast Asian artists. The Asian Civilizations Museum, concerning ethnology, at Empress Place, opened in 2003 and is the largest museum in Singapore. The Lee Kong Chian Art Museum, the Centre of Fine Arts, and Singapore Science Center are also found in the city-state.

MEDIA

Postal, telephone, and telegraph services in Singapore are among the most efficient in Southeast Asia. National and international telecommunications services are administered by the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore. Service is available on a 24-hour basis for worldwide telegraph, telephone, and telex communication. In 2003, there were an estimated 450 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 852 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

Virtually all broadcasting services are operated by the government-linked MediaCorp. Radio and television broadcasts are available in Mandarin, Malay, Chinese, and English. In 2004, the only independent radio station was sponsored by British Broadcasting Corporation World Service. As of 2003, there were nine FM radio stations and seven television stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 672 radios and 303 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 622 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 509 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 981 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

Singapore Press Holdings, a corporation linked to the ruling party, controls most of the press. There are English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil daily newspapers. Foreign publications reporting on Southeast Asian political and social affairs must obtain an annual permit to distribute more than 300 copies of each edition in Singapore. Singapore has 10 daily newspapers, with at least one printed in each of the four official languages. The oldest and most widely circulated daily is the English-language Straits Times, founded in 1845.

In 2002, Singapore's largest newspapers, with their language of publication and estimated daily circulations, were as follows: Straits Times, Chinese/Malay/English, 392,600; Lianhe Zaobao, Chinese, 205,160; The New Paper, English, 121,000; Shin Min Daily News, Chinese, 120,130; Lianhe Wanbao, Chinese/English, 85,500; Berita Harian, Malay/English, 60,000; Business Times, Chinese/English, 36,000; and Tamil Murasu, Tamil, 14,000. The Sunday Times, published in all four of the major languages, had a weekly circulation of 387,000 in 2002.

Although freedom of the press is guaranteed by law, the International Press Institute has on various occasions cited Singapore for interference with press freedom. Magazines, motion pictures, and plays are censored for sexual content and presentation of ethnically sensitive matters.

ORGANIZATIONS

There are Chinese, Indian, and Malay chambers of commerce and a multicommunal Singapore chamber of commerce. There is also an active National Trades Union Congress. The Consumers' Association of Singapore was founded in 1971. There are several professional associations covering a variety of fields.

In 1960, the government established the People's Association to organize and promote mass participation in social, cultural, educational, and recreational activities. In Singapore, there is a comprehensive network of about 133 community centers throughout the country set up by the People's Association. Management, women's, youth, and senior citizen subcommittees exist as active units of the association.

National youth organizations include the Singapore Scout Association, Singapore Girl Guides, Youth for Christ, Student Christian Movement of Singapore, the Association of Singapore Students in Economics and Commerce, YMCA/YWCA, Junior Chamber, and the Singapore Boy's Brigade and Girl's Brigade. Women's organizations include the Association of Women for Action and Research, Singapore Council of Women's Organizations, and the Singapore International Foundation.

Culture and arts organizations are represented by the Indian Fine Arts Society and the Singapore Art Society. There are several sports associations and clubs available, as well as clubs for hobbyists and games enthusiasts, such as the Photo Art Association of Singapore and the Othello Association Singapore.

The Academy of Medicine, the Singapore National Academy of Science, and the Institute of Physics serve to promote public interest and education as well as professional advancement in various branches of science. There are several other associations dedicated to research and education for specific fields of medicine and particular diseases and conditions.

The National Council of Social Service assists in coordinating volunteer services through member service organizations, professional associations, retirement homes, and children's homes. There are service clubs belonging to international associations, such as national chapters of Lions Clubs, Kiwanis International, the Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

The tradition of bargaining makes shopping in Singapore a major tourist attraction. Points of interest include the Van Kleef Aquarium at Fort Canning Park, the Singapore Zoological and Botanical Gardens, and the resort island of Sentosa. Singapore has a number of other attractions, including an amusement park at Haw Par Village, site of historic Chinese statues, and the restoration of the Alkaff Mansion.

Singapore has many sports clubs and associations, notably in the areas of badminton (in which Singaporeans have distinguished themselves internationally), basketball, boxing, cricket, cycling, golf, hockey, horse racing, motoring, polo, swimming, tennis, and yachting.

All visitors to Singapore must carry a passport valid for at least six months upon entry. Proof of sufficient funds and an onward/return ticket are also necessary and checked by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). Visas are required for nationals of 32 countries, including Russia, Egypt, and Iraq. A vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from an infected country.

In 2003, about 6.1 million visitors arrived in Singapore, mostly from East Asia and the Pacific. There were a total of 35,930 hotel rooms, filled to 76% of capacity. The average visit was three nights.

According to 2005 US Department of State estimates, the cost of staying in Singapore was approximately us$210 per day.

FAMOUS SINGAPOREANS

Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffl es (17811826) played a major role in the establishment of a British presence on Singapore Island in 1819; he introduced policies that greatly enhanced Singapore's wealth, and he suppressed the slave trade. Raffl es also distinguished himself as a collector of historical and scientific information. The English writer and educator Cyril Northcote Parkinson (190993), formerly a professor at the University of Singapore, became internationally known as the originator of Parkinson's Law. Singapore's dominant contemporary figure is Lee Kuan Yew (b.1923), prime minister of the Republic of Singapore from 1965 to 1990. His son, Lee Hsien Loong (b.1952), became the nation's third prime minister and second from the same family in 2004.

DEPENDENCIES

Singapore has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Altbach, Philip G. and Toru Umakoshi (eds.). Asian Universities: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Challenges. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.

Aspalter, Christian. Conservative Welfare State Systems in East Asia. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2001.

Barr, Michael D. Lee Kuan Yew, the Beliefs Behind the Man. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2000.

Chiu, Stephen Wing-kai. City States in the Global Economy: Industrial Restructuring in Hong Kong and Singapore. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997.

Chua, Beng Huat. Communitarian Ideology and Democracy in Singapore. London: Routledge, 1995.

. Culture, Multiracialism and National Identity in Singapore. Singapore: Dept. of Sociology, National University of Singapore, 1995.

Dumargay, Jacques. Cultural Sites of Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Haas, Michael. The Singapore Puzzle. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1999.

Leibo, Steven A. East and Southeast Asia, 2005. 38th ed. Harpers Ferry, W.Va.: Stryker-Post Publications, 2005.

Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Oakland, Calif.: Lonely Planet, 1999.

Managing Political Change in Singapore: The Elected Presidency. Edited by Kevin Tan and Peng Er Lam. London: Routledge, 1997.

Mulliner, K. Historical Dictionary of Singapore. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1991.

Murray, Geoffrey. Singapore: The Global City-State. Kent, U.K.: China Library, 1996.

Peebles, Gavin. The Singapore Economy. Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar, 1996.

Rahim, Lily Z. The Singapore Dilemma: The Political and Educational Marginality of the Malay Community. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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SINGAPORE

Republic of Singapore

Major City:
Singapore

Other City:
Jurong

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report for Singapore. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

Since the dynamic, modern metropolis of SINGAPORE attained its independence in August 1965, its capable leadership has been molding it into a model of social and economic progress and multi-racial harmony. A former British colony, and later a self-governing member of the British Commonwealth and (for two years) of the Federation of Malaysia, the Republic of Singapore remains a major port of the East, and one of the world's great commercial centers.

Singapore ranks with Japan and Brunei as one of the most prosperous countries in Asia. One of the busiest and cleanest ports in the world, it throbs with activity. It is a melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Western cultures, each endeavoring to maintain its own identity and rich heritage.

MAJOR CITY

Singapore

Singapore is both a city and a republic. The entire country is almost entirely urban and suburban in nature and, because of this, the distinction between Singapore and Singapore City is disappearing. Therefore, all national information applies to the city as well.

The modern city was established in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company. Centuries earlier, it had been known as Temasek, or "Sea Town." According to legend, its current name was given by a prince of the Srivijaya (Hindu-Malayan) empire who, upon landing at Temasek, saw an animal resembling a lion; hence, Singa Pura, or Lion City.

The settlement begun here by Raffles attracted enterprising merchants and industrious immigrants from throughout the Malay peninsula and the islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Soon came the Chinese, Indians, British, Arabs, and Ceylonese whose descendants comprise today's Singaporean population.

Separate areas were designated for the many and varied ethnic groups who came to seek new and better lives and, although there has been considerable assimilation and resettlement, Singapore retains areas where traditions of the past continue. Narrow roads, vibrant street activity, mosques and temples, and unique sights and sounds all add to the color and fascination of this exotic city. The harbor, the parks and gardens, and the colonial heart of Singapore create still another, but equally interesting, aspect of this Southeast Asian melange.

Singapore, which became part of the Straits Settlements (British crown colony) in 1826, was made a separate British colony in 1946. It was a Malaysian state from 1963 to 1965, when it established its independence as a republic. During World War II, Singapore was under Japanese occupation for three-and-a-half years.

Clothing

Lightweight trousers, shirt (long-or short-sleeved) and tie are appropriate office wear. Many men keep a jacket and tie on hand only for more formal events. Suitable fabrics for trousers and suits are lightweight dacron, cotton blends, or other washable fabrics.

Ready-to-wear shorts, worn for sports, and trousers are available in Singapore. Some men have their clothing tailor-made at about the same cost as a better quality ready-to-wear suit in the U.S. Workmanship is generally good.

A variety of British and U.S. men's items, such as shirts, socks, underwear, handkerchiefs, ties, and accessories, are sold in Singapore. U.S. items are usually more expensive heresize 34 waist and above are not easily obtained. U.S.-made shoes, however, are not available. Some men, especially those with small feet, have found locally acquired shoes comfortable and well fitting; lasts tend to be wider than U.S. styles. European shoes also are available, but costlier. American sizes nine and above are scarce and at times difficult to find.

Cool and washable cottons and cotton blends are the best fabric choices for women in Singapore's heat and humidity. Frequent laundering is necessary, and clothes fade and wear more rapidly here than in the U.S. Clothing that requires dry cleaning is not recommended, as few facilities meet U.S. standards. Light colors are cooler for day, although both dark and light colors are worn. Short-or long-sleeved and sleeveless dresses can be worn, depending on air conditioning and personal preference.

In the office, women wear dresses or pantsuits; a sweater is useful because of the air conditioning. Casual, summer daytime wear is appropriate for other everyday activities. Singaporeans dress conservatively but stylishly and are not usually seen in bare-shoulder or bare-midriff dresses during the day. Shorts and pants are worn for most sports; shorts are considered inappropriate on the street or for shopping, but culottes, knee-length shorts, or slacks are popular. Skirts and blouses are comfortable for golf; tennis outfits for tennis and squash are available or can be made.

Leather, patent leather, linen, and silk shoes are worn as in the U.S. Low-heeled sandals are most comfortable, as closed shoes may be warm. Ready-made shoes are available, but sizes eight or larger and narrow widths are available only in expensive European imports. Shoes can be made, but often with disappointing results. If proper fit is a problem for you, bring a good supply. Remember, feet might swell in tropical heat.

All schools, including the American School, require locally made uniforms for children. Play clothes for outside activities and some dress clothes for parties and church should be brought from home.

Generally, available ready-to-wear clothing includes some U.S. brands, but parents usually rely on local ready-made play clothes. Children's dress clothes can be made here inexpensively.

Food

Several major supermarkets in Singapore are comparable to small U.S. supermarkets. Most families also have a grocer who takes daily telephone orders and delivers goods to the home. These items cost more than in the supermarket but, for many, the service is timesaving and convenient.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant. Local, tropical varieties, as well as those imported from either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, depending on the season, are available. Oranges and apples shipped from the U.S. and elsewhere are of high quality. Orange juice is expensive. Canned goods are imported from Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, the People's Republic of China, the U.S., and Europe. A limited variety of frozen foods can be purchased. Baby foods and formulas, both U.S. and Australian brands, are available but more expensive than in the U.S.

Fresh milk and other dairy products are imported from Australia and are expensive. Most resident Americans buy reconstituted, canned, or powdered milk at considerable savings.

Good meat is imported from Australia and New Zealand. Australian beef has a slightly different taste and texture, as the cattle are grass-fed rather than corn-fed. Domestic chickens are less expensive than other meats and are of good quality.

Food spoils quickly in this hot, humid climate. Airtight containers (which are available here) prolong freshness and keep ants and weevils out of flour, sugar, crackers, and cookies.

Supplies & Services

Singapore offers many types of repair services. Local craftsmanship ranks higher in quality and considerably lower in cost than that in the U.S. In the Eastern tradition, china, furniture, shoes, etc., are repaired time and again; nothing that can be salvaged is discarded.

Quality dry cleaning varies, and even a firm one has come to trust may eventually prove undependable. Prices are high.

Singapore has commercial laundries, but an amah (a domestic) will probably do the washing at home. Amahs are thorough, but not always gentle; they are among the reasons that clothes fade and wear out quickly.

Many beauty shops offer services comparable with those of an average quality U.S. shop. Some stylists and services are excellent, and most women eventually make satisfactory arrangements.

Most electronic equipment can be repaired locally; workmanship is reliable. U.S. equipment is more expensive to repair than Japanese and European brands.

One of the few genuine bargains in Singaporepicture framingis of good quality and inexpensive. Non-reflecting glass and acid free matting are available.

Religious Activities

Most major Christian religions are represented here. English services are held at Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Mormon, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Christian Scientist, or Seventh Day Adventist churches. One Sephardic synagogue conducts "Baghdad-tradition" services, which is not easily understood by most American Jews.

It is the custom for those visiting mosques and temples to remove their shoes before entering. Modest dress is expected.

Domestic Help

Household domestics are difficult to find. Increasingly, both Americans and Singaporeans are employing foreignersFilipinos, Indonesians, Thais, Sri Lankans, Indians, Bangladeshis, and Malaysianswhich often means cumbersome and expensive hiring arrangements, as they must be approved by the government before they are permitted to work or enter the country.

Americans here often employ at least one general domestic called an amah, whose duties usually include cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing and, sometimes, baby-sitting.

Singles or those without children need only a part-time amah who works a few days a week.

Some families employ more than one domestic, in varying combinations of cook, amah, cook/ amah, gardener, etc. These may be live-in or live-out, and either full-or part-time.

Monthly wages vary from S$300 for a part-time amah to S$600 for a full-time live-in cook/ amah. A foreign maid is paid less than a Singaporean maid. In addition to basic salary, a food allowance is usually paid. For a Singaporean or foreign amah, the employer makes a monthly payment based on salary to the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a form of social security. No CPF payment is required for a domestic who is employed less than 14 hours per week. The employer usually gives an annual bonus of one month's salary to Chinese employees at Chinese New Year, to Malay employees at Hari Raya Puasa, and to Christian employees at Christmas.

Education

Since 1956, the Singapore American School has provided an U.S.-style education to the international community. The aim of the school is to educate and equip children of any race, religion, or nationality with academic, social and interpersonal skills to help insure success in adult life. A wide range of electives and extracurricular activities are offered.

Nonprofit and community supported, the Singapore American School has children from over 40 nationalities in attendance, although more than 60 percent of the student body are U.S. citizens. The current total enrollment is over 2,000. Classes for preschool (three year olds), pre-kindergarten through grade eight are at the Ulu Pandan Campus, grades nine through 12 use the King's Road Campus.

The school year consists of two semesters, with vacations at Christmas and spring break. Full accreditation is given by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

In addition to the intramural program, the school is the venue for many Singapore American Community Action Council (SACAC) programs, which include American football, gymnastics, baseball, and T-ball.

Through grade eight, the classrooms are designed for multi-age groupings with a continuous educational progress program. The high school compares to a comprehensive U.S. high school, but does not offer an extensive vocational education program. The program of study is mainly, though not exclusively, college preparatory.

The address of Singapore American School is 60 King's Road, Singapore 1026, Republic of Singapore, (high school); 201 Ulu Pandan Road, Singapore 2159, Republic of Singapore (elementary school).

The International School of Singapore opened in September 1981 and is committed to a complete academic program stressing the basics of education. A standardized testing program, using both American and British materials, insures that students are progressing at a rate that compares to that of their peers in their homeland. English is the dominant language but, for the large number of non-English speaking students, a separate programEnglish as a Second Languageis offered. This program enables students of any nationality to participate in class with little difficulty. The school's educational program helps students successfully complete O-and A-level examinations as well as the Scholastic Achievement Test, which prepares them to enter American colleges and universities.

International School is located 15 minutes from downtown Singapore. Facilities include two campuses, 54 classrooms, cafeteria, playing fields, science laboratories, computer room, and a 6,000-volume library. The school is completely air-conditioned. International's mailing address is Preston Road, Singapore 0410.

Two excellent schools, the United World College of Southeast Asia and the Dover Court Preparatory School, offer a British curriculum and are highly accredited.

The United World College of South East Asia is an international day and boarding school for students in grades six through 12. It seeks to foster international understanding through education and also to provide schooling adapted to today's special needs. Its pupils represent some 40 different nationalities, but share a common academic and activities curriculum. Equivalence agreements exist with most countries represented at the school, so that departing pupils may obtain admission to universities of their choice in their own countries. Some 1,350 students are generally enrolled; about 50 are American.

United World College was designed as the first of a number of international schools that offer students of different nationalities a two-year course of study before entering a university or starting a career. Course work is geared to the British school system, but a record of study credits is maintained for all American students and for others who may require it during grades nine through 12. Arrangements are made for students considering application to U.S. universities to take the Scholastic Aptitude and Achievement Tests set by the College Entrance Examination Board.

The school year, beginning in September, comprises three terms. An eight-week vacation begins in early July, and two shorter vacations of about two weeks each are taken in December and late March.

Queries should be directed to the school at Pasir Panjang, P.O. Box 15, Singapore 9111, Republic of Singapore.

Dover Court Preparatory School is an international boarding and day preparatory school for children in pre-kindergarten through grade nine. Current enrollment numbers some 900 students; Americans represent a small percentage.

Classrooms are large, light, airy, and well equipped. The buildings are set in 12 acres of park land, and the school has ample playing areas. A tennis court and facilities for swimming, athletics, and football are available.

The school year, comprised of three terms, begins in September and ends in July. A limited number of boarding facilities are offered to children of all nationalities from ages six through 13.

A Child Guidance Center at the Dover Court site provides individual therapy. The center offers a full psycho-educational testing program and individual therapy for children who have learning disabilities or emotional and behavioral problems. There are some boarding facilities.

Further information is available from the school at Dover Road, Singapore 0513, Republic of Singapore.

Another institution with a British curriculum is the Tanglin Trust Schools located six miles from the city center, near the National University of Singapore. The coeducational, day school for children ages three to 11 has a definite British focus; no Americans attend. The address is Portsdown Road, Singapore 0513, Republic of Singapore.

Singapore universities enroll some foreign students. The Chinese Language and Research Center, located on the Nanyang Campus of the National University of Singapore (NUS), is popular with Chinese language specialists. American students cannot enroll in degree programs.

The National University of Singapore has a non-credit, evening lecture series on a variety of subjects. The Vocational Industrial Training Board offers a number of practical courses such as boat handling, interior decorating, Japanese flower arranging, silk screen printing, photography, and woodworking; these are open to Americans upon application.

Courses in Chinese cooking, yoga, painting, mah-jongg, etc., are available through the YWCA. The American Women's Association, the Pan Pacific South-East Asian Women's Association, the Chinese Women's Association, and other groups offer similar programs.

Language-study programs are available. The Alliance Française offers a complete range of courses in French. Both the NUS and the Vocational Industrial Training Board teach several languages in evening classes. NUS offers full-time Mandarin instruction. A commercial language center features up-to-date language equipment.

Recreation

Opportunities for touring and sight-seeing in the Singapore area are nearly limitless. Some of the most interesting places are:

The Botanical Gardens. Singapore is famous for these gardens, where the first rubber saplings of Southeast Asia were brought from South America and planted. Today, thousands of exotic tropical plants flourish, including rare orchid hybrids. Black swans float on a tranquil lake. It is a gorgeous park and well worth a Sunday afternoon's stroll.

The Mandai Orchid Gardens, truly a land of orchids. In these gardens alone are thousands of colorful hybrids, many of which have won acclaim in international flower shows, but commercial shipments often strip the gardens of their flowers.

Jurong Bird Park, the world's largest and most colorful aviary, inhabited by thousands of feathered creatures, including dozens of rare species. Electric tram cars take visitors around the park, and to the world's tallest man-made waterfall as well.

Singapore Zoological Gardens, one of the most modern zoos in existence. Here, most animals live in a natural settinga promontory with lawns, trees, and shrubs. An electric train takes visitors around the gardens.

Mount FaberSentosa Island. If one wishes to escape from Singapore proper, the cable car at Mount Faber can be taken to the Island of Sentosa. Mount Faber is 385 feet above sea level, the perfect spot to watch the sun go down and lights come up in the city. Telescopes are provided for an excellent view of the harbor, the Southern Islands and, on a clear day, the Indonesian Archipelago. Sentosa is a lush unspoiled island with a natural forest and a quiet village. Features include a superb 18-hole golf course on the sea, the world's first coralarium, and a swimming lagoon and picnic area. The Surrender Chamber is also located on this island; this is a replica of the site of the original surrendering of Singapore by the Japanese Occupation Forces to the Allied Forces after World War II.

The range of sight-seeing in Singapore also includes Tiger Balm Gardens, which features grotesque plaster and stone figures representing demons, grottos, and scenes from Chinese myth and legend. Chinatown lies in and around New Bridge Road and, although many of the old shop houses are being demolished, visitors can still see medicine men and fortune tellers on the sidewalk. There are more than 500 Chinese and Indian temples in Singapore, notable among them the exotic Sri Mariamman Hindu temple on South Bridge Road, the Sultan Mosque, and the Buddhist Temple of One Thousand Lights. Other interesting places to visit are Chinese and Japanese Gardens, Van Kleef Aquarium and the Kranji War Memorial. A small National Museum features a limited study of the natural history of the region and houses an impressive jade collection. The National University of Singapore maintains a small but excellent collection of Oriental ceramics which presently is on long-term loan to the National Museum. The National Art Gallery presents exhibits by local and international artists.

As a duty free port, Singapore offers many imported items below European prices. Movie cameras, calculators, watches, household appliances, sporting equipment, and leather goods are some products which may be purchased at discount, although prices can vary widely between establishments. Good, but expensive, jade and antiques from Burma, China, and Thailand may be purchased in some of the elegant shops in the Tanglin Road area. In the North Bridge Road, Arab Street, and Serangoon Road districts, crafts such as Chinese figurines, rattan and cane furniture, batik, and silk are available. The best places for casual shopping are the large shopping centers on Orchard and Tanglin Roads and People's Park on New Bridge Road.

In general, Americans in Singapore rely on Malaysia for weekend excursions or more extended trips. The Malaysian macadam, two-lane roads are good, although narrow, and frequent congestion often results in extended delays on the causeway into Malaysia. Rest houses, run by the government, are inexpensive, usually clean and comfortable (if unglamorous), and are found throughout Malaysia. Dining facilities provide Chinese, Indian, and Malay food, as well as simple Western dishes.

The Safari Park, north of Singapore in Johore State, Malaysia, features wild animals roaming freely in an enclosed area. Visitors drive through the park in cars to observe the animals in their natural habitat.

Malaysia's east coast, up to the northern border, has roads that are passable during dry months. However, in the rainy season, allowances must be made for flooded road conditions. A few streams and rivers still have unreliable ferry systems, although modern bridges are presently being constructed. A three-hour drive up the east coast will lead to Mersing, where visitors can stay at the rest house, rent boats, and visit the uninhabited paradise-type islands with clear blue water, palm trees, and white beaches.

Instruction or participation in most sports is available, but may require membership in a club. Golf, bowling, tennis, squash, rugby, soccer, softball, swimming, sailing, horseback riding, scuba diving, judo, yoga, and ice skating are among those available here.

The Singapore Swimming Club has a large saltwater pool, and badminton is also available. The American Club is noted for its bowling lanes, and offers opportunities to join leagues; the pool here is small, but excellent for children. Tennis, squash, and racquetball facilities are available. The Cricket Club features tennis (eight grass courts), squash, and cricket.

Golf is popular. The Singapore Island Country Club has four excellent courses at two separate locations, but membership is expensive and the waiting period is usually several years. Other golf clubs are the Warren, Changi, Seletar, Keppel, Sembawang, Jurong, and Tengah. These are nine-hole courses, less expensive, and with shorter waiting periods for membership. Non-members can play on weekdays by paying greens fees.

The Singapore Tennis Center, with nine outdoor and three indoor courts operating on the principle of U.S. tennis centers, is open to the public for hourly and seasonal rental.

The Singapore Sports Council operates several swimming pools, a dozen or so squash courts, more than 30 tennis courts, and a short seven-hole golf course. All are open to the public for a nominal fee. The YMCA and YWCA offer tennis, squash, martial arts such as karate and Tai Kwon Do, yoga, and other sports and recreational activities for a nominal charge.

Boating is popular; sailboats and motor-boats are available, as are opportunities for water-skiing and scuba diving. Surprisingly, beaches are poor and scarce; the best are located offshore and in Malaysia, and can be reached only by boat. Singapore has several yacht clubs, including the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club, the Singapore Sailing Club in Changi, and the Singapore Armed Forces Yacht Club. Dinghies and motor-boats are available for daily and monthly charter at most clubs for nominal fee.

Malaysia is no longer good hunting country, and game conservation efforts are being made. Wild pig is about the only game bagged, despite occasional reports in the press of tigers and rogue elephants. Import and licensing of firearms is strictly controlled, and a permit for possession is obtained only after considerable delay.

Some surf fishing is done off the Malaysian coast. Taman Negara National Park, north of Kuala Lumpur, is well stocked for stream and river fishing. The park is accessible only by river.

Because of the heat and the beating sun, hiking is not an enjoyable sport here; however, a men's cross-country running club meets in the evening. Jungle hiking is quite pleasant in the cool hill country of Malaysia.

Farther up the east coast are beaches and good accommodations. From May to September, one can see the sea turtles which come up at night to lay their eggs on most of the beaches along the east coast. However, in Malaysia, as elsewhere in the world today, some of the beaches are polluted.

Two popular spots on the west coast are Malacca, the old Dutch and Portuguese trading center, once the hub of trade before Singapore was founded in 1819; and Port Dickson, a beach resort which has fishing, swimming, sailing, and water-skiing facilities. Both are five to six hours by car from Singapore and have good accommodations.

Trips to Kuala Lumpur and Penang take more than two days, except by air. Also, a longer journey is required to visit one of the hill stations in Malaysia. Fraser's Hill (about two hours' drive from Kuala Lumpur) and Cameron Highlands (five hours' drive), have a definite colonial atmosphere. A resort with high-rise hotel and gambling facilities is located at Genting Highlands (one hour). A visit to any of these places provides a refreshing climatic change, since they are 10 to 15 degrees cooler than Singapore. They offer golf and hiking.

Entertainment

Several air-conditioned, first-run movie theaters show most recent American, British, and Chinese films. High quality but less popular art films are shown at the Goethe Institut. Some private clubs and film societies offer members a wide spectrum of classic, popular films. A number of commercial video-tape rental shops exist (PAL system). All films and videos are censored.

The government-sponsored Singapore Symphony Orchestra made its debut in early 1979 and features both guest conductors and soloists. Instrumental and choral groups, and solo musicians also give public recitals. Popular artists and groups frequently appear at various hotels and in large outdoor concerts. Musical programs are contributed by Singapore's various ethnic groups, ranging from Western ensemble to traditional Malay kronchong (orchestra) music. Those who wish to participate in musical activities have many opportunities to do so.

A number of capable amateur groups present plays. Impresarios sponsor an occasional one-man show or small theatre troupe. Traditional Chinese opera and Indian and Malay dances are popular in Singapore.

The Singapore National Library, considered one of the best in the area, has more than 400,000 English-language books, plus a smaller number in the other official languages. The National University of Singapore's extensive library facilities may be used with permission granted on individual application. Small libraries are maintained in the American Club and the Tanglin Club for members' use, as well as a number of small specialized collections scattered throughout the city.

Singapore has many well-stocked bookstores. A good selection of both American and British paperbacks are available at prices somewhat higher than in the U.S. Selection is good at Singapore's many record and tape stores, but new releases are not always available.

Dining is a pleasure here. Singapore has a variety of inexpensive restaurants and, with concerted attempts to lure tourists and the resultant hotel boom, the number of good eating places has multiplied. Variety in style, quality, and price is infinitefrom outdoor stalls to elegant continental dining.

Every type of Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Indonesian food is available in Singapore. The food at outdoor night markets and also at daytime food stalls near Telok Ayer Market is excellent, and visitors need not worry about unhygienic preparation. Curries and Indian vegetarian food can be found, and there also are establishments where Nonya fooda unique mixture of Chinese ingredients and Malay cookingis served. Western food is also available. The local Tiger beer is excellent, and Singapore is one of only a few places in Asia where water can be consumed safely.

Opportunities abound to devote time to charity. Many institutions for orphans and for the handicapped welcome volunteers.

The Singapore American Community Action Council (SACAC), created in 1973, works with the American schools here to combat drug abuse and promote a healthy home environment by providing counseling and sponsoring activities for singles, families and young people.

The American Women's Association (AWA) is a large and active organization whose monthly meetings usually feature a speaker. The AWA sponsors many trips, courses, and activities, and provides outreach opportunities for volunteers.

The American Business Council, a large group of resident Americans representing most of the U.S. companies in Singapore, discusses business matters through specialized committees.

Singapore offers an interesting and varied social life; an individual's work and personal wishes determine the degree of involvement. Singaporeans are friendly and sociable; opportunities to meet members of the large and growing multi-national business community are numerous.

The Singapore Tourist Promotion Board is located at Raffles City Tower 36-04, 250 North Bridge Road, Singapore 0617.

OTHER CITY

JURONG , in the western section of Singapore, is one of the largest industrial sites in Southeast Asia. Jurong is not a separate city, but is known as an "industrial town." Over 3,000 companies are situated in 20 industrial estates, employing almost 70 percent of the country's work force. Industries include shipbuilding yards, a steel pipe factory, and an oil refinery. The National Iron and Steel Mill is the city's industrial center. Jurong has a short history, dating only to the early 1960s. Singapore's secession from the Malaysia federation in 1965 slowed the suburb's growth. Jurong Bird Park, with the world's largest walk-in aviary, and the Chinese and Japanese Gardensthe Japanese being one of the largest such gardens outside of Japanare among tourist spots. The Singapore Science Center, located here, covers physical and life sciences, specifically for younger visitors. Jurong Town has a university, and all social amenities.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

Singapore is a small and almost entirely urbanized island (225 square miles at high tide). It lies 85 miles north of the equator, off the tip of the Malay Peninsula, from which it is separated by the Straits of Johore. A causeway, with both a road and a railway, crosses the three-quarters of a mile to the Malay mainland. Relatively flat (highest elevation 581 feet), the maximum distance from east to west is 26 miles and from north to south, 14 miles. The Republic of Singapore consists of Singapore Island and 54 smaller islands.

Vegetation is lush and tropical. Seasons are nonexistent. Here in the "Land of Eternal Summer," the mean high is 82°F and the mean low, 77°F. For its location, however, Singapore is not as hot as might be expected and, at times, it is surprisingly cool because of sea breezes.

Humidity is high (average 70%) and annual rainfall is 96 inches. Wet and dry seasons are somewhat indistinct, but November through February are wetter than the other months and tend to be cooler. Over a period of time, the climate can be oppressive. Depending on the length of one's stay, the lack of climatic variation coupled with the difficulty of leaving the island may cause psychological weariness. For this reason regular exercise and frequent vacations are important here.

Even in a clean city like Singapore, the tropical climate seems to foster diseases; germs and viruses thrive here. Many people who have scant history of illness complain of recurring colds and other infections. Enthusiastic air conditioning probably contributes to respiratory problems. Many restaurants and shops are uncomfortably overcooled.

Humidity makes mildew a problembooks, records, leather items, or anything that is not used or aired regularly or stored in air conditioning is vulnerable. Closets and bureau drawers take on a musty odor that is difficult to eliminate. Rust is also a problem; metal items that are not painted or tropicalized begin to rust in a short time.

Singapore, like every other tropical area, has its share of cockroaches, water bugs, small pesky ants, and termites. Flies are almost nonexistent. Mosquitoes can be annoying despite strenuous efforts to control them, but malaria is not a problem.

Population

Singapore's population is almost 4.3 million (2001 est.). The average annual growth rate is 3.5%. Most of the population (77%) is ethnically Chinese; Malays comprise 14% of the population; and Indians 7.9%

A fascinating melange of cultures fulfills the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board promise of "Instant Asia." Because of the multi-racial character of the society, there are many sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the East.

Chinese, English, Malay, and Tamil (the language of southeastern India) are official languages. Most Chinese are descendants of immigrants from China's southern provinces, and their main dialects are Hokkien, Teochew, and Cantonese. The government is stressing the learning of Mandarin by all Singaporeans, particularly the Chinese. English is used for administration; about 75 percent of Singapore's citizens speak and understand at least rudimentary English. A knowledge of one of the other tongues is not necessary, but Chinese and Malay can be usefulthe latter, especially, for traveling in Malaysia.

Singapore is a secular state with considerable religious tolerance. The main religions are Taoism, Islam, Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Christianity (almost equally divided between Catholic and Protestant), and Hinduism. Two holidays of each of the major groups in Singapore are set aside for national observance. Sikhs, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Jains are also represented.

The cultural patterns are equally rich in variety. In a multi-racial society, each ethnic group stresses its traditions to preserve its individuality. For example, Thaipusam, a Hindu religious observance, is dying out in India, but is celebrated with fervor in Singapore. Chinese New Year, in January or February, is a two-week festival marked by feasting and home celebration. Muslims celebrate Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji with equal enthusiasm.

Multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-culturalherein lies some of the fascination of Singapore. Except for Muslim or Hindu dietary restrictions, which generally must be honored when entertaining Malays or Indians, few taboos differ markedly from those in America.

Government

Singapore's parliamentary democracy government is based on full adult suffrage. Voting is compulsory.

Parliament's 83 members are elected for a maximum of five years. Members usually speak English but may speak in any of the four official languages, and simultaneous translation is provided.

Before the constitution was amended in 1991, Singapore's largely ceremonial president was elected to a four-year term by the Parliament. The amended constitution retains the term length, but the president is now elected by the people. In addition, the president gained control over the spending of the country's significant monetary reserves and over certain civil service appointments. In 1996, however, the Parliament enacted governmental reforms that curtailed the president's veto power. Ong Teng Cheong was elected in 1993 in Singapore's first popular presidential election. The current president is Sellapan Ramanathan (1999).

The president appoints as new prime minister the member of Parliament with the most support. The cabinet is also chosen by the president, but with the advice of the prime minister. Most governmental affairs are handled by the prime minister and cabinet. Lee Kuan Yew had been the only prime minister in the country's history when he left office (1959-1990). Goh Chok Tong succeeded him.

The three major political parties are the People's Action Party (authoritarian), the Workers' Party of Singapore (social-democratic) and the Singapore Democratic Alliance.

Singapore's government has long been known as restrictive, with social stability often taking precedence over individual liberty. Examples of this government authoritarianism include: the management and control of all television and radio broadcasting, control over news publications, and maintaining the power to interfere with the activities of opposition political parties. The government's policy of flogging criminals received international attention in 1993 when an American was sentenced for vandalism and receiving stolen goods.

Singapore is a land of the entrepreneur, a free port, and a significant importer of food and agricultural products. However, as the major trading center for Southeast Asia, it trades or transships 75 percent of its imports to neighboring markets. The government is committed to a mixed policy allowing a high degree of free enterprise, but also is heavily involved in commerce and industry. In addition, an extensive social development program of education, housing, medical care, and social welfare has been instituted. One of the most impressive achievements is low-cost public housing. Some 86 percent of Singapore's population live in high-rise apartments built by the government.

The flag of Singapore consists of red and white horizontal divisions; in the upper left canton are a white crescent and five white stars.

Arts, Science, Education

Education is not compulsory, but primary education is free for the children of Singapore citizens, and is universally available. The government endeavors to provide at least 10 years of education for each child. Literacy is at 93.5% (1999).

In line with the government policy on bilingualism, each child must learn two languages, English and a choice of one of the other official languagesChinese, Malay, or Tamil. Thus, the multi-lingual aspect of Singapore is being preserved.

The cost of secondary education is nominal. The government promotes technical and vocational education at the secondary level to enhance employment opportunities for the younger generation. The Vocational and Industrial Training Board (VITB) was established in 1979 to provide vocational training and to conduct continuing education and training. It offers about 50 courses to approximately 20,000 students in applied arts, commercial, industrial, and service skills at its 15 training institutes.

Singapore has six institutions of higher learning: the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological Institute, Singapore Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, the Institute of Education, and the College of Physical Education.

The NUS offers courses leading to bachelor degrees in eight faculties; namely, arts and social sciences, law, science, medicine, dentistry, engineering, architecture and building, accounting and business administration. Graduate degrees are available in most faculties. The Nanyang Technological Institute conducts practice-oriented engineering courses at university level. The Institute of Education, in conjunction with the NUS, offers graduate-degree programs in education.

Singapore Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic are two institutions that provide courses mainly at technician level. These institutions offer courses comparable to those at U.S. junior colleges.

Each year, a large number of Singaporean students go abroad to the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Great Britain for higher studies.

Government policy is to preserve and nurture the traditions of the various ethnic communities. Hence, the arts in Singapore are as varied as its cultural heritage. Amateur organizations regularly use dance, drama, and musical performances to reflect the diverse cultures of various ethnic groups. In addition, foreign troupes and companies and popular recording artists have performed to full houses and appreciative audiences. The Cultural Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Community Development, and, to a lesser extent, the National Theater Trust, are the principal impresarios, with sponsorship from the government, diplomatic missions, the business community, and foundations.

The premier cultural event is the Festival of Arts, held biennially since 1977. The month-long festival features outstanding local, regional, and international productions, representing all facets of the performing arts. The Houston Ballet, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Magic Theater of San Francisco, and jazz greats Ellis Marsalis, Billy Taylor, and Herbie Mann are some of the American groups that have participated in previous festivals. The Ministry organizes annual jazz, drama, and choral festivals.

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), a full-time professional orchestra, performs regularly at the Victoria Concert Hall and occasionally gives outdoor performances at parks and community centers. The Symphony's season is divided into four quarterly series, each consisting of six to eight pairs of concerts. The SSO also performs familiar favorites concerts, featuring lighter music. The Orchestra often features renowned conductors and soloists as guest performers.

The National Museum offers handsome displays of Singapore's social and culture history, and an audiovisual show to bring it all up to date. The National Museum Art Gallery, which houses a permanent collection of contemporary works by local and Malaysian artists, regularly organizes short-term exhibitions by Singaporean artists, and hosts quality exhibitions from abroad. The Young People's Gallery displays students' arts and crafts and holds workshops for schoolchildren.

The Singapore Science Centre, established in 1970, is rated as one of the most outstanding institutions of its kind in the world. Its five exhibition galleries contain over 500 exhibits, many of them "participatory," which are regularly updated. The center has research facilities and hosts public lectures and scientific conferences. Its Omni-Theater, opened in 1987, houses a 274-seat omniplanetarium where images are projected onto a curved viewing area, extending over the audience's heads and beyond their peripheral vision, giving the illusion of a ride through space.

Commerce and Industry

Singapore is one of the world's smallest nations and also one of the most prosperous. Factors responsible for this prosperity include: a strategic location; availability of skilled, well-paid labor; tax and other financial incentives; and upto-date telecommunications.

Singapore is a free trading country and a significant importer of food and agricultural products. The government is committed to a policy of free enterprise but is involved in commerce and industry.

During the past 20 years, Singapore's economic growth has been rapid. Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was $26,500 in 2000, one of the highest in Asia. The commercial and industrial structure has diversified from a primarily entrepôt trading base to include a wide range of manufacturing services and financial activities. Today, Singapore ranks as a significant oil refining center, one of the world's busiest ports, and a major financial, communications, transportation, and medical services center.

The government is making a concerted effort to move the economy away from labor-intensive manufacturing to a more high tech and service orientation. The service sector accounts for 70% of the GDP, with 35% of the workforce involved; industry is 30% of the GDP with over 20% of the workforce involved. Singapore's economic policies are attractive to foreign investors and have led to a significant multinational business presence here. The U.S. is the largest foreign investor in Singapore, accounting for about 54% of investment commitments. U.S. interests are primarily in petroleum refining, offshore oil exploration, diversified manufacturing, and electronics. The activities of U.S. firms also include shipping, banking, hotels, insurance, importing, and exporting. The resident American community numbers over 7,000.

The European Union and Japan are next in line in terms foreign investors. The U.S., Japan and Malaysia are Singapore's major trading partners. Trade with Indonesia is also substantial. Entrepôt trade, Singapore's traditional role in the region, now provides a smaller percentage of the Gross National Product (GNP), but has continued to increase in value.

Singapore imports mainly capital goods and raw materials for industry, and exports a variety of locally manufactured products, crude rubber, electrical machinery, and finished textile goods.

The American Business Council of Singapore is located at 354 Orchard Road, #10-12 Shaw House, Singapore 0923; the telephone number is (65) 235-0077. The Singapore Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry is at 03-01 Chinese Chamber of Commerce Building, 47 Hill Street, Singapore 0617; telephone: (65) 338-9761.

Transportation

Singapore, a hub of air and sea transportation, is served by more than 40 airlines and about 250 shipping lines. Air flights link neighboring countries, and distances are thought of in terms of air miles (e.g., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 204; Jakarta, Indonesia, 557; Bangkok, Thailand, 897; Manila, Philippines, 1,481; Hong Kong, 1,607). Air travel between Singapore and other cities in the region is expensive by U.S. standards. United and Northwest have connecting flights from the U.S. via either Hong Kong or Tokyo. Singapore's Changi International Airport is one of the best airports in the world.

The Singapore terminus of the Malayan National Railroad has service to Kuala Lumpur and Penang, and connections through to Bangkok and other points in Thailand. Service is good, and cars are clean and sometimes air-conditioned. Second-and third-class travel is recommended to only the hardiest of souls. The trip from Singapore to Penang takes 20 to 22 hours.

Taxis are plentiful, except during rush hour and when it rains. Taxis are affordable, clean, and safe. Bus service is frequent and cheap; however, many buses are not air conditioned.

MRT, the underground rapid transit system, is one of the world's best. Recently completed, the central city is well served by this inexpensive, fast transportation.

Singapore's major roads and streets are, by Asian standards, excellent. They are continually being widened to accommodate increasing traffic. A causeway connects Singapore with western Malaysia, which also has a good road system and many interesting places to visit. However, extended delays are encountered on weekends and holidays, and driving in Malaysia is frequently hazardous.

As a result of increasing traffic congestion on the island, several restrictive measures have been imposed in an effort to control private ownership of automobiles. Road taxes have been raised, an Area License Scheme placed into effect, and a surcharge imposed on cars over 10 years old. These road taxes are levied on motor cubic-centimeter capacity.

Driving is on the left, and right-hand-drive cars are used universally. A Singapore driver's license may be obtained on presentation of a valid license and a passport. Third party liability insurance is mandatory.

Small cars are easier to maneuver in Singapore's traffic and on Malaysia's narrow roads. European, Japanese, and Australian models are available. U.S. made cars are practically nonexistent in Singapore. The used car market is substantial.

Auto repairs generally cost about the same as in the U.S. Spare parts for U.S. manufactured cars are not available.

Cars may be rented daily, weekly, or monthly.

Communications

Telephone service is better in Singapore than in other major Southeast Asian cities. Direct dialing is available to most major cities. It is easy to call the U.S. from Singapore; connections are usually excellent and rates are relatively inexpensive. Commercial telegraph service to the U.S. is available and reliable.

International mail service is efficient. Airmail between Singapore and the U.S. is less than a week in transit. Mail within Southeast Asia is sometimes less dependable.

The state-owned Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) operates nine radio channels and broadcasts daily on AM and FM from 6 a.m. to midnight, with programs in English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil on separate frequencies. Programs are varied and news is reported on the hour. A 24-hour FM (stereo) popular music station broadcasts in English. Voice of America (VOA) morning and evening newscasts can be heard on shortwave; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) "World Service" broadcasts are relayed on FM 24 hours a day. Listeners can also receive a 24-hour FM (stereo) popular music station from a nearby Indonesian island that broadcasts in English and Indonesian.

Three Singaporean (government controlled) and three Malaysian color television channels are received here. Weekday telecasts begin in late afternoon and end about midnight. Sunday and holiday telecasts begin at 9 a.m.; Saturday telecasts start at 1 p.m. Programming is in English, Mandarin, Tamil, and Malay. Many American programs are shown, including popular series and documentaries, although they are generally a year or so old. Channel 12, which shows cultural, educational, and informational programs (mainly in English), begins transmission at 7:30 p.m. daily for four hours.

The TV system is 625 PAL; American sets will not operate in Singapore without expensive, and sometimes unsuccessful, alterations. TV rentals are available. TV's, video players, and all types of radios can be purchased locally at reasonable prices.

Three English-language daily newspapers are published in Singapore: the Straits Times, the Business Times, and the New Paper, an afternoon tabloid. International news coverage in the Straits Times is excellent. The International Herald Tribune and USA Today are printed in Singapore via satellite and are available on newsstands the same day of U.S. distribution. The Asian Wall Street Journal and the Far Eastern Economic Review are not sold in Singapore. In 1987, the government accused both of interfering in local politics and sales were curbed. Later, the publications ceased distribution altogether. International editions of Time and Newsweek are on the stands every Thursday, and the Asian edition of Reader's Digest is also available.

American magazines are available on newsstands, but are a month or so late and cost two or three times their U.S. price; highly specialized and most general interest magazines are not available. Often U.K. or Australian magazines are more readily available.

Health and Medicine

Facilities are adequate for most health problems. For outpatient care, Americans usually go to doctors at commercial clinics. Competent specialists in almost every field can be found in Singapore. Most doctors have been trained in Singapore, England, Australia, the U.S., or Canada. Adequate pediatric and obstetric services also are available.

Most Americans use Mt. Elizabeth, Gleneagles, Mt. Alvernia, American Hospital, Thomson Medical Center, Youngberg Memorial Adventist, or Jurong Hospitals. All are well managed and efficient. Excellent dental and ophthalmologic care is available. Prescriptions can be filled locally.

Singapore is probably the cleanest city in Asia. Sewage and garbage disposal is never a problem. Daily trash collection is efficient. Water is potable and normally in good supply, although rationing may be imposed during prolonged drought.

The government keeps up a constant battle against mosquitoes and other insects. Flies have been all but eradicated. Ants and cockroaches are more of a problem here than in temperate climates.

Americans have found the typical overseas precautions in food preparation unnecessary in Singapore. Locally packaged food causes no ill effects. Most local restaurants, including hawker stalls, are safe.

Singapore has few health hazards. Malaria has been eradicated, although it may be picked up in Malaysia or Indonesia. Dengue fever is more of a problem. It, too, is transmitted by mosquitoes and is enervating, lasting two or three months. Occasionally, there is a case of cholera, but such cases are few and are immediately isolated.

Children sometimes contract tropical fevers of unknown origin which may last from one to three days but, in general, Singapore provides a good environment for young children. Serious dysentery is rare. Respiratory ailments, however, are quite common. The heat and humidity increase the incidence of skin problems; treatment should be sought at the first sign of trouble, since infections spread quickly.

The yellow fever shot is the only vaccination required for entry into Singapore, and only for those arriving from infected areas. Cholera and smallpox immunizations are not necessary.

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

Passage, Customs & Duties

Singapore is about halfway around the world from Washington, DC, and is served by numerous air and shipping lines. Two American carriers, Northwest and United, provide service between the U.S. and Singapore.

A valid passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if their visit is for business or pleasure and their stay is for 90 days or less. The Government of Singapore generally allows Americans to enter with less than six months of validity remaining on their passport, but some neighboring countries, particularly Indonesia, do not. Specific information about entry requirements for Singapore may be sought from the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore at 3501 International Place, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100. Please see also the Singapore Government home page on the Internet at http://www.gov.sg/.

Singapore customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Singapore of items such as firearms, illegal drugs, certain religious materials, chewing gum, videotapes, CD's, and software (for censorship or pirating reasons). It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Singapore in Washington, D.C. for specific information regarding customs requirements. Singapore customs officials encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA carnet headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or send e-mail to [email protected] or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

Visitors should be aware of Singapore's strict laws and penalties for a variety of actions that might not be illegal or might be considered minor offenses in the United States, including jaywalking, littering and spitting, failure to flush at public toilets, and the importation, sale or personal use of chewing gum. Singapore has a mandatory caning sentence for vandalism offenses. Caning may also be imposed for immigration violations and other offenses. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. Singapore has a mandatory death penalty for many narcotics offenses. Commercial disputes that may be handled as civil suits in the United States can escalate to criminal cases in Singapore and result in heavy fines and prison sentences. There are no jury trials in Singapore. Judges hear cases and decide sentencing. The Government of Singapore does not provide legal assistance except in capital cases.

Pets

The Immigration Department of the Government of Singapore requests six weeks' notice of intent to import a cat or dog. Dogs and cats are quarantined for a minimum of 30 days from the date of arrival and regardless of certificate of rabies immunization will be given a rabies vaccination upon arrival. Other animals are classified differently. Quarantine facilities are modern and adequate. Visiting hours are liberal, and pet owners may see their animals at the Animal Quarantine Station, 51 Jalan Buroh, Jurong Town, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The station is closed on Sundays and public holidays.

Firearms & Ammunition

Stringent controls are imposed on the importation of firearms. Licenses are issued only to members of the Singapore Gun Club or the Singapore Rifle Association.

Currency, Banking and Weights and Measures

The Singapore dollar currency is based on the decimal system.

Singapore uses the metric system of weights and measures.

The time in Singapore is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) plus eight.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Feb. Chinese New Year*

Mar/Apr. Good Friday*

Mar/Apr. Easter*

May 1Labor Day

May Wesak*

Aug. 9Singapore National Day

Oct/Nov. Diwali*

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Ramadan*

Hari Raya Puasa/Id al-Fitr*

Hari Raya Haji/Id al-Adah*

*variable

RECOMMENDED READING

The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country:

Barber, Noel. Sinister Twilight: The Fall and Rise Again of Singapore. London: W. Collins, 1968.

. Tanamera. New York: Macmillan, 1981.

Bedlington, Stanley S. Malaysia and Singapore: The Building of New States. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978.

Bloodworth, Dennis. The Tiger and the Trojan Horse. Singapore: Times Books International, 1986.

Chen, Peter S.J., ed. Singapore Development Policies and Trends. Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1983.

Chew, Ernest C.T., and Edwin Lee, eds. A History of Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Clutterbuck, R. Riot and Revolution in Singapore. London: Faber, 1973.

Collis, Maurice. Raffles. New York:J. Day, 1968.

Drysdale, John. Singapore: The Struggle for Success. Singapore: Times Books International, 1984.

George, Thayil Jacob Sony. Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore. London: A. Deutsch, 1973.

Kirby, S.W. Singapore: The Chain of Disaster. London: Cassell, 1971.

Lim Chong Yah. Economic Restructuring in Singapore. Singapore: Federal Publications, 1984.

Moore, Donald, and Joanna Moore. The First 150 Years of Singapore. Singapore: Donald Moore Press, 1969.

Saw, Swee-hock, and R.S. Bathal, eds. Singapore Towards the Year 2000. Singapore: Singapore University Press for Singapore Association for the Advancement of Science, 1981.

The Singapore Economy: The New Direction; Reports of the Economics Committee. Singapore: Ministry of Trade & Industry, 1986.

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Singapore

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Republic of Singapore
Region: Southeast Asia
Population: 4,151,264
Language(s): Chinese, Malay, Tamil, English
Literacy Rate: 91.1%
Number of Primary Schools: 198
Compulsory Schooling: 6 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 3.0%
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 269,668
  Secondary: 205,683
  Higher: 92,140
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 94%
  Secondary: 74%
Teachers: Primary: 10,618
  Higher: 6,689
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 25:1
  Secondary: 20:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 93%



History & Background

Singapore has a total area of about 224.5 square miles. It includes one principal island and 58 islets. It is located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula at the end of the Straits of Malacca. A substantial amount of shipping passes through the Straits, which serves as a passage between the Indian and the Pacific oceans. Singapore is connected to Johore, a province of the Federation of Malaysia, by a half-mile long causeway. Its historic connections with Malaya account for a large part of its ethnic Malay population, its partial Malay culture, its investments in Malaya's tin, its service to Malaysia as a principal port for the latter's exports and imports in its (Singapore's) corporate sector, and its dependence on water and food supplies from Johore. Singapore's port facilities are crucial for the economic well-being of many nearby countries, notably Japan. Singapore is well connected by sea and air to most countries of the world.

Singapore is a modern, industrial nation that emerged from a century and a half of British colonial rule in 1965. Singapore decided to change from a free port marketing economy to a manufacturing and service industry economy. It soon advanced to become the regional hub of Southeast Asia in a number of fields, including economy, communications, and education. Since the 1980s, Singapore has aspired to be a global leader in specific areas, particularly in information technology. Its leadership has, since the 1960s, focused on education as a way of reaching their goals. Its citizens have placed a high priority on education and have demonstrated their readiness to invest heavily in education.

The Republic of Singapore's ambition to be the regional leader in education has been realized by the location of several prestigious institutions and organizations in the island nation. The Regional Language Center (RELC) offers education in many languages to students from the member countries of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO). In 1970, the governments and universities in the region established the Regional Institute of Higher Education and Development (RIHED) in Singapore. The country also houses the Colombo Plan Staff College for Technical Education (CPSC), which offers technical training to 27 Colombo Plan countries.

Singapore's first census was taken in 1871. The 1990 census was the third since Singapore's independence. In 1995, Singapore conducted a mid-decade census, based on annual projections. In 1996, the total population was 3,044,300 people, of which 1,531,100 were males and an almost equal number (1,513,200) were females. The population belonged principally to three ethnic communities: Chinese about 78 percent, Malays about 14 percent, and Indians about 7 percent. The predominant Chinese population comes from almost all parts of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Although other Chinese languages are spoken, Mandarin Chinese has emerged as a common Chinese language for instructional and official purposes. The Malays, though predominantly from the Malay Peninsula, also include immigrants from the numerous Indonesian islands. The largest group of Indians is the Tamilspeaking peoples from South India. The official languages of Singapore for education are Chinese, Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil, and English. The language most used for official and business purposes is English. The census figures included only regular citizens and those granted permanent residence in Singapore. The transient population of ships' crew and passengers, tourists, and those in transit is enormous, almost twice the number of its regular inhabitants.

Singapore's struggle since its independence has been to establish a balance between national integration with a common identity and the opportunity for the different ethnic groups to maintain their individual heritage. Education, particularly at the primary and secondary levels, is regarded in this context as an essential vehicle to achieve harmony and separate ethnic identities.

Before the founding of Singapore in 1819 as a free port by Sir Stamford Raffles, it was a fishing village with a population of barely 500. Within a year of its establishment as a free port, the population jumped to 5,000. Its growth continued exponentially and, in the process, attracted people from everywhere, particularly China, Malaya, and South India. Noting the potential strategic significance of Singapore in the region for East-West trade and shipping, Raffles reported to his superiors in England:


Our object is not territory but trade: a great commercial emporium and a fulcrum whence we may extend our influence politically as circumstances may hereafter require....One free port in these seas must eventually destroy the spell of Dutch monopoly; and what Malta is in the West, that may Singapore be in the East.

Following the liberal economic philosophy of Adam Smith, the free port status of Singapore offered facilities to shipping of all nations; this tradition has been maintained by Singapore. The status of a free port became the foundation of Singapore's prosperity. In 1826, Singapore became part of the Straits Settlements, along with two other British port acquisitions on the Malay Peninsula (Melaka [Malacca] and Penang) with Singapore as its capital. In 1867, the Straits Settlements were turned, like Hong Kong, into a "crown colony," which meant that it served special imperial interests and its progress towards self-government would be slower than in the colonies.

Known for his excellent administrative acumen, Raffles opened the first school, the Singapore Free School, in 1823, with its goal being to train clerks for the commercial houses of Singapore. The liberal Raffles wanted the school to admit students from the different ethnic communities on a basis of equality. The opening of the Free School was, however, delayed until 1834, because Raffles was recalled to England. When it opened, the school fulfilled Raffles' dream of providing education to everyone, without regard to religion or ethnic origins. However, the Chinese community stayed away from it, preferring to educate their children in the Chinese-language schools funded and managed by Chinese philanthropists. Such schools were patterned on the traditional schools in China, where the curriculum included the writing of Chinese characters, the use of the abacus in mathematics, and the study of Confucian literature. In 1840, the Singapore Free School was renamed the Singapore Institution Free School. In the year following its takeover by the Colonial Office in 1868, it was renamed the Raffles Institution.

Between 1819 and 1867, the brunt of the responsibility for primary and secondary education was assumed by missionaries: the London Missionary Society, the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, and the French Society of Foreign Missions. Its graduates found ready employment in the growing city where commercial houses and government bureaucracy needed personnel with knowledge of English, local language, and mathematics for clerical and other subordinate positions. Although these were private schools, the government gave them financial support through a grants-in-aid program.

In 1867, when the Straits Settlements (including Singapore) were transferred from the jurisdiction of the India Office in London to that of the Colonial Office with the status of a "Crown Colony," Singapore received more attention. The government opened a number of "branch schools" in the three Straits Settlements of Singapore, Melaka, and Penang, offering a special three-year training in English language through Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. In 1885, special incentives were offered in the form of Queen's Scholarships to gifted students who had the potential for higher-level education in Britain. Following the decision to hold the Cambridge examinations in Singapore from 1891, some of the government schools switched to English as the language of instruction to improve the chances of its candidates who wanted to take these examinations.

From 1874, British interests in the Malay states increased because of the development of the tin mining industry. Labor for the tin mining was almost exclusively Chinese, which contributed to the growth of Singapore's "China town." After the introduction of the resident system in some Malay states and the establishment of the Federated Malay States (FMS) in 1895, Singapore governors doubled as Resident-General for the FMS, and Singapore emerged as the capital of the British interests in the Malay region.

Except for three and a half years of Japanese occupation during World War II, Singapore was, until 1965, under British rule. With the British decision to give Malaya independence in 1957, an internal self-government was also granted to Singapore two years later. In 1963, Singapore was included in the Federation of Malaysia. Friction developed between two ambitious leaders, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Lee Kuan Yew, respectively Malaysia and Singapore, which led to Singapore quitting the Federation and establishing itself in August 1965 as a separate sovereign state. In the same year, Singapore joined the United Nations and was admitted as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. In the following year, Singapore became a founding member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Thanks to the dynamic leadership of Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister, Singapore has developed into a viable, stable, and prosperous nation. Lee was a brilliant barrister with socialist leanings whose party, the People's Action Party (PAP), claimed in the late 1950s to be socialist. Lee, nonetheless, favored entrepreneurship and international investment, which led to the phenomenal growth of Singapore's economy. At the same time, the government assumed responsibility in many social areas, including education and housing. Singapore has, since the 1970s, boasted the largest government-sponsored housing projects for its citizens. It also offers them, over a reasonable period of time, ownership of their tenements; more than 88 percent of the tenants in these housing colonies own their homes.


Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Singapore's constitution provides for a parliamentary democracy on the British pattern. Theoretically, any political party winning a majority in the nation's parliament is entitled to form the government. In reality, Singapore is a single party "democracy," with the PAP in power consistently since 1959. Until 1981 the PAP held all seats in the parliament. During the election in 1981, J.B. Jeyaratnam of the Workers Party shook the government; he was charged him with fraud because of his failure to account for a few hundred dollars in contributions to his party. By the end of the decade, however, the government itself felt the need for healthy opposition. The PAP obtained the parliament's approval to such a measure that the first six parliamentary elections' losers were seated as members of the parliament. This makes Singapore's electoral system unique, since no other electoral system rewards "losers."

Lee Kuan Yew stepped down as Prime Minister in 1984 but has since held the specially-created position of "Senior Minister" of the Cabinet. His advice is regarded as indispensable by the government. In 1985 his son, Brigadier General Lee Hsien Loong, became a cabinet member, and in 1991 he became deputy Prime Minister. Lee's influence in Singapore's politics, both domestic and international and in political and economic matters, has been great since 1959.

Under Singapore's constitution, the responsibility for education lies with the Minister of Education, a member of the Cabinet. The Cabinet makes policy education and submits it to the parliament for approval. The annual budget for education is prepared by the Ministry of Education and included in the overall budget.

Several ordinances and acts have provided the legal basis for certain major initiatives and for the founding of institutions of higher learning. They are the Singapore Polytechnic Ordinance (1954), the Nanyang University Ordinance (1959), the University of Singapore Ordinance (1961), and the Ngee Ann College Act (1967). Also, transferring university education from private to public management are the Ngee Ann Technical College Act (1968), the Institute of Education Act (1973), and the National University of Singapore Act (1980), while the Edu-Save Account Act (1993) and the Open University Act (1994) merged Nanyang University and the University of Singapore.


Educational SystemOverview


Singapore provides a 10-year education at the primary and secondary levels. Two major revampings of these levels took place in 1979 and 1991. In 1991, the Ministry of Education issued "The Next Lap: Singapore 1991," which outlined the basic goals of education. These were:

  • to educate each individual to his/her "maximum potential"
  • to develop thinking individuals with "creative and flexible skills"
  • to nurture leadership qualities and good work ethics
  • to cultivate civic and moral values.

Primary education covers the first six years of education, at the end of which there is an examination. At this stage, the aim is to give a good proficiency in English, the mother tongue, and mathematics. Those who pass the examination become eligible to enter the secondary level of education, which lasts four years. Those who fail the primary school examination and have reached the age of 14 may leave school and take a two-year course provided by the Adult Education Board.

Primary education is organized into two stagesthe Foundation Stage and the Orientation Stage. The Foundation Stage extends over the first four years. At this stage, the emphasis is on basic literacy and arithmetic. Eighty percent of the classroom time is given to acquiring a working knowledge of English and a good grounding in the mother tongue. The study of English includes general information on health education and social studies. Instruction is provided in the mother tongue in civics and moral education. Some time is devoted to teaching music, arts and crafts, science, physical education, and extracurricular activities. Science is taught beginning in year three and social studies in year four. At the end of the third year, parents are informed of their children's performance in languagesmother tongue and Englishand mathematics, and are given recommendations made for channeling the students at the end of year four to go along appropriate "streams." At the end of four years of primary schooling, students take the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). This determines a student's ability and places him/her in the appropriate secondary school courses to suit his/her "learning pace and aptitude."

The secondary education may take four to five years depending on a student's ability. Those in the Special and Express courses take the General Certificate of Education "Ordinary" Level (GCE "O" Level) Examination at the end of their fourth year. Students in the "Normal Course" may take the Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) course, both of them leading to the GCE "N" Level examination at the end of their fourth year. Those who do well at the "N" Level may take a fifth year in preparation for the GCE "O" Level.

In 1996, for postsecondary and pre-university education, there were seven "Pre-U Centres and Centralized Institutes" with an enrollment of 2,193 of whom 796 were males and 1,397 were females. There were 149 teachers of whom 54 were males and 95 females. In the 14 junior colleges, there were 20,202 students, with 9,580 males and 10,622 females. Of the 1,426 teachers, 566 were males and 860 were females.

The general literacy rate in Singapore was fairly high and had been improving. In 1986, it was 86.3 percent for residents aged 15 years and older. It climbed to 92.2 for the same age group in 1996. The primary school enrollment ratio of children aged 6 to 17 years in 1996 was 92.5 percent.


Preprimary & Primary Education

The preschool education provided in kindergarten classes, daytime nurseries, and children's centers, falls outside the regular system of education and, therefore, does not come under the purview of the Ministry of Education. However, that ministry provides strict and clear "guidelines" for the curriculum and management of the kindergartens.

Another wing of the government, namely, the Ministry of Community Development (MCD) is responsible for the administration of the child-care centers. Given an annual birthrate of about 50,000, the total number of children below six requiring childcare facilities and/or preschool education may be estimated at about 300,000. In 2000, there were childcare facilities under the MCD, some of them conveniently located close to the industrial plants or major workplaces making it possible for young mothers to work on a full-time basis.

Compared to childcare centers, kindergartens are run mostly by private agencies charging fairly high fees. Singaporean parents, though, are aware of the importance of such regular preschool education and almost all the children in Singapore go through one to three years of preschool education in either private kindergartens or the MCD's childcare centers. The part-time and full-time childcare centers are subsidized by the state.

Over the years, notably in the 1990s, there have been efforts to "streamline" preschool education and bring it under increased supervision by the Ministry of Education (MOE). In collaboration with the National Institute of Education (NIE), MOE, and MCD have instituted programs at the NIE for the training of teachers and supervisors for the childcare centers and kindergartens. NIE offers the Basic or Intermediate Certificates for teachers and the Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Education for administrators. Besides this, the NIE trains senior teachers who, in turn, train junior teachers on site at the childcare centers.

The primary aim of preschool education is to prepare children for the formal education of primary school. The other goals include development of social skills and easier transition of infants from the sheltered home environment to a semiformal setting. The childcare centers teach children in two languages, the mother tongue and English. Parents, therefore, choose a pre-education facility that offers their home language, whether Chinese, Malay, or Tamil. Besides languages, the centers have multiple activities including story telling, music, physical education, and outdoor games.

In 1996, there were 198 primary schools with a total enrollment of 269,688 students and 10,163 teachers. Of these, 151 schools (with 196,438 students and 7,790 teachers) were run by the government. Forty-six were government-aided, with an enrollment of 73,152 students and 2,373 teachers. There was 1 private school with 98 students. The teacher-student ratio at the primary level stood at 1:27 in 1996.


Secondary Education


The first two years of the secondary school level are common to all secondary school students and have the same curriculum. Those who want to quit the regular secondary education after the first two years may join the industrial training centers or vocational institutes for job training and become part of the labor market. The third and fourth year secondary level provide specialization in different "streams"academic, technical, or business education.

On completing the GCE, students may attend a junior college for a two-year, pre-university course or a centralized institute for a three-year course in arts, science, commerce, or technology. At the end of the preuniversity course, students may take the GCE "Advanced" or "A" Level examination. The outcome determines eligibility for admission to an institution for higher learning.

In 1996, there were 151 secondary schools with 185,324 students of which 96,860 were males and 88,464 females. There were 8,779 teachers of whom 3,174 were males and 5,605 females. Of the 151 secondary schools, 97 were government-run with 118,687 students and 5,368 teachers; 26 were government-aided with an enrollment of 29,744 students and 1,579 teachers; and 18 schools were "Autonomous," with an enrollment of 25,038 and 1,092 teachers. Begun in 1994, "autonomous" schools tripled from six in 1994 to 18 in 1996. Enrollment rose from 8,833 to 25,038 and the number of teachers from 403 in 1986 to 1,092 in 1996. There were eight "Independent" schools in 1996 with a student enrollment of 11,257 and 684 teachers. Additionally, there were two private schools with an enrollment of 598 and 56 teachers. The teacher-student ratio in government schools in 1996 was 1:21.

Besides the Ngee Ann and the Singapore Polytechnics, a large part of responsibility for the technical and vocational education is assumed by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). The ITE has assumed some of the functions previously carried out by the Vocational and Industrial Training Board. As a postsecondary institution, the ITE's primary goal is to create a pool of skilled manpower for the economic development of the country. According to the Ministry of Education, the ITE gives equal emphasis on postsecondary training to equip teenagers with the skills to enter the labor market as well as to provide continuing education and training for those who are already a part of the labor force and who would like to upgrade or acquire new skills.

There are three programs for upgrading skills of existing workers who take evening courses on a part time basis. The Certificate of Competency (COC) and national Technical Certificate (NTC) are awarded to those existing workers who acquire a new skill or upgrade an old one. Special programs address specific kinds of workers. The Modular Skills Training (MOST) is meant for workers with a Primary School Leaving Examination. Training Initiative for Mature Employees (TIME) is meant for workers of the age of 40 and above, while its counterpart for 20 to 40 years old is called Adult Cooperative Training Scheme (ACTS).

The ITE provides fulltime training to those who hold a GCE "O" and "N" level qualifications. It provides technical training, leading to the Industrial Technician Certificate (ITC) and the National Technical Certificate Grade 2 (NTC-2). Those who take business courses get the Certificate in Business Studies (CBS) and the Certificate in Office Skills (COS).

Students who leave school with fewer than 10 years of education or who do not pass the examination at the end of 10 years of schooling still are rewarded. The ITE awards the National Technical Certificate-3 (NTC-3) to those who complete their training at the Vocational Training Center. These students may also join an apprenticeship scheme that allows them to learn while they earn. Such on-and off-the-job training is provided either in ITE's centers or in those managed by private companies approved by the ITE. Most apprenticeship courses lead to the National Technical Certificate examinations. The holders of the certificates are absorbed by industry at the appropriate level of skilled work.

Besides industrial apprenticeships, there are also those leading to a Certificate in Health Care, Certificate in Travel Services, and Certificate in Retailing (Sales and Customer service), all awarded by the Institute of Technical Education. In 1996, the ITE had 11 centers with a combined full-time enrollment of 8,233, of which 5,968 were males and 2,265 were females. There were 1,212 on the teaching staff of whom 891 were males and 321 were females.


Higher Education

When Singapore became independent in 1965 there was only one university, the University of Singapore. Its predecessor was the University of Malaya which was established in 1949 with the merger of two institutionsThe King Edward VII College of Medicine and the Raffles College: which had been established in 1928 for the study of arts and science. In 1958, in anticipation of the grant of full internal self-government to Singapore, two joint committees were appointed to examine the possibility of creating two autonomous organizations respectively for Malaya and Singapore. Accordingly, in 1959, the university was restructured into two autonomous divisions located in Malaya's capital, Kuala Lumpur, and in Singapore. Two years later, the division was formalized. On the New Year's Day in 1962, the University of Singapore was formally launched.

In response to the demands of the Chinese community to retain their culture and tradition, the Nanyang University was established as a private university in 1956. Although a government ordinance of 1959 gave the university a statutory status, its diplomas and degrees fell short of full recognition by the governments of the Federation of Malaya and Singapore for its civil service recruitment. Consequently, the generally success-oriented Singaporeans did not encourage their children to attend Nanyang University. By 1962, however, the government of Singapore, which was then controlled by the People's Action Party (PAP), decided to restore government grants to Nanyang University as a political measure. In the 1960s, the government used the Nanyang University for technological education, and in 1980 it was merged with the University of Singapore. The new entity was called the National University of Singapore.

Since 1965 education at all levels, including higher education, has grown exponentially. In 2000, Singapore had six Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). First, is the National University of Singapore (NUS) regarded as the flag ship of Singapore's educational system. It has 8 faculties, 50 departments, 4 graduate schools (medicine, dentistry, business management, and engineering), and 7 "specialist research institutes" for advanced study and research in areas of "strategic importance to the nation's development." They are:

  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Institute of Micro-Electronics
  • Institute of Systems Science
  • National University Medical Institute
  • Institute of Molecular Agro-Biology
  • Data Storage Institute and the Institute for Materials Engineering and Research

The NUS has also established several centers of excellence and institutes where its faculty is involved in research and development for "specific applications to industry and business." It also runs the National Super-computing Centre for the advancement of Information Technology and computer and computational technology in Singapore. In these endeavors, the university gives a high priority to multi-disciplinary R&D projects, often in collaboration with industry.

The eight faculties are Architecture and Building, Arts and Social Sciences, Business Administration, Dentistry, Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Science. All faculties offer courses leading to a bachelor's degree and some have graduate (post-graduate) courses leading to a master's and a doctorate degree. In 1996, the NUS had 37,791 students, of whom 20,507 were males and 17,284 were females, with a teaching faculty of 3,059, of which 2,290 were males and 769 were females.

A large majority of the faculty is highly qualified, holding doctorates from some of the best universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. Most of them feel frustrated over the lack of research environment at the NUS, though most of them are happy that academic rewards and remuneration are not necessarily linked to research and publication. The faculty is also frustrated because, with a few exceptions, the NUS does not provide graduate education, which reduces the NUS faculty to the level of undergraduate teachers.

Some departments have begun to grant master's degrees, but student enrollment is small. Without the challenge of graduate students the faculty feels they are being under-utilized in terms of skills they acquired while working on their doctorates. The NUS does provide financial support for research during the faculty's sabbatical year if it is spent overseas at a major university or research institution. Compared to similarly trained faculty in HEIs in the United States, the research output of the NUS faculty is far from impressive.

Most of the Singapore graduates pursue their graduate work in major universities, notably in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. The Singapore government and people prefer to send students overseas for several reasons. First, they feel the graduates need exposure outside the confines of their small state, which they regard as essential for Singapore's leadership role, regionally and globally. Secondly, there is some justification in their fear that the pursuit of graduate education under the same faculty may promote inbreeding. Thirdly, education abroad offers an opportunity for students to develop contacts in business and industry, which may be found useful later in their careers.

Formerly called the Nanyang Technological Institute (NTI), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was formally granted the status of an independent university on July 1, 1991. The NTI itself was established in 1981 as an engineering institution, which was to have a more practical orientation than the NUS. Located in Yunnan Garden, it has six schools: civil and structural engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical and production engineering, communications studies, applied science, and accountancy and business.

The NTI and NUS have a common curriculum for first-year engineering students followed by a three-year course at either institutiondepending on the academic standing of the student. NUS gets the superior students. The degree in engineering was, however, awarded to both the NTI and NUS students by the National University of Singapore. During the decade following its establishment, the NTI determined its policies in regards to admission, curriculum, and examination requirements in close consultation with the NUS departments.

The NTI developed collaborative links for research and teaching with local industry as well as with corporations, research institutes, and universities overseas. Regular internship programs were established with several local firms involved in civil, structural, and electronic fields for final year students.

In 1991 the NTI had about 3,000 students and a fairly well qualified faculty. The government decided to transform it into a full-fledged university. The NTU has exchange and collaborative arrangements with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Sloan School of Management and the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory (MEL) in Japan.

The National Institute of Education (NIE) was established in 1973. At that time, the Teachers' Training College (TTC), founded in 1950, was the only institution providing teacher-training facilities in Singapore. NIE trained primary school teachers and non graduate secondary school teachers. After 1973, the NIE became a comprehensive teacher-training institution, providing facilities for training preprimary, primary, secondary, and junior college teachers. The institute is located in Bukit Timah. The NIE attracts students from Singapore and the entire Southeast Asian region. The NIE merged with the Institute of Education and the College of Physical Education in 1991. It has four schools: science, arts, education, and physical education.

Since 1991, NIE has offered four-year courses leading either to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree with a Diploma in Education. It also offers the Postgraduate Diploma in Education programs for university graduates and the two-year Diploma in Education and Diploma in Physical Education programs for holders of GCE "A" level. Additionally, the NIE offers a number of in-service training programs. The postgraduate work in education at the master's and doctorate levels at NIE is rewarded with degrees by the NUS. The high quality and range of research conducted by the NIE is reflected in Research and Evaluation Abstracts for Classroom Teachers (REACT), and numerous other reports. In 1996, NIE had 3,095 students, of whom 857 were males and 2,238 were females. The faculty numbered 420, of whom 204 were males and 216 were females.

There are four major polytechnics in Singapore: Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, and Nanyang Polytechnic. Ngee Ann was established in 1963. It gives diploma courses in electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, shipbuilding and repair technology, building construction and maintenance, business and computer studies.

Although the Singapore Legislative Council approved Singapore Polytechnic Ordinance in 1954, Singapore Polytechnic did not begin to function until four years later in 1958. It offers two types of technician diplomas awarded after either a three-year or a five-year course. It also has a two-year certificate course. The fields covered are: civil, structural, mechanical and marine engineering, land surveying, architectural draftsmanship, nautical technology, aeronautical maintenance, and many other specialties of practical value to industry. Its students are linked with industrial plants, construction companies, and other businesses for practical training. The Singapore Polytechnic also provides graduate education in land surveying, process plant engineering design, plastics design, industrial management, and maritime studies. Of note is the Polytechnic's Department of Continuing Education, which offers evening classes for full-time workers who would like to obtain higher technical and management skills.

The Temasek Polytechnic was established in April 1990, and the Nanyang Polytechnic in April 1992 to meet the rising demands of industry and students. In 1996, the four polytechnics had a combined enrollment of 51,254 students of whom 29,736 were males and 21,518 were females. The combined strength of the teaching staff was 3,410 of whom 2,272 were males and 1,138 were females.


Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Except for preschool education, the entire system of education from the primary to the university levels comes under the administrative control of the Ministry of Education. This includes government, government-aided, and even nonassisted private schools. Education is regarded as one of the most important areas of general concern to the society and of tremendous value to the economy. Therefore, the government has from the inception of Singapore as a free state and, more so since 1973, melded education with the industrial development of the country. It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to implement the government's educational policy as approved by the parliament from time to time.

The Minister of Education is aided by a minister of state (who is not a member of the Cabinet), a parliamentary secretary, and a Permanent Secretary (Education), who is a high-level member of the civil service. There is a Director of Education although the Permanent Secretary carries out most of those functions. The Director of Education coordinates all the academic and professional aspects of primary and secondary level education. Assisting the Permanent Secretary are five directors each in charge of a division. The five divisions are administration, education services, planning research and testing, schools, and personnel.

The administration division has five branches. Finance and accounts are in charge of preparation of the annual budget and administration of funds to the schools. The planning and development branch prepares plans for the physical and other infrastructure needs of the schools, and monitors supplies of equipment and other material. The office services branch handles legal matters, the international and statutory organization branch deals with international bodies assisting education in Singapore or which seek statistical or other data, and the public relations branch deals with the members of parliament and the public.

The Educational Services Division has three branches. The pupils service branch deals with scholarships, counseling, and advisement on career. The extracurricular activities branch handles activities outside the classroom. The textbooks and libraries branch selects textbooks for class use and supplies books and materials for school libraries.

The Planning and Review Division has four branches. Planning and systems evaluates the educational system and suggests reforms. The central testing branch reviews current tests, devises new ones, and monitors statewide examinations. A research and monitoring branch reviews and conducts research on educational matters. There is also a computer service branch.

The Schools Division is the largest. It is responsible for developing curriculum, keeping in touch with new teaching methodologies abroad, and suggesting changes throughout Singapore's school system. It works closely with the Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore. An inspection branch in the Schools Division organizes inspection of schools in order to ensure the standards set down by the Ministry are met.

The Personnel Division deals with appointment and promotion of the teachers and other staff. It has four branches, each dealing with a staffing issue: the Appointment Branch, the Service Conditions Branch, the Staff Development Branch, and the Training Branch. The Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)the universities, polytechnics, the Singapore Science Center and the National Institute of Educationeach with a governing council or board of governors come under the overall responsibility of the Statutory Board of Higher Education. Though the Statutory Board of Higher Education and the HEIs function with relative autonomy and independence, the final responsibility still rests with the Minister of Education who is responsible to the people through the parliament. There have been numerous instances when the Minister has intervened, in particular instances of administrative decisions.

Public education in Singapore is almost entirely financed by the government from the general revenues, although schools and universities are encouraged to raise funds particularly for capital expenditure for construction of buildings or major facilities. The importance of education in government and public expenditure is illustrated by the annual allocations to education which are nearly 25 percent (23.7 percent in 1996) of the entire budget. Besides the annual allocation, the parliament approves a developmental expenditure on the capital account. Education also accounts for the highest number of employees under the governmentnearly two out of five public employees in 2000. Teachers and administrative staff are paid salaries and allowances at government rates applicable to all public employees and are entitled to all programs and benefits, including housing. Universities and other HEIs prepare their own budgets, submit them to the Ministry of Education, and receive block grants annually for their expenditures.

Primary education is free. There is a nominal fee for secondary and junior college level education of less than US$5.00 per month. The preschool education is subsidized by the state to the extent of about 50 percent of the cost. The government-aided schools receive a subsidy up to 50 percent of the costs of development and a portion of their operating budgets depending on the number of students enrolled.

As for higher education, there are a number of scholarships and "bursaries" provided by the Ministry of Education to those who cannot afford the cost. A major initiative in educational finance involving planning and cooperation by parents has been the EduSave Account introduced in 1993. Under the scheme, the Ministry of Education deposited a certain amount of subsidy, approved by the parliament from year to year in the child's Edu-Save Account, which could be used by the child's parents to pay for enrichment and remedial classes or saved for the child's higher education. Children covered by the scheme range from 6 to 16 years of age.

Nonformal Education

A program called the Basic Education for Skills Training (BEST) formerly run jointly by The National Trades Union Congress and the Vocational and Industrial training Board was taken over by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Additionally, the ITE offers the Worker Improvement through Secondary Education (WISE) program. Both programs help workers who have far less than the ten-year primary and secondary education to achieve functional competence in English and mathematics. The ITE also offers continuing education for mature workers to upgrade their general education on a part time basis to the three GCE levels.

In 1994, Ministry of Education appointed the Singapore Institute of Management to run the Open University Degree Programme (OUDP). It offered courses leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree in English, English Literature, English with Economics, English with Management, and Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics, Mathematics with Economics, Mathematics with Management, Computer Science, Computer Science with Economics, and Computer Science with Management. In 1997, OUDP began offering courses leading to a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Technology with Electronics.

The OUDP's undergraduate programs are accredited and examined to match the standards established by the Open University in the United Kingdom. In Singapore, the degrees are accepted by the Singapore Public Service Commission for government employment while the private sector recognizes them "on par with the British degrees."


Teaching Profession


Until 1973, the only teachers' training facility in Singapore was the Teachers' Training College established in 1950. Thereafter, Singapore legislated that all teachers had to be registered with the Ministry of Education, which formalized certification requirements. The Institute of Education (IE), which was established in 1973, assumed the functions previously carried out by the Teachers' Training College and the Department of Education of the University of Singapore. The IE soon became a comprehensive teacher-training facility for training of preprimary, primary, secondary, and junior college teachers. In 1982, the IE opened the Department of Education for Children with Special Needs to train teachers for slow learners as well as for the unusually gifted children. In 1991, the College of Physical Education was merged into the IE and was renamed the National Institute of Education (NIE). Its scope of activities widened to include more research and evaluation functions. The NIE provides in-service training and a wide range of refresher courses to keep trained teachers abreast of new initiatives in education in the advanced countries of the world.

The NIE provides training in all four language streams of education: Chinese, Malay, Tamil, and English. It provides facilities for a one-year diploma in education for those who already have a bachelor's degree and a two-year certificate in education for those who do not have a degree. Its in-service programs enable primary school teachers to obtain a one-year Professional Certificate in Education (FPCE). Those of the primary and secondary teachers who hold a bachelor's degree and a diploma in education may enroll for in-service courses leading to the master's degree in education.


Summary


Singapore's educational system deserves recognition for its educational achievements. The society and the government are supremely aware of the small size of the state and what needs to be done particularly in education to establish and maintain a position of importance in a fast-developing world. The island nation has also attempted and succeeded to a large extent in making itself the "hub" of the Southeast Asian region in the fields of economy and education. In this, Singapore has made the use of computer technology almost universal in all its business establishments, government, and academic institutions at all levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Singapore has a strong priority to business and industry. The academic institutions, particularly in the tertiary sector: universities, polytechnics, institutes of education and technical education, and the few research institutes are all aware of their need to cater to industry's needs in trained human resources as well as in R&D. Most of the educational facilities in Singapore have a highly trained faculty expertise reinforced periodically by visits and training programs abroad and through the establishment of academic ties with well-known institutions in Japan and the West, notably in the United Kingdom and the United States. The inadequacies of Singapore's educational system are a lack of sufficient incentive to its faculty in the form of advanced graduate programs and rewards to those who publish their research. The teaching and research staff at all levels is well paid and the infrastructure is well provided for efficient performance.

Singapore's immense success is based on an understanding of the needs and aspirations of its government, people, industry, and businesses. Its good fortune has been the consistently dynamic leadership provided by Lee Kuan Yew and the fairly smooth transition of power sharing since he stepped down from his position as Prime Minister.

A problem that remains to be solved is the political future of a system that has, so far, been based on the domination by a single party, the People's Action Party (PAP). It must be conceded, however, that there are more supporters than detractors of the system. The second area of concern has been the deterioration of Confucianism, particularly the relationship between generations from the impact of Westernization, which, in the eyes of the establishment, has been progressively weakening the moral fiber of the young. Even discounting the usual criticisms of the younger generation by the older generation, there is validity to this area of concern. The progression of Western influence could seriously affect Singapore's self-identity. The question is what the education system can do to reverse the trend of Westernization.


Bibliography

Chong, Sylvia. "Policies Affecting Arts Education: The Heart of the Matter." Arts Education Policy Review, IC, 3 (January-February 1998), 22-25.

Doraiswamy, T.R., ed. 150 Years of Education in Singapore. Singapore: TTC Publications Board, Teachers Training College, 1969.

Kuo, Eddie C.Y. A Quantitative Approach to the Study of Socio-linguistic Situations in Multilingual Societies. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre, 1985.

Ministry of Education. Education Statistics Digest. Singapore: Ministry of Education, 2000.

National Arts Council. Catalogue of Arts-in-Education Programs. Singapore: National Arts Council, 1996.

Tham, Seong Chee. Multi-lingualism in Singapore: Two Decades of Development. Singapore: Department of Statistics, 1996.

Wilson, Harold E. Social Engineering in Singapore: Educational Policies and Social Change, 1819-1972. Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1978.


D. R. SarDesai

views updated

SINGAPORE

Republic of Singapore

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Singapore is a city-state in Southeast Asia, located about 137 kilometers (85 miles) north of the Equator. It consists of 1 major island and 59 small islands. Singapore lies at the center of a major sea route connecting the Far East to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, which gives the country its strategic importance. It is separated from Malaysia to the north by the narrow Johore Strait and from Indonesia to the south by the wider Singapore Strait. The country has a land area of 637.5 square kilometers (247 square miles), but no land boundaries, and its total coastline is 193 kilometers (120 miles). The territory of Singapore covers a slightly smaller area than that of New York City.

POPULATION.

The population of Singapore, which is entirely urban, was estimated at 4,151,264 in July 2000. In 2000, the birth rate stood at 12.79 per 1000 people, a low level attributed to urbanization and birth control policies, and the death rate stood at 4.21 per 1000. The estimated population growth rate is 3.54 percent. Such a high rate is due to the high net immigration rate, which stood at 26.8 immigrants per 1000 people. These immigrants form a large community of foreign temporary workers estimated at about 10 percent of the total population. Singapore has one of the highest population densities in the world, with about 6,500 people per square kilometer (or 16,800 per square mile).

The Singaporean population is diverse and represents 3 major ethnic groups. Ethnic Chinese make up almost 77 percent of the population, Malays make up 14 percent, Indians 7.6 percent, and other ethnic groups 1.4 percent. Around 18 percent of the population is below the age of 14, and just 7 percent is older than 65. The current ethnic distribution was formed in the 19th century when the British administration encouraged people to migrate to Singapore from neighboring Malacca, the Indonesian islands, India and especially China.

In 1957, Singapore's population was approximately 1.45 million, and there was a relatively high birth rate. Aware of the country's extremely limited natural resources and small territory, the government introduced birth control policies in the late 1960s. In the late 1990s, the population was aging, with fewer people entering the labor market and a shortage of skilled workers. In a dramatic reversal of policy, the Singapore government now plans to introduce a "baby bonus" scheme in 2001 that will encourage couples to have more children.

Singapore wants to limit the inflow of illegal immigrants. The effect of drugs and drug trafficking is another important issue, since Singapore lies near the "Golden Triangle," an area between Burma, Laos, and Thailand that is the world's largest producer of illicit drugs such as opium. Singapore is among the few countries in the world to have adopted the death penalty for possession and sale of drugs. New chronic diseases like AIDS are also of great concern to the Singaporean government, since the country is a busy tourist destination.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

Manufacturing and services are the 2 main features of the modern Singaporean economy, but the economy's main economic engine is its seaport, one of the world's busiest. Singapore also has one of the largest commercial shipping registers in the world.

In 1819, when the British East India Company leased this territory from the Sultan of Johore to establish a trade and communication post, it was a small settlement in a swampy area. However, the British administration quickly cleared jungles, reclaimed marshes, and established a merchant seaport. This port expanded into a major regional trading post due to its strategic and convenient location along the main sea route connecting the Far East to British India and to Europe. The rise of Singapore as a communication hub would prove a foundation for its future prosperity.

As a free port and a major British naval base in East Asia, Singapore enjoyed a special status within the British protectorate for a long time. In 1959, Singapore achieved full self-governance, and in 1963, it joined the Federation of Malaysia. However, sharp political disagreements arose with the federal government, and in 1965, Singapore left the Federation and became an independent state. Having a small territory and no natural resources, the government staked everything on the transformation of the country's economic base from a trade mediator and regional transport hub to a manufacturing center, specializing in capital-intensive industries, high technologies, and financial services. Singapore's government promoted a free-market economy and export oriented industrialization (EOI), combined with a measure of state intervention, subsidized credits to selected industries, and high public investment in applied research and certain export targets. Export to the international market promoted efficient use of resources and generated hard currency , which was necessary for catching up with further development of technologies and industrial innovation. This policy brought unprecedented economic expansion, with an annual average growth rate of 6.4 percent from the 1960s through the 1980s. This development transformed Singapore into one of the "economic tigers" of Asia.

There are different interpretations about the causes of this high performance. A World Bank report argued that this success was because of a mix of private investors and available human resources. Others argue that state initiatives and government economic policies were important. In Singapore's transformation, the Economic Development Board, which is the government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of economic and industrial development strategies established in 1961, played a crucial role.

The country's major export products are electronic goods, machinery, and equipment produced by major multinational corporations . Tourism is important. In 1996, Singapore hosted 4,795 international and regional conventions and received more than 7 million tourists, providing revenues of about 9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Finance and business services are other important sectors of the economy, accounting for almost 30 percent of GDP in 1996. Transport and communications contributed an estimated 10 percent of GDP in 1996.

The Singapore government is persistent in the promotion of initiatives to keep the country competitive in the international arena. One of these initiatives is IT2000, which depends on a vision of Singapore as an "Intellectual Island" where information technologies penetrate all aspects of life. Another initiative is Jurong Town Corporation, which offers ready-built factories and manages 33 industrial parks housing 7,000 companies. The government supported the selected sectors in manufacturing and other industries through different means. It owns the Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) that operate as commercial entities. Singapore has the second highest number of state-controlled firms (45 percent) in the world, higher than Korea or Japan.

One of the important features of the Singaporean economy is that the financial sector has been guided by conservative fiscal policies . In 1998, in response to the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the Singapore government announced financial reforms to improve the country's international competitiveness, which included further liberalization of the financial sector and tax initiatives.

High economic performance and development kept unemployment at a low level during the last decades of the 20th century in all sectors of the economy including manufacturing, tourism, and finance. In 1999 unemployment was just 3.2 percent (by comparison, unemployment in the United States was 4.2 percent in the same year). Because of the speed of its economic expansion, Singapore began to experience shortages of skilled labor in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Singapore is a parliamentary democracy with a president as the constitutional head of state. The president plays a ceremonial role in the political life of the country and until 1991 was elected by the parliament. In 1991, the constitution was amended, allowing citizens to vote for their president in direct popular elections. Current president S. R. Nathan took office for a 6-year term in 1999. Singapore's unicameral (one house) parliament has 83 members elected by popular vote. Executive power rests with the cabinet, led by the prime minister who is responsible to the parliament.

Several political parties have been active since Singapore's independence in 1965. Five of these parties have a high profile and influence in the country. These are: People's Action Party (PAP); National Solidarity Party (NSP); Singapore Democratic Party (SDP); Singapore People's Party (SPP); and Worker's Party (WP). Unlike many neighboring countries, the Communist Party does not have mass support in Singapore, and there has been no violent confrontation with communists. The military has never been an influential force in the political arena of the country. Politically, Singapore has remained remarkably stable and nearly untouched by political violence since independence.

Since the end of World War II, the major issues shaping political competition in Singapore have been the promotion of political stability, economic growth, and maintaining a balance among the 3 main ethnic groups. The PAP came to power spreading an ideal of national consolidation, economic growth, and state paternalism. It has remained the country's dominant political force for the past 40 years, controlling parliament in every election since independence. The PAP's strong man, Lee Kuan Yew, became prime minister in 1959 when Singapore acquired self-governance, and retained this position until 1990. After his resignation, Goh Chok Tong, Lee's chosen successor, became the new prime minister. One of the unique features of Singaporean political development is the governing by a single party since gaining independence in 1965. This has led prominent human rights groups to criticize the Singaporean government over its failure to promote and protect the political and civil rights of its citizens.

Since the early 1960s, under the leadership of both Lee Kuan Yew and then Goh Chok Tong, the Singapore government has promoted a free-market and export-oriented economy. This policy has been successful and the country has experienced unprecedented economic growth and prosperity. Leading technocrats were able to capture major trends in technological change in the modern world and utilize the benefits of globalization. In 1992, as a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Singapore created a regional free trade zone , to be known as the ASEAN Free Trade Zone (AFTA). Singapore managed to minimize the negative effects of the oil crisis of 1979 and the Asian financial meltdown in 1997.

The country has continually attracted foreign direct investment and technological transfers from developed countries such as Japan and the United States. One of the important tools in the hands of the government has been its taxation policy and its initiatives. With few exceptions, capital gains are not taxed in Singapore. Both resident and non-resident companies are taxed at the same rate as the corporate tax rate, which stays at 25.5 percent. The typical withholding tax rate on interest payable to non-residents stays at 15 percent, but this could be reduced or even exempted by tax treaties in the future. A Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced in April 1994 at 3 percent, but was accompanied by compensatory reductions in direct taxation . Qualified employees may enjoy tax exemptions of 50 percent for up to S$10 million of stock option gains arising over a period of 10 years for stock options granted after June 2000.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Singapore inherited from the colonial era a superior infrastructure and well-developed transport network. After independence, the Singaporean government made many efforts and sizable investments to improve these even further. This small city-state is served by a network of 3,122 kilometers (1,940 miles) of highways, 99 percent of which are paved. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a steep increase in private car ownership, which led to traffic congestion and rising air pollution. The government reacted swiftly, investing significant sums in public transport, especially the mass transit system. It also restricted private car usage on Singaporean roads, using different measures, including taxes and Certificates of Entitlement. By the 1990s, 83 kilometers (51 miles)

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Singapore 360 822 348 49.5 346 31.6 458.4 322.30 950
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
China N/A 333 272 40.0 19 1.6 8.9 0.50 8,900
Japan 578 955 707 114.8 374 126.8 237.2 163.75 27,060
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

of mass rapid transit system, and 11 kilometers (6 miles) of light rapid transit system had been built, and the country could boast of an excellent public transport system, praised for its safety, quality of service, and punctuality. In 1998, the government launched a S$1.7 billion project to build a new transit line. There were at that time 681,924 registered motor vehicles, including 378,090 cars, 11,410 buses, 133,382 motorcycles and scooters, and other vehicles.

Throughout the colonial era, the port of Singapore was an important military base and commercial seaport. After gaining independence, Singapore maintained its status as an important regional transport hub. Its seaport is believed to be one of the world's busiest ports in tonnage terms, with 140,922 vessels making up a shipping weight of 858 gross tons calling at the port and total container traffic of 15.14 million 20-foot equivalent units. It also has one of the largest commercial shipping registers in the world. Its merchant marine included 891 ships (1,000 gross registered tonnage and over) in 1998. Singapore also houses the third-largest oil refinery in the world with a capacity of 1 million barrels a day (1998). Major petroleum companies, including Shell, ESSO, Caltex, British Petroleum, and Mobil, operate there.

The government has invested heavily in the development of aviation, signing air service agreements with 90 countries, including "open skies" agreements with the United States, New Zealand, and Brunei Darussalam. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) oversees and regulates development in this sector. There were 9 airports in Singapore in 1999. The largest is Changi airport (a subsidiary of CAAS), which hosted 61 airlines and handled 23.8 million passengers in 1998 alone, making Singapore one of the major airports in the region. The 47-hectare (116-acre) Changi Airfreight Center handled 1.43 million tons of air freight movement in 1998. The government planned to invest a further S$1.5 billion in upgrading the airport facilities in the first decade of the 21st century. Singapore Airline (SIA) was created in 1972 after the split of Malaysia-Singapore Airline. SIA and its subsidiary, SilkAir, operated 87 aircraft, employed 18,800 people, and carried 12 million passengers a year in 1998. In 1998, SIA was ranked fourth in terms of international freight measured in ton-kilometers, and eighth in international passenger-kilometers.

Singapore is fully reliant on imports of mineral fuel for domestic consumption, and these imports accounted for 9.3 percent of merchandise imports in 1996. This makes the country vulnerable to unfavorable fluctuations in world oil prices. Electric power is produced from fossil fuel at 3 power stations. Electricity production was recorded at 28.586 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 1998.

Telecommunication services in Singapore remain under state control. Telephone service is provided by the state-controlled Singapore Telecom (ST). The country had 54.6 million telephone lines and 1.02 million mobile cellular telephones in 1998. The government has attempted to end ST's monopoly . In 1993, it sold about 7 percent of its share to private companies and, in 1997, ST's monopoly on mobile and pager services came to an end. In 1998, there were 8 Internet service providers in the country and 458.4 computers per 1,000 people, which is more than in the United States. In 2000, the Singapore government announced a S$1.5 billion investment over 3 years into the e-Government Action Plan, which should enable Singaporeans to access a wide range of online services.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Singapore's separation from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 had advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, its economic development has been constrained by its small territory, small population, and extremely limited natural resources, and the country has always been fully reliant on the importation of foodstuffs. Yet Singapore has a huge advantage in its location in a major sea route connecting the Far East to South Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The country has a well-trained, well-educated, disciplined labor force and has attracted major multinational corporations from Europe, Japan, and the United States. Many of them, such as Sony, NEC, Matsushita, Texas Instruments, and others, have established their manufacturing and assembly plants or distribution centers there.

Singapore has fully used the advantage of its superior location, reinventing itself as a major communication hub in Southeast Asia. The policy of encouraging private entrepreneurship, giving priority to the development of an export-oriented economy, and encouraging capital intensive industries combined with selective state intervention, brought Singapore unprecedented economic growth from the 1960s through the 1990s. By 2000, industry and services had become the 2 largest sectors of the modern Singaporean economy, contributing 30 percent and 70 percent of GDP, respectively, in 2000. (Agriculture's contribution was negligible.) Although there was a substantial slowing down in economic growth in all sectors of the economy after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Singapore managed to avoid economic decline like neighboring Indonesia or Thailand.

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture, including fishery, is an insignificant part of Singapore's economy, accounting for just 0.2 percent of GDP and employing 0.2 percent of the workforce. Since the 19th century Singapore has been fully reliant on the import of foodstuffs, obtained from its neighbors. The country has a small fishing industry consisting of a small fleet and marine fish farms. There has been some interest in the greenhouse production of certain fruits and vegetables for domestic consumption, but it has not developed and remains small. Singapore does cultivate orchids for domestic and export markets.

In the late 1990s, Singapore businessmen expressed interest in biotechnology and genetically modified food production. The public outcry in Europe and the United States over genetically modified food has cooled this interest for the time being. Some private entrepreneurs invested in the agricultural sector in neighboring Malaysia and Thailand, aiming to export the products back to Singapore.

INDUSTRY

Singapore belongs to the "New Industrialized States" (NIS), the countries that underwent rapid industrialization from the 1960s to the 1980s. During these 2 decades, Singapore managed to attract technology transfers from the developed world as well as sizable foreign direct investment (FDI). The island has a small mining industry that is of no importance in the national economy.

MANUFACTURING.

Singapore has a diverse, well-established, and economically important manufacturing sector, which contributed 28 percent to GDP and provided employment for 417,300 people, or 21.6 percent of the workforce, in 1999. Since the early 1990s, the manufacturing sector's share in GDP has been slowly declining due to the steady rise in competition from neighboring countries and the expansion of its own service sector. The United States remains the single largest investor in Singapore's economy. In 1999, about 57 percent of FDI commitments came from the United States.

Singapore began its industrial sector in the 1960s, using its superior location and well-trained and educated labor force. The industrial sector initially consisted of electrical assembly, oil refining, and shipping facilities. The electronic sector became the country's most important manufacturing element. This sector underwent a rapid expansion in the late 1960s when Texas Instruments and other multinational corporations established assembly plants in Singapore.

In the 1990s, there was further growth in the manufacturing of different electronic products and computer components. In the late 1990s, Singapore became the world's largest producer of computer disk drives. In 1999, electronics accounted for 43.4 percent of value-added manufacturing in the country, making Singapore vulnerable to downturns in the international market. Most of these goods are produced in foreign-owned plants for export to the United States, Europe, and East Asia. Electronics manufacture was affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, although the Singaporean government supported the sector by tax breaks and other initiatives. After 1997, several multinational corporations such as Seagate, Western Digital of the United States, and others laid off staff and began restructuring their production capacity. Some considered moving their manufacturing operations to neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where wages are lower than in Singapore.

Chemical production, petroleum production, and printing are also important contributors to the country's economy. Singapore has a well-developed chemical and chemical production sector. This sector experienced steady growth in the 1980s and 1990s by attracting substantial FDI. Chemical production contributed 18.1 percent of valued-added manufacturing in 1999.

Petroleum production underwent rapid expansion in the 1960s and 1970s, benefiting from the country's large and efficient seaport and modern oil refining facilities. This sector produces 18.8 million metric tons (20.68 million tons) of distillate fuel oils and 15.7 million metric tons (17.27 million tons) of residual fuel oil, and other petroleum-based products. Singapore has the world's third largest oil-refining industry. Petroleum production contributes 4.4 percent of valued-added manufacturing.

Singapore has developed high-quality color printing processes, producing several publications for major clients from the United States and Europe. Printing and publishing contributes 4.0 percent of value-added manufacturing (1999). The other manufacturing sectors produce transport equipment, machinery, and fabricated metal products.

SERVICES

TOURISM.

Tourism is an important sector of Singapore's economy, providing employment for 118,900 people. Although Singapore was long known as a tourist destination for sailors, business people, and adventurers, mass tourism began in earnest in the 1970s and 1980s with the increase in international air travel. The number of tourists visiting the country rose steadily throughout the 1980s and 1990s, reaching 7.29 million in 1996. There was a decline of about 1.3 percent in 1997 and 13.3 percent in 1998, due to economic turmoil in the region. In response to this decline, the Singapore Tourism Board started "Tourism Unlimited," a program promoting regional tourism and developing tourist projects near Singapore. In 1999, about 6.96 million tourists visited the country, contributing S$11.2 billion dollars to the national economy.

Singapore promotes itself as a "dream destination," offering excellent service, a multicultural environment, local hospitality, exotic festivals, and tax-free shopping. To boost its competitiveness it has also signed visa-free agreements with most countries in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. According to the national authorities, in 1998 Singapore had 108 hotels with total room capacity of 32,000. Most visitors come from the ASEAN countries, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In the 1990s, Singapore reinvented itself as Asia's convention city. In 1996, the capital hosted 4,795 international and regional conventions with 426,000 foreign participants. According to the Union des Associations Internationales, Singapore ranks seventh among the world's major convention cities.

FINANCIAL SERVICES.

The financial and business services sector is one of the most important sectors to the Singapore economy and provides employment for 266,000 people. Finance rests on the traditional foundations of the banking system, investments, insurance, and foreign exchange. There were 154 commercial banks in 1997, although banking was dominated by the "Big Four": the DBS Bank, the United Overseas Bank (UOB), the Overseas Union Bank (OUB), and the Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBS). According to the IMF, Singapore is the world's fourth-largest global exchange center. The financial sector, particularly its banking component, has been tightly regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), prompting sharp criticism from the United States and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Although the 1997 Asian financial crisis affected the financial sector, there were no major bank collapses or bankruptcies. In 1997, Singapore's benchmark Strait Times Industrial Index (STII) fell 30 percent, leading to the STII being replaced by the simplified Straits Times Index (STI) in August of 1997. In 1999, the STI experienced some recovery due to an upturn in the manufacturing sector. The MAS reinforced its strict policy against internationalizing the Singapore dollar by limiting overseas lending and borrowing by non-residents. This policy restricts use of the currency outside the country for activities unrelated to the domestic economic development. However, economic recovery has improved the Singapore government's fiscal position, and it intends to deregulate and gradually liberalize the financial sector.

The business services sector (including property services, accountancy, and information technology), the fourth-most important economic sector in 1999, experienced difficult times in the late 1990s. During this period, economic recession and declining investments in neighboring countries led to less demand for financial and business services and brought a sharp decline in spending in the property market.

RETAIL.

Singapore's well-developed retail sector provides excellent service to the local population and to foreign tourists. Large, state-of-the-art supermarkets are complemented by thousands of small retail shops where tourists and local consumers can buy different products. Singapore has long been recognized as a major tourist shopping destination offering, among other things, the latest electronic products free of tax. In 1998, there were 281,200 people employed in the wholesale and retail trades. After the decline of 1997 and 1998 this sector recovered, with the value of retail sales up by 12.1 percent and their volume up by 14.1 percent.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Since the 1960s, Singapore has adopted a policy of export-oriented industrialization, promoting the export of goods and services in the international markets. It has few barriers against the import of goods and services, although the government's well-known interventionist policy in the regulation and ownership of many Singapore companies has been widely criticized. Singapore more than doubled its exports, from US$52.752 billion in 1990 to US$118.268 billion, in 1995. Exports dipped after 1997, but recovered to reach US$137 billion in 2000. The United States is Singapore's single largest trading partner, accounting for 19 percent of all exports in 1999, primarily from the sale of manufactured electronics and computer peripherals. A large part of these exports originates from U.S.-owned companies, which are traditionally the largest investors in the Singapore economy. Neighboring Malaysia is the second largest export market, accounting for 17 percent of total exports. Hong Kong and Japan are also important export destinations, accounting for 8 percent and 7 percent of exports respectively. Other important partners include Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, China, South Korea, and Germany.

The United States and Japan are the largest suppliers of imports to Singapore, with both countries supplying 17 percent of imports. Malaysia remained one of the traditional sources of imports, accounting for 16 percent

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Singapore
Exports Imports
1975 5.375 8.133
1980 19.376 24.007
1985 22.812 26.285
1990 52.752 60.899
1995 118.268 124.507
1998 109.895 104.719
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

of the total. Major imports from Malaysia include consumer goods like foodstuffs and raw materials. China (5 percent), Thailand (5 percent), Taiwan (4.0 percent), Saudi Arabia (3 percent), and Germany (3 percent) are other major sources of imports. In 2000, the value of imports totaled US$127 billion.

Singapore's government considers the development of free trade as an important factor for the country's future economic growth. Singapore strongly supported free trade negotiations between the members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation organization (APEC), which tried to remove trade barriers between member countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and others. Singapore also strongly supported the creation of a regional free trade zone for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), to be known as the ASEAN Free Trade Zone (AFTA). In 2001, Singapore announced its intention to discuss bilateral free-trade arrangements with Australia, Canada, Japan, and the United States.

Singapore's international trade rose during the last 3 decades of the 20th century, when the country managed its trade balance to achieve a trade surplus of US$10 billion by 2000. Singapore demonstrated its immunity to the sharp oil price rises in 2000 and 2001; however, it faces increasing competition from neighboring countries and has become vulnerable to changes in global market demands for electronic products. Nevertheless, political and economic uncertainty in neighboring Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand have strengthened Singapore's position, confirming its image as one of the most stable and business-friendly countries in the region.

MONEY

Over the last 2 decades, the value of the Singapore dollar showed remarkable stability because of the country's steady economic growth. During this period of unprecedented growth, Singapore managed to avoid high inflation or economic recession. The Asian financial crisis

Exchange rates: Singapore
Singapore dollars (S$) per US$1
Jan 2001 1.7365
2000 1.7240
1999 1.6950
1998 1.6736
1997 1.4848
1996 1.4100
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

of 1997 did affect Singapore's economy, but the country was able to avoid the political and economic calamities that brought high inflation and sizable recession to neighboring Indonesia and Thailand. There was slowdown of the Singapore economy in 1997 and 1998, affecting all sectors and bringing a small rise in inflation. In 1999 and 2000, the country overcame the difficulties and produced significant growth. Inflation stabilized at about 0.4 percent and GDP growth at about 5.5 percent in 1999.

According to the IMF classification, the Singapore dollar is a freely floating currency determined by the foreign exchange market. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which acts as the central bank, closely monitors the exchange rate and ensures the stability of the currency against international currency speculators. Due to the regional economic downturn, the value of the Singapore dollar declined slightly against the U.S. dollar, from 1.4174 in 1995 to 1.6733 in January 2000. This stability was supported by Singapore's huge stocks of foreign reserves, the world's largest in per capita terms (US$23,864 per head against US$14,070 per head in Hong Kong). These foreign reserves are even larger than those of the United States. Singapore is also the world's fourth-largest global exchange center after London, New York, and Tokyo, with Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Guaranty, and others, operating in this market.

Singapore has a single stock market, which until 1997 was known as the Strait Times Industrial Index (STII). In August 1997, it was replaced by the Straits Times Index (STI). In 1997 and 1998 the STI was affected by the regional recession, recovering in 1999 and 2000. According to the Singapore Exchange (SGX) statistics, 388 companies, representing total capitalization of S$389.5 billion (US$236 billion), were listed in the SGX main board in December 2000.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

Extraordinary economic growth during the past 3 decades brought wealth and prosperity to Singapore. This

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Singapore 8,722 11,709 14,532 19,967 31,139
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
China 138 168 261 349 727
Japan 23,296 27,672 31,588 38,713 42,081
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

growth was impressive during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1959, when Singapore gained self-governance, its per capita GDP was just US$400. In 2000, Singapore was ranked fifth in the world in terms of per capita GDP, ahead of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In 2000, the per capita GDP, figured at purchasing power parity , was US$26,500. A Central Provident Fund, to which employers and employees pay compulsory contributions, provides benefits in case of work injury, old age, and disability. Most people live in small apartments in high-rise buildings.

Social polarization is visible in education. The social prestige of a good education is traditionally very high in Singapore society. Private schools are very expensive and those who can spend a considerable part of their income on providing the best education for their children. Although the government is trying to encourage the development of a "knowledge society," education is not compulsory, and the poorer members of Singaporean society are disadvantaged, while the wealthy send their children to leading British, Australian, and North American universities.

In Singapore's society, as elsewhere, some people acquire wealth while others need to work hard merely to maintain a decent life. There are no statistics on the distribution of income, and therefore it is difficult to assess socio-economic and social division in the country. Traditionally, recent immigrants, both legal and illegal, have been the most disadvantaged members of the society. There is evidence, too, that social polarization exists along ethnic lines, with the ethnic Chinese community considered better off than the Malay community. In formulating social policy, the government has to take the importance of ethnic issues into consideration. The Singapore government supports such traditional values as a strong work ethic and the importance of family, promoting them as "Asian values" in opposition to the perceived "individualism" of Western societies. The National Council of Social Services, with the help of 150 voluntary bodies, provides most of the welfare services to individuals and families in need. The government also provides services for families in distress, with mandatory

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Singapore 15 7 5 3 14 7 48
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
China N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Japan 12 7 7 2 22 13 37
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

counseling in cases of family violence, monthly subsidies for working mothers with children in child-care centers, and financial assistance to low-income families. All residents, regardless of social status, are eligible for low-cost medical care.

WORKING CONDITIONS

In 1998, Singapore's labor force was 1.932 million people, with the unemployment rate about 3.2 percent, or 61,700 people. Over the last 3 decades of the 20th century, unemployment has never been high, thanks to the country's robust economic performance across almost all sectors of the economy. Singapore's economy experienced 2 difficult years in 1997 and 1998, when unemployment rose, but since the beginning of economic recovery in 1999 and 2000 there has been strong demand in the labor market. The Employment Act established a 44-hour working week, although there is no official minimum wage or unemployment compensation.

Singapore's economy demands a highly trained and flexible workforce. The government strongly promotes the acquisition of different skills, supporting several higher education centers, and vocational and technical institutes. Facing shortages in the workforce, the government encourages women to work by providing different initiatives and support for working mothers. Women made up about 40 percent of the workforce in 1999. Due to the nature of the labor market and the nation's growing prosperity, there is no child labor problem. The law prohibits employment of children under age 12. Due to labor shortages, there is a growing number of foreign workers in Singapore, unskilled and concentrated in the service and construction sectors.

The activities of trade unions are allowed in the country within the framework of the Societies Act, labor laws, and other regulations. According to the U.S. State Department, in the late 1990s there were 255,020 union members, organized into 83 unions. Most of them are affiliated with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), which is closely associated with the ruling People's Action Party. Strikes, slow-downs, and other workers' protests are rare in Singapore. Collective bargaining is common in management-labor relations, but most disagreements are solved through informal consultations and, in disputed cases, through the Industrial Arbitration Court.

The rise of the "new economy" caused a surge in demand for information technology (IT) workers. It is expected that, with annual growth of 10 percent in the IT sector, manpower in this area will need to more than double from 95,000 in 2000 to 220,000 in 2008. The government intends to develop the existing workforce rather than rely on immigration for the acquisition of skilled personnel in the sector. To facilitate retraining, in April 2000 the Ministry of Manpower and the Infocomm Development Authority jointly launched the Strategic Manpower Conversion Program, emphasizing information technologies and "technopreneurship."

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1819. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company leases a small territory from the Sultan of Johore and founds Singapore.

1821. First large group of Chinese migrants arrive from Xiamen.

1826. Singapore is incorporated into the Straits Settlements, a British colony.

1860. First census indicates a population of 80,792 in Singapore.

1858. Straits Settlements become a British Crown colony under the jurisdiction of the Colonial Office in London.

1914. Indentured labor system abolished.

1921. Singapore becomes a principal naval base for the British Navy in East Asia.

1942. The country is occupied by Japan during World War II.

1945. Allied forces liberate Singapore from Japanese occupation.

1946. Singapore becomes a Crown colony separate from Malaysia.

1955. A new constitution is adopted, introducing a measure of self-government.

1959. Singapore gains full self-governance under Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

1961. Establishment of the Economic Development Board, a government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of economic and industrial development strategies.

1963. Singapore joins the Federation of Malaysia.

1965. Singapore withdraws from the Federation of Malaysia and becomes independent.

1965. Singapore joins the United Nations.

1967. Singapore becomes a founding member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

1970. Independent Monetary Authority of Singapore is established.

1971. Final withdrawal of British troops from Singapore.

1973. Last major ties with Malaysia renounced.

1979. Government begins a program of economic restructuring in response to the shock of the oil crisis.

1987. English is made the language of instruction in schools.

1990. Lee Kuan Yew resigns.

1991. The constitution is amended to allow Singapore citizens to directly elect their president.

1995. Huge losses made by a Singapore-based derivatives trader causes the collapse of Barings, the oldest British banking group.

1997. The ruling People's Action Party wins parliamentary elections, capturing 81 of 83 parliamentary seats.

1998. In response to the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the government announces financial reforms to improve the country's international competitiveness.

1999. The "Industry 21" Program, a new economic blueprint for the development of Singapore in the 21st century, is launched.

FUTURE TRENDS

Singapore has benefited from the globalization of the world economy and experienced 3 decades of extraordinary economic growth, which has brought prosperity and confidence to the people of this small city-state. Able to withstand economic turmoil such as the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the surge in world oil prices at the beginning of the 21st century, Singapore has proved that its economy has grown on a sustainable and strong basis. Inflation remains under control and the Singaporean exchange rate is stable. The quality of life has improved steadily and society has benefited from rising prosperity. The government's policies aim to maintain political and social stability by promoting economic growth from capital-and skill-intensive technologies, although it has been criticized for restricting freedom of press and associations, and for its interventionist economic policies.

In the long term, Singapore needs to maintain its international edge against growing competition from neighboring countries. It is also exposed to economic, political, and environmental developments in the neighboring countries of Indonesia and Malaysia. Continuous political turmoil and social unrest in Indonesia might threaten Singapore by causing an influx of refugees and regional instability. Recent forest fires in the Indonesian part of Borneo brought air pollution to dangerous levels, affecting tourism and the health of the Singapore population.

DEPENDENCIES

Singapore has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The East Asian Miracle: Economic Growth and Public Policy. Washington, DC: The World Bank, 1993.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Singapore. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Report: Singapore. London: Economist Intelligent Unit, January 2001.

Eliot, Joshua, and Jane Bickersteth. Singapore Handbook. NTCPublishing Group, 1999.

Kuan Yew, Lee. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.

Monetary Authority of Singapore. <http://www.mas.gov.sg>.Accessed October 2001.

Peebles, Gavin, and Peter Wilson. The Singapore Economy. NewYork: Edward Elgar, 1996.

Singapore Exchange. <http://www.ses.com.sg>. AccessedOctober 2001.

Singapore Government Web Site. <http://www.gov.sg>. AccessedOctober 2001.

Singapore: Selected Issues. IMF Staff Country Report No. 00/83. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, July 2000.

Singapore: Your Compelling Global Hub for Business and Investment. <http://www.sedb.com/edbcorp/index.jsp>. Accessed October 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2001. <http:// www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed September 2001.

Rafis Abazov

CAPITAL:

Singapore.

MONETARY UNIT:

Singapore dollar (S$). One dollar equals 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents, and 1 dollar. There are notes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 10,000 dollars.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Machinery and equipment (including electronics), chemicals, and mineral fuels.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Machinery and equipment, mineral fuel, chemicals, and foodstuffs.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$109.8 billion (2000 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$137 billion (2000 est.). Imports: US$127 billion (2000 est.).

views updated

Singapore

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
DEFENSE
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-SINGAPORE RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the October 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Republic of Singapore

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 704 sq. km. (271 sq. mi.).

Cities: Capital—Singapore (country is a city-state).

Terrain: Lowland.

Climate: Tropical.

People

Population: (mid-2007) 4.68 million (including permanent residents, foreign workers).

Annual growth rate: (mid-2007) 4.4% (total); 1.8% (residents).

Ethnic groups: Chinese 75.2%, Malays 13.6%, Indians 8.8%.

Religions: Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu.

Languages: English, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects, Malay, Tamil.

Education: Years compulsory—six. Attendance—94%. Literacy—95.4%.

Health: (2006) Infant mortality rate—2.6/1,000. Life expectancy-78.0 yrs. male, 81.8 yrs. female.

Work force: (mid-2007, 2.61 million) Manufacturing—20.7%; services— 68.4%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary republic.

Constitution: June 3, 1959 (amended 1965 and 1991).

Independence: August 9, 1965.

Government branches: Executive—president (chief of state, 6-yr. term); prime minister (head of government). Legislative—unicameral 84-member Parliament (maximum 5-yr. term). Judicial—High Court, Court of Appeal, subordinate courts.

Political parties: People's Action Party (PAP), Workers' Party (WP), Singapore's Peoples Party (SPP), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), Singapore Democratic Alliance.

Suffrage: Universal and compulsory at 21.

Budget: (FY 2007) $21.6 billion.

Defense: (FY 2007) 5.0% of gross domestic product.

National holidays: August 9.

Economy

GDP: (2006 real, 2000 prices) $137.5 billion.

Annual real growth rate: 8.8% (2004), 6.6% (2005), 7.9% (2006).

Per capita GNP: (2006—purchasing power parity) $29,454.

Natural resources: None.

Agriculture: (under 0.5% of GDP) Products—poultry, orchids, vegetables, fruits, ornamental fish.

Manufacturing: (26.9% of real GDP) Types—electronic and electrical products and components, petroleum products, machinery and metal products, chemical and pharmaceutical products, transport equipment (mainly aircraft repairs/maintenance, shipbuilding/repair and oil rigs), food and beverages, printing and publishing, textiles and garments, plastic products/modules, instrumentation equipment.

Trade: (2006) Exports—$271 billion: petroleum products, food/beverages, chemicals, textile/garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, transport equipment. Major markets—Malaysia (13.1%), EU-15 (10.4%), Hong Kong (10%), United States (9.9%), China (9.7%), and Japan (5.5%). Imports—$238.5 billion: aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, radio and television receivers/parts, motor vehicles, chemicals, food/beverages, iron/steel, textile yarns/fabrics. Major suppliers—Malaysia (13.1%), United States (12.5%), China (11.4%), EU-15 (10.9%), and Japan (8.3%).

PEOPLE

Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The annual growth rate for 2007 (midyear) was 4.4%, including resident foreigners. Singapore has a varied linguistic, cultural, and religious heritage. Malay is the national language, but Chinese, English, and Tamil also are official languages. English is the language of administration and also is widely used in the professions, businesses, and schools.

The government has mandated that English be the primary language used at all levels of the school systems, and it aims to provide at least 10 years of education for every child. In 2006, primary and secondary school students totaled about 530,423, or 11.8% of the entire population. In 2006, enrollment at the universities was 362,918 (first degree full-time/part-time) and 67,667 at the polytechnics. The Institute of Technical Education for basic technical and commerce skills has almost 23,636 students. The country's literacy rate is 95.4%.

Singapore generally allows religious freedom, although religious groups are subject to government scrutiny, and some religious sects are restricted or banned. Almost all Malays are Muslim; other Singaporeans are Taoists, Buddhists, Confucianists, Christians, Hindus, or Sikhs.

HISTORY

Although Singapore's history dates from the 11th century, the island was little known to the West until the 19th century, when in 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived as an agent of the British East India Company. In 1824, the British purchased Singapore Island, and by 1825, the city of Singapore had become a major port, with trade exceeding that of Malaya's Malacca and Penang combined. In 1826, Singapore, Penang, and Malacca were combined as the Straits Settlements to form an outlying residency of the British East India Company; in 1867, the Straits Settlements were made a British Crown Colony, an arrangement that continued until 1946.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of steamships launched an era of prosperity for Singapore as transit trade expanded throughout Southeast Asia. In the 20th century, the automobile industry's demand for rubber from Southeast Asia and the packaging industry's need for tin helped make Singapore one of the world's major ports. In 1921, the British constructed a naval base, which was soon supplemented by an air base. But the Japanese captured the island in February 1942, and it remained under their control until September 1945, when the British returned.

In 1946, the Straits Settlements was dissolved; Penang and Malacca became part of the Malayan Union, and Singapore became a separate British Crown Colony. In 1959, Singapore became self-governing, and, in 1963, it joined the newly independent Federation of Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak—the latter two former British Borneo territories—to form Malaysia.

Indonesia adopted a policy of “confrontation” against the new federation, charging that it was a “British colonial creation,”and severed trade with Malaysia. The move particularly affected Singapore, since Indonesia had been the island's second-largest trading partner. The political dispute was resolved in 1966, and Indonesia resumed trade with Singapore.

After a period of friction between Singapore and the central government in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore separated from Malaysia on August 9, 1965, and became an independent republic.

GOVERNMENT

According to the constitution, as amended in 1965, Singapore is a republic with a parliamentary system of government. Political authority rests with the prime minister and the cabinet. The prime minister is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties having the majority of seats in Parliament. The president, who is chief of state, previously exercised only ceremonial duties. As a result of 1991 constitutional changes, the president is now elected and exercises expanded powers over legislative appointments, government budgetary affairs, and internal security matters.

The unicameral Parliament currently consists of 84 members elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage, and up to nine “nominated” members of Parliament. A constitutional provision assures at least three opposition members, even if fewer than three actually are elected. A “nonconstitu-ency” seat held by the opposition under this provision since 1997 was again filled after the last election held on May 6, 2006. In the May 2006 general election, the governing People's Action Party (PAP) won 82 of the 84 seats. The president appoints nominated members of Parliament from among nominations by a special select committee. Nominated members of Parliament (NMP's) enjoy the same privileges as members of Parliament but cannot vote on constitutional matters or expenditures of funds. The maximum term of anyone in Parliament is 5 years. NMP's serve for two-and-a-half-year terms. Voting has been compulsory since 1959.

Judicial power is vested in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The High Court exercises original criminal and civil jurisdiction in serious cases as well as appellate jurisdiction from subordinate courts. Its chief justice, senior judge, and twelve judges are appointed by the president. Appeals from the High Court are heard by the Court of Appeal. The right of appeal to the Privy Council in London was abolished effective April 1994.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Pres.: Sellapan Rama NATHAN

Prime Min.: LEE Hsien Loong

Dep. Prime Min. (Foreign Affairs), Prime Minister's Office: Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR

Dep. Prime Min., Prime Minister's Office: WONG Kan Seng

Senior Min., Prime Minister's Office: GOH Chok Ton

Min. Mentor, Prime Minister's Office: LEE Kuan Yew

Coordinating Min. for National Security,Prime Minister's Office: Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR

Min. for Community Development, Youth,& Sports: Vivian BALAKRISHNAN

Min. for Defense: TEO Chee Hean,RAdm. (Ret.)

Min. for Education: THARMAN Shanmugaratnam

Min. for the Environment & Water Resources: YAACOB Ibrahim

Min. for Finance: THARMAN Shanmugaratnam

Min. for Foreign Affairs: George Yong-Boon YEO

Min. for Health: KHAW Boon Wan

Min. for Home Affairs: WONG Kan Seng

Min. for Information, Communications, & the Arts: LEE Boon Yang

Min. for Law: Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR

Min. for Manpower: NG Eng Hen

Min. in Charge of Muslim Affairs: YAACOB Ibrahi

Min. for National Development: MAH Bow Tan

Min. for Trade & Industry: LIM Hng Kiang

Min. for Transport: Raymond LIM Siang Keat

Min., Prime Minister's Office: LIM Swee Say

Min., Prime Minister's Office: LIM Boon Heng

Chmn., Monetary Authority of Singapore: GOH Chok Tong

Ambassador to the US: CHAN Heng Chee

Permanent Representative to the UN, NewYork: Vanu Gopala MENON

Singapore maintains an embassy in the United States at 3501 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202/537-3100, fax 202/ 537-0876).

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The ruling political party in Singapore, reelected continuously since 1959, is the People's Action Party (PAP), now headed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Lee succeeded Goh Chok Tong in 2004. Goh now serves as ‘senior minister’ and Lee Kuan Yew holds the title ‘Minister Mentor.'

The PAP has held the overwhelming majority of seats in Parliament since 1966, when the opposition Barisan Sosialis Party (Socialist Front), a leftwing group that split off from the PAP in 1961, resigned from Parliament, leaving the PAP as the sole representative party. In the general elections of 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980, the PAP won all of the seats in an expanding Parliament. Workers' Party Secretary General J.B. Jeyaretnam became the first opposition party member of Parliament in 15 years when he won a 1981 by-election. Opposition parties gained small numbers of seats in the general elections of 1984 (2 seats out of a total of 79), 1988 (1 seat of 81), 1991 (4 seats of 81), 1997 (2 seats of 83), 2001 (2 seats of 84) and 2006 (2 seats of 84). Meanwhile, the PAP's share of the popular vote in contested seats decreased from 75% in 2001 to 66.6% in 2006. In the 2006 election, opposition parties together contested 47 of the 84 seats, the largest number in 18 years.

ECONOMY

Singapore' strategic location on major sea lanes and its industrious population have given the country an economic importance in Southeast Asia disproportionate to its small size. Upon independence in 1965, Singapore was faced with a lack of physical resources and a small domestic market. In response, the Singapore Government adopted a pro-business, pro-foreign investment, export-oriented economic policy framework, combined with state-directed investments in strategic government-owned corporations. Singapore's economic strategy proved a success, producing real growth that averaged 8.0% from 1960 to 1999. The economy picked up after the 1997 regional financial crisis, with a growth rate of 9.4% for 2000, but then fell back in tandem with the economic slowdown in the United States, Japan, and the European Union (EU), as well as the worldwide electronics slump, so that GDP shrank by 2.4% in 2001.

The economy rebounded in 2002, expanding 4.0%; but it posted a slower 2.9% growth in 2003, due to the effect of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the first half of the year. From 2004 to 2006, the economy expanded by 8.8%, 6.6%, and 7.9%, respectively, driven by the growth in world demand for electronics, pharmaceuticals, other manufactured goods and financial services, and in the economies of its major trading partners—the United States, EU, Japan, and China, as well as expanding emerging markets such as India. Singapore's largely corruption-free government, skilled work force, and advanced and efficient infrastructure have attracted investments from more than 7,000 multinational corporations from the United States, Japan, and Europe. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. Multinational corporations account for more than two-thirds of manufacturing output and direct export sales, although certain services sectors remain dominated by government-linked companies.

Manufacturing and services are the twin engines of the Singapore economy and accounted for 26.9% and 63.2%, respectively, of Singapore's gross domestic product in 2006. The electronics and chemicals industries lead Singapore's manufacturing sector, accounting for 32.4% and 32.5%, respectively, of Singapore's manufacturing output in 2006. To inject new life to the tourism sector, which faced a 20% fall in receipts between 1993-2000, and a declining share of East Asia Pacific tourism receipts from 8.2% to 5.8%, the government in April 2005 approved the development of two casinos that should result in investments of more than US$5 billion. To maintain its competitive position despite rising wages, the government seeks to promote higher value-added activities in the manufacturing and services sectors. It also has opened, or is in the process of opening, the financial services, telecommunications, and power generation and retailing sectors to foreign service providers and greater competition. The government also has pursued cost-cutting measures, including tax cuts and wage and rent reductions, to lower the cost of doing business in Singapore. The government is actively negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with 14 key trading partners and has already concluded

11 FTAs, including one with the United States that came into force January 1, 2004.

Trade, Investment, and Aid

Singapore's total trade in 2006 amounted to $510 billion, an increase of 13.2% from 2005. In 2006, Singapore's imports totaled $239 billion, and exports totaled $271 billion. Malaysia was Singapore's main import source, as well as its largest export market, absorbing 13.1% of Singapore's exports, followed by the EU-15 (10.4% of exports), Hong Kong (10%), and the United States (9.9%). Singapore was the 15th-largest trading partner of the United States. Re-exports accounted for 47.3% of Singapore's total sales to other countries in 2006. Singapore's principal exports are petroleum products, food and beverages, chemicals, textile and garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, and transport equipment. Singapore's main imports are aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, consumer electronics, microelectronics manufacturing equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, food and beverages, iron and steel, and textile yarns and fabrics.

Singapore continues to attract investment funds on a large scale despite its relatively high-cost operating environment. The United States leads in foreign investment, accounting for 25% of new commitments to the manufacturing sector in 2006. As of 2006, the stock of investment by U.S. companies in the manufacturing and services sectors in Singapore reached about $60.4 billion (total assets). The bulk of U.S. investment is in electronics manufacturing, oil refining and storage, and the chemical industry. About 1,500 U.S. firms operate in Singapore. The government also has encouraged firms to invest outside Singapore, with the country's total direct investments abroad reaching $111 billion by the end of 2005. China was the top destination, accounting for 13.8% of total overseas investments, followed by Malaysia (9%), Indonesia (8%), Hong Kong (7%), and the United States (5%). The United States provides no bilateral aid to Singapore.

Labor

As of mid-2007, Singapore had a total labor force of about 2.61 million. The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), the sole trade union federation, comprises almost 99% of total organized labor. Extensive legislation covers general labor and trade union matters. The Industrial Arbitration Court handles labor-management disputes that cannot be resolved informally through the Ministry of Labor. The Singapore Government has stressed the importance of cooperation between unions, management, and government (“tripartism”), as well as the early resolution of disputes. There has been only one strike in the past 15 years.

Singapore has enjoyed virtually full employment for long periods of time. Amid slower economic growth in 2003, unemployment rose to 4.6%. As of end-June 2007, the unemployment rate dropped to 2.3%. Much of the unemployment is structural, as low-skill manufacturing operations move overseas. Since 1990, the number of foreign workers in Singapore has increased rapidly to cope with labor shortages. Foreign workers comprise 30% of the labor force; the great majority of these are unskilled workers.

Transportation and Communications

Situated at the crossroads of international shipping and air routes, Singapore is a center for transportation and communication in Southeast Asia. Singapore's Changi International Airport is a regional aviation hub served by 83 airlines. A third terminal is slated to open in 2008, and a dedicated low-cost terminal for budget airlines was completed in 2006. The Port of Singapore is among the world's busiest and ranks second globally as a center for containerized transshipment traffic, after Hong Kong. The country also is linked by road and rail to Malaysia and Thailand.

Telecommunications and Internet facilities are state-of-the-art, providing high-quality communications with the rest of the world. Radio and television stations are all ultimately government-owned or government-linked. The print media is dominated by a company with close ties to the government. Daily newspapers are published in English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.

DEFENSE

Singapore relies primarily on its own defense forces, which are continuously being modernized. The defense budget accounts for approximately 32% of government operating expenditures (or 5% of GDP). A career military force of 53,300 is supplemented by 300,000 persons, either on active National Service, which is compulsory for able-bodied young men, or on Reserve. The Singapore Armed Forces engage in joint training with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and India. Singapore also conducts military training on Taiwan.

Singapore is a member of the Five-Power Defense Arrangement together with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia. Intended to replace the former defense role of the British in the Singapore-Malaysia area, the arrangement obligates members to consult in the event of external threat and provides for stationing Commonwealth forces in Singapore. Singapore has consistently supported a strong U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1990, the United States and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which allows United States access to Singapore facilities at Paya Lebar Airbase and the Sembawang wharves. Under the MOU, a U.S. Navy logistics unit was established in Singapore in 1992; U.S. fighter aircraft deploy periodically to Singapore for exercises, and a number of U.S. military vessels visit Singapore. The MOU was amended in 1999 to permit U.S. naval vessels to berth at the Changi Naval Base, which was completed in early 2001. In July 2005, the United States and Singapore signed a Strategic Framework Agreement to expand cooperation in defense and security.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Singapore is nonaligned. It is a member of the United Nations—it occupied a rotational seat on the Security Council 2001-02—and several of its specialized and related agencies, and also of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth. Singapore has participated in UN peacekeeping/ observer missions in Kuwait, Angola, Namibia, Cambodia, and East Timor. It provided a training unit to assist in training Iraqi police, and Singapore has deployed naval ships, air force transport planes, and refueling tankers to the Persian Gulf to support the multinational coalition effort to bring stability and security to Iraq. Singapore supports the concept of Southeast Asian regionalism and plays an active role in ASEAN and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

U.S.-SINGAPORE RELATIONS

The United States has maintained formal diplomatic relations with Singapore since that country became independent in 1965. Singapore's efforts to maintain economic growth and political stability and its support for regional cooperation harmonize with U.S. policy in the region and form a solid basis for amicable relations between the two countries. The United States and Singapore signed a bilateral free trade agreement on May 6, 2003; the agreement entered into force on January 1, 2004. The growth of U.S. investment in Singapore and the large number of Americans living there enhance opportunities for contact between Singapore and the United States. Many Singaporeans visit and study in the United States. Singapore is a Visa Waiver Program country.

The U.S. Government sponsors visitors from Singapore each year under the International Visitor Program. The U.S. Government provides Fulbright awards to enable selected American professors to teach or conduct research at the National University of Singapore and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. It awards scholarships to outstanding Singaporean students for graduate studies at American universities and to American students to study in Singapore. The U.S. Government also sponsors occasional cultural presentations in Singapore. The East-West Center and private American organizations, such as the Asia and Ford Foundations, also sponsor exchanges involving Singaporeans.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

SINGAPORE (E) 27 Napier Road, SingaPOre 258508, APO/FPO FPO AP 96507, [65] 6476-9100, Fax [65] 6476-9340, Workweek: 8:30 am-5:15 p.m. (Mondays to Fridays), Website: http://singaPOre.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Elizabeth Babroski
AMB OMS:Kimberly A. Keck
DHS/ICE:Matthew H. King
FCS:Daniel L. Thompson
FM:Randy D. Calvert
MGT:Karen C. Stanton
POL ECO:Howard V. Reed
AMB:Patricia L. Herbold
CON:Julie L. Kavanagh
DCM:Daniel L. Shields III
PAO:Valerie C. Fowler
GSO:Vacant
RSO:David C. Hartinger
AFSA:John R. Groch
AGR:David W. Cottrell
CLO:Lynn Finchum
DAO:CAPT Alan Oshirak
DEA:Russell Holske
EEO:Mari J. Womack
FAA:Vacant
FMO:Tor R. Petersen
ICASS:Chair Valerie C. Fowler
IMO:Mari J. Womack
IPO:Jerry A. Lopez
ISO:Nathan J. Harn
ISSO:Vacant
LEGATT:Julio Quinones Jr..
State ICASS:Valerie C. Fowler

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

September 20, 2007

Country Description: Singapore is a small, stable, highly developed country with an elected parliamentary system of government. Tourist facilities are modern and widely available. Singapore's resident population of over 4.2 million inhabitants is comprised of 77% Chinese, 14% Malay, 8% Indian and 1% others. English is widely spoken. Criminal penalties are strict and law enforcement rigorous.

Entry Requirements: A valid passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if their visit is for business or a social visit and their stay is for 90 days or less. Travelers to the region should note that Singapore and some neighboring countries, do not allow Americans to enter under any circumstances with fewer than six months of validity remaining on their passport. Female U.S. citizens who are pregnant when they apply to enter Singapore for a social visit are no longer required to make prior application through the nearest Singapore overseas mission or to provide documentation from a U.S. embassy concerning the nationality the child will acquire at birth.

Specific information about entry requirements for Singapore may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore at 3501 International Place, NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100. Visit the Embassy of Singapore's web site at http://www.mfa.gov.sg/washington/ for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: In 2001, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda, planned attacks in Singapore against government and private targets associated with the United States, Singapore and other countries. These plans were disrupted and the JI organization in Singapore was dismantled. However, Singapore remains a target of interest for terrorist groups. The Department of State remains concerned because extremist groups in Southeast Asia continue to demonstrate the desire and capability to carry out attacks against locations where Westerners congregate. Terrorist groups do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Americans residing in or traveling to Singapore and neighboring countries should therefore exercise caution, especially in locations where Americans and other Westerners live, work, congregate, shop or visit. U.S. citizens should remain vigilant about their personal security and surroundings.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: Major crimes against tourists in Singapore are uncommon. Petty crimes such as pick pocketing and purse or briefcase snatching occur in tourist areas, hotels and at the airport. Travelers should exercise the same caution that they would in any large city.

Credit cards are widely accepted in Singapore. Visitors should be aware that credit card fraud is on the rise and should practice standard precautions to avoid falling victim of credit card fraud: do not carry multiple credit cards on your person; do not allow credit cards to be removed from your line of sight; avoid giving credit card information over the phone and use only secure internet connections for financial transactions.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Good medical care is widely available in Singapore. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment for health services by credit card or cash and generally do not accept U.S. health insurance. Recipients of health care should be aware that Ministry of Health auditors in certain circumstances may be granted access to patient medical records without the consent of the patient, and, in certain circumstances, physicians may be required to provide information relating to the diagnosis or treatment without the patient's consent.

Despite vigorous mosquito eradication efforts in Singapore, from time to time Singapore experiences a spike in the number of dengue fever cases. Outbreaks tend to be clustered in residential areas, but there have been no reports of clusters in primary tourist areas, such as the Night Safari, the Singapore zoo, or Orchard Road.

Information on dengue fever, vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Singapore is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Singapore has a highly developed and well-maintained road and highway network. Driving is done on the left-hand side of the road. Motorists should be particularly aware of motorcyclists, who often ignore lane markings. Lanes are frequently closed without warning due to construction throughout the city. Public transportation and taxis are abundant, inexpensive, and reliable. Visitors should consider using this form of transportation. The Automobile Association of Singapore provides roadside assistance, and the Land Transport Authority has rescue vehicles on the road at all hours. In addition, closed circuit cameras monitor all major roads. As with all laws in Singapore, those involving traffic rules, vehicle registration, and liability in case of accident are strictly enforced, and failure to follow them may result in criminal penalties.

Singapore has one of the worst road-fatality records among developed countries. In 2006, 2.4 deaths were logged for every 10,000 vehicles in Singapore, compared to 0.8 in Japan, 1.2 in Australia and 1.8 in the United States. For specific information concerning Singaporean driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Singaporean National Tourist Board located at 590 Fifth Ave., Twelfth Floor, New York, NY 10036, tel. 1-212-302-4861 or fax: 1-212-302-4801.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government ofSingapore's Civil Aviation Authorit-yas being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Singapore's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Singapore customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import and export of items such as weapons, illegal drugs, certain religious materials, pornographic material, videotapes, CDs, DVDs, and software (for censorship or pirating reasons). Singapore customs authorities' definition of “weapon” is very broad, and, in addition to firearms, includes many items which are not necessarily seen as weapons in the United States, such as dive knives, kitchen knives, handcuffs, and expended shell casings. Carrying any of these items without permission may result in your immediate arrest. All baggage is x-rayed at every port of entry, so placing such items in checked baggage will also be inspected for regulated items.

It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Singapore in Washington, D.C. at 3501 International Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100, http://www.mfa.gov.sg/washington/ for specific information regarding customs requirements. You may also visit Singapore Customs' web site, http://www.customs.gov.sg. Singapore customs officials encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA carnet headquarters located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call 1-212-354-4480, or send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit http://www.uscib.org/ for details.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/ or fines. A current list of those countries with serious problems in this regard can be found at http://www.ustr.gov.

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are plentiful in Singapore, and they are the best method of obtaining cash. Bank transfers generally take weeks, and surcharges are steep. Transfers from commercial services such as American Express and Western Union are generally efficient. Americans may be asked by police or employers to surrender their passports in lieu of surety (guaranteed) bonds. Americans should carefully consider whether they wish to surrender their passport rather than seek some other type of surety, particularly if the passport is requested by someone who is not a government official (e.g., an employer).

Note that Singapore does not recognize dual nationality beyond the age of 21, and it strictly enforces universal national service (NS) for all male citizens and permanent residents. Male U.S. citizens who automatically acquired Singaporean citizenship and continue to reside in Singapore are liable for Singapore national service once they reach the age of 18. Travel abroad of Singaporean males may require Singapore Government approval as they approach national service age and may be restricted when they reach sixteen-and-a-half years of age. Under Singaporean law, an individual who automatically acquires Singaporean citizenship at birth retains that status even after acquiring the citizenship of another country, including U.S. citizenship. Males may renounce Singaporean citizenship only after having completed at least two years of national service. U.S. citizenship are subject to this law. Dual nationals, Singapore Permanent Residents, and their parents should contact the Ministry of Defense in Singapore to determine if there will be a national service obligation.

National-service-liable males who migrated from Singapore before age 11 and have not enjoyed significant socio-economic benefits of citizenship (e.g., applied for a Singapore identity card or studied in Singapore beyond the age of 11) are allowed to renounce their Singapore citizenship if they do not wish to fulfill their NS obligations. They will be required to register for national service with Central Manpower Base and apply for deferment from full-time NS until the age of 21, pending the renunciation of their Singapore citizenship. They can continue to make short social visits to Singapore and will not be required to serve NS if they renounced their citizenship at age 21.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe in Singapore than for similar offenses in the United States, and persons violating Singapore laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

There are strict penalties for possession and use of drugs as well as for trafficking in illegal drugs. Trafficking charges may be brought based on the quantity of illegal drugs in a subject's possession, regardless of whether there is any proven or demonstrated intent to distribute the drugs. Singapore has a mandatory death penalty for many narcotics offenses. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Singapore police have the authority to compel both residents and non-residents to submit to random drug analysis, and do not distinguish between drugs consumed before or after entering Singapore in applying local laws.

Visitors should be aware of Singapore's strict laws and penalties for a variety of actions that might not be illegal or might be considered minor offenses in the United States. These include jaywalking, littering, and spitting. Singapore has a mandatory caning sentence for vandalism offenses and caning may also be imposed for immigration violations and other offenses. Commercial disputes that may be handled as civil suits in the United States can escalate to criminal cases in Singapore, and result in heavy fines and prison sentences. There are no jury trials in Singapore, judges hear cases and decide sentencing. The Government of Singapore does not provide legal assistance except in capital cases; legal assistance may be available in some other cases through the Law Society.

There are strict penalties for those who possess or carry arms, or who commit crimes with arms. Singaporean authorities define “arm” as any firearm, air-gun, air-pistol, automatic gun, automatic pistol and any other kind of gun or pistol from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged or from which noxious liquid, flame or fumes can be emitted, and any component part thereof. This definition also includes any bomb or grenade and any component part thereof. The unlawful possession of any arm or ammunition could result in imprisonment and caning. Any person convicted of committing a crime with an arm could receive punishment which could result in the maximum penalty of imprisonment for life and caning. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. In Singapore, local law prohibits causing or encouraging prostitution of, or engaging in sexual relations with, a female below the age of 16. An indecent assault against anyone, male or female, regardless of age, is also prohibited. Those convicted of causing or encouraging the prostitution of, or the commission of unlawful sexual relations with, or the indecent assault on, a female below the age of 16 years could be sentenced to imprisonment of up to 3 years and a fine of $2,000 or both. Singapore enforces strict laws pertaining to the propriety of behavior between people, and the modesty of individuals. The Singaporean law “Outrage of Modesty” is defined as an assault, or use of criminal force on any person, intended to, or knowing it to be likely to, outrage the modesty of that person. Penalties may include imprisonment for up to 2 years, a fine, caning, or a combination thereof. Men are sometimes accused of inappropriately touching other people, often women, resulting in their prosecution and punishment under this Singaporean law.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Singapore are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site and obtain updated information on travel and security within Singapore. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at 27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508, tel. [65] 6476-9100, fax [65] 6476-9340; web site, http://singapore.usembassy.gov. In case of emergencies after working hours, the duty officer at the Embassy may be contacted by calling tel. [65] 6476-9100.

International Adoption

February 2007

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Adoptions Of Non-Singaporean Children: The U.S. Embassy in Singapore is aware of cases in which American families have concluded adoptions in Singapore involving children of other nationalities. It is critical that prospective adoptive parents understand that the laws of the child's country of birth may remain relevant, even if the child has departed that country and is now residing in Singapore. It is doubly important, therefore, that American prospective adoptive parents resident in Singapore and considering adopting a child born outside Singapore first consult with the U.S. Embassy prior to proceeding.

Patterns of Immigration: The U.S.Embassy in Singapore has not processed an adoption case involving a Singapore-born child and an American citizen adoptive parent in at least the past five years. This reflects the fact that, for social and cultural reasons, orphaned Singaporean children are usually taken in by family members or adopted by Singaporeans.

In addition, Singaporean law gives preference to prospective adoptive parents who are citizens of Singapore, and children available for adoption by foreigners may be more likely to have physical or mental disabilities.

Adoption Authority: The government office with overall responsibility for adoptions in Singapore is the

Ministry of Community
Development, Youth and Sports
Family Development Division
Telephone: 6355-6388
Fax: 6258-4823
Email:[email protected]

Mailing Address:
Adoption Services
510 Thomson Road
13th Storey SLF Building
Singapore 298135
Web sites: www.mcys.gov.sg or
www.familytown.gov.sg

Additional legal information regarding adoptions can be found at: www.familycourtofsingapore.gov.sg

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Under Singaporean law, prospective adoptive parents must be residents of Singapore and at least 25 years old. They must also be at least 21 years older than the child whom they plan to adopt.

These age restrictions may be waived in certain circumstances, including if there is a blood relationship between the child and the prospective parent(s).

Married couples must adopt jointly unless the non-adopting spouse cannot be found, is unable to give consent, or is separated from the adopting spouse and the separation is likely to become permanent. Single men may not adopt female children except in rare cases as determined by the court.

Residency Requirements: Singapore law requires an applicant to have a “settled abode” in Singapore. Applicants must therefore show they have a “home” in Singapore and have legal immigration status (e.g., employment pass, permanent residency, etc.) that would allow them to have some basis for residency.

Time Frame: In a case with no complications (e.g., no documents need to checked, home studies have been completed, etc.) adoptions in Singapore can generally be finalized within 4–6 months. After the child has been legally adopted in Singapore, processing time for a U.S. immigrant visa will take on average another 1–2 months for an uncomplicated case.

Adoption Fees: Adopting a child in Singapore is a complex legal process requiring several court appearances. The Government of Singapore recommends the use of a lawyer, and prospective adoptive parents would have to pay for the lawyer costs., which vary by firm.

Although the prospective adoptive parents will not pay any fees directly to the court, the lawyer' fee will include court costs In addition, adoptive parents will have to pay approximately $900 for a home study report performed by an agency licensed by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

Singaporean society is virtually corruption-free and “additional” or “hidden” fees are not likely to be encountered in the adoption process. Furthermore, it is illegal for a person giving up a child for adoption to receive or ask for monetary payment in exchange for the child.

It is also illegal for the petitioner (applicant) to make any monetary payment for adopting a child, unless approved by the court.

Adoption Procedures: The Singaporean adoption process consists of five basic steps, outlined in detail below, including court appearances at which the applicants and/or the applicants' attorneys will need to appear. As Singapore requires adoptive parents to be residents of Singapore, applicants are presumed to be in the country and available to file applications and appear as required by Singaporean authorities. In brief, prospective adoptive parents petition the Family Court for adoption of the child. This can be done through an attorney or in person. The Family Court will then appoint the Director of Social Welfare, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) as the child's Guardian ad litem (temporary legal guardian). MCYS then conducts the necessary investigations and prepares an affidavit and investigation report. Finally, the Family Court grants the Adoption Order and a new birth certificate is issued for the child. Foreigners wishing to adopt a child in Singapore must complete a Home Study Report (HSR) before proceeding with immigration and legal procedures for adoption.

The HSR is an assessment of a family's readiness to care for an adopted child, bearing in mind the child's best interests and the appropriateness of the prospective home. The Home Study Report is also designed to help prospective parents prepare for the adoption process and subsequent raising of an adopted child. The HSR must be completed by an agency accredited by MCYS, and takes approximately five weeks to be completed. The process typically includes a series of home visits and interviews with relevant family members and friends. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Documentary Requirements:

The petitioners (the persons making the application) are required to stamp and file the following documents at the Family Court Registry at the outset of the process:

  • 2 copies of the adoption petition;
  • the original consent of the birth parents / guardian (together with the original translation if the consent is not in the English language);
  • the original consent of the parent or guardian of the birth parent of the infant if the birth parent is a minor (together with the original translation if the consent is not in the English language);
  • the original birth certificate of the infant to be adopted (together with the original translation if the birth certificate is not in the English language);
  • an affidavit exhibiting the endorsement of the child's Dependants' Pass if the child is not a Singapore citizen or permanent resident;
  • certified true copies of the petitioners' work permits / employment passes / dependants' passes if the petitioners are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents;
  • the original marriage certificate of the petitioners (together with the original translation if the birth certificate is not in the English language);
  • 2 copies of the Application for Dispensation of Consent and supporting affidavit to dispense with the consent of the birth parents and/or service of documents on the birth parents, if such consent cannot be obtained; and
  • A copy of the death certificate of the birth parent who had passed away (if applicable).

Singaporean Embassy
3501 International Place, NW,
Washington DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 537-3100
Fax: (202) 537-0876
E-mail: [email protected]
Website:
http://www.mfa.gov.sg/washington

Singapore also has consulates in New York and San Francisco. There are also Honorary Consulates-General in Chicago, Houston, and Miami.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the United States
27 Napier Road
Singapore 258508
PHONE: 011-65-6476-9100
FAX: 011-65-6476-9232
EMAIL:[email protected]
(attn: IV Unit)

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Singapore may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Singapore at the address, phone and fax numbers provided earlier in this flyer. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

International Parental Child Abduction

February 2008

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

General Information: Singapore is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Singapore and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. American citizens who travel to Singapore place themselves under the jurisdiction of local courts. American citizens planning a trip to Singapore with dual-national children should bear this in mind.

Custody Disputes: In Singapore, parents who are legally married share the custody of their children. If they are not married, by law the custody is granted to the mother unless there are known facts of inappropriate behavior, mental or social problems.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments: Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Singapore, unless a Singaporean court formally recognizes them.

Visitation Rights: In cases where legal custody has been granted and the judgment has been rendered, the non-custodial parent can petition the court for visitation rights within the court-ordered decision or come to a verbal agreement with the custodial parent.

Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is not recognized under Singaporean law beyond the age of 21.

Travel Restrictions: No exit visas are required to leave Singapore.

Criminal Remedies: For information on possible criminal remedies, please contact your local law enforcement authorities or the nearest office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Information is also available on the Internet at the web site of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) at http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org.

Persons who wish to pursue a child custody claim in a Singaporean court should retain an attorney in Singapore. The American Embassy in Singapore maintains a list of attorneys willing to represent American clients.

A copy of this list may be obtained by requesting one from the Embassy or at http://singapore.usembassy.gov/consular/amcit/attorneys.shtml.

U.S. Embassy in Singapore
Consular Section
27 Napier Road
Singapore 258508
Telephone: 011-65-6476-9100
Fax: 011-65-6476-9232
Web site: http://www.usembassysingapore.org.sg

Embassy of Singapore
3501 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 537-3100

For further information on international parental child abduction, contact the Office of Children' Issues, U.S. Department of State at 1-888-407-4747 or visit its web site on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/family. You may also direct inquiries to: Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-4811; Phone: (202) 736-9090; Fax: (202) 312-9743.

views updated

Singapore

Compiled from the October 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Singapore

PROFILE

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

DEFENSE

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-SINGAPORE RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 685 sq. km. (264 sq. mi.).

Cities: Capital—Singapore (country is a city-state).

Terrain: Lowland.

Climate: Tropical.

People

Population: (2005) 4.35 million (including permanent residents, foreign workers).

Annual growth rate: 2.6% (total); 1.9% (residents).

Ethnic groups: Chinese 77%, Malays 14%, Indians 8%.

Religions: Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu.

Languages: English, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects, Malay, Tamil.

Education: Years compulsory—six. Attendance—94%. Literacy—94.6%.

Health: (2005) Infant mortality rate—2.1/1,000. Life expectancy—78 yrs. male, 82 yrs. female.

Work force: (2005, 2.37 million) Manufacturing—21%; services—69%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary republic.

Constitution: June 3, 1959 (amended 1965 and 1991).

Independence: August 9, 1965.

Government branches: Executive—president (chief of state, 6-yr. term); prime minister (head of government). Legislative—unicameral 84-member Parliament (maximum 5-yr. term). Judicial—High Court, Court of Appeal, subordinate courts.

Political parties: People’s Action Party (PAP), Workers’ Party (WP), Singapore’s Peoples Party (SPP), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), Singapore Democratic Alliance.

Suffrage: Universal and compulsory at 21.

Budget: (FY 2006 est.) $18.8 billion.

Defense: (FY 2006 est.) 5.2% of gross domestic product.

National holiday: August 9.

Economy

GDP: (2005 real, 2000 prices) $117 billion.

Annual real growth rate: 2.9% (2003), 8.7% (2004), 6.4% (2005).

Per capita GNP: (2005—purchasing power parity) $26,600.

Natural resources: None.

Agriculture: (under 0.5% of GDP) Products—poultry, orchids, vegetables, fruits, ornamental fish.

Manufacturing: (26.8% of real GDP) Types—electronic and electrical products and components, petroleum products, machinery and metal products, chemical and pharmaceutical products, transport equipment (mainly aircraft repairs/maintenance, shipbuilding and repair), food and beverages, printing and publishing, textiles and garments, plastic products/modules, instrumentation equipment.

Trade: (2005) Exports—$230 billion: petroleum products, food/beverages, chemicals, textile/garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, transport equipment. Major markets—Malaysia (13.2%), U.S. (10.2%), EU (12%), Hong Kong (9.4%), Japan (5.5%), and China (8.6%). Imports—$200 billion: aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, radio and television receivers/parts, motor vehicles, chemicals, food/beverages, iron/steel, textile yarns/fabrics. Major suppliers—Malaysia (13.7%), U.S. (11.6%), Japan (9.6%), EU (11.6%), and China (10.3%).

PEOPLE

Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The annual growth rate for 2004 was 1.3%, including resident foreigners. Singapore has a varied linguistic, cultural, and religious heritage. Malay is the national language, but Chinese, English, and Tamil also are official languages. English is the language of administration and also is widely used in the professions, businesses, and schools.

The government has mandated that English be the primary language used at all levels of the school systems, and it aims to provide at least 10 years of education for every child. In 2005, primary and secondary school students totaled about 532,225, or 12.2% of the entire population. In 2005, enrollment at the universities was 43,663 (first degree fulltime/part-time) and 58,880 at the polytechnics. The Institute of Technical Education for basic technical and commerce skills has almost 21,600 students. The country’s literacy rate is 95.0%.

Singapore generally allows religious freedom, although religious groups are subject to government scrutiny, and some religious sects are restricted or banned. Almost all Malays are Muslim; other Singaporeans are Taoists, Buddhists, Confucianists, Christians, Hindus, or Sikhs.

HISTORY

Although Singapore’s history dates from the 11th century, the island was little known to the West until the 19th century, when in 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived as an agent of the British East India Company. In 1824, the British purchased Singapore Island, and by 1825, the city of Singapore had become a major port, with trade exceeding that of Malaya’s Malacca and Penang combined. In 1826, Singapore, Penang, and Malacca were combined as the Straits Settlements to form an outlying residency of the British East India Company; in 1867, the Straits Settlements were made a British Crown Colony, an arrangement that continued until 1946.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of steamships launched an era of prosperity for Singapore as transit trade expanded throughout Southeast Asia. In the 20th century, the automobile industry’s demand for rubber from Southeast Asia and the packaging industry’s need for tin helped make Singapore one of the world’s major ports. In 1921, the British constructed a naval base, which was soon supplemented by an air base. But the Japanese captured the island in February 1942, and it remained under their control until September 1945, when the British returned.

In 1946, the Straits Settlements was dissolved; Penang and Malacca became part of the Malayan Union, and Singapore became a separate British Crown Colony. In 1959, Singapore became self-governing, and, in 1963, it joined the newly independent Federation of Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak—the latter two former British Borneo territories—to form Malaysia.

Indonesia adopted a policy of “confrontation” against the new federation, charging that it was a “British colonial creation,” and severed trade with Malaysia. The move particularly affected Singapore, since Indonesia had been the island’s second-largest trading partner. The political dispute was resolved in 1966, and Indonesia resumed trade with Singapore.

After a period of friction between Singapore and the central government in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore separated from Malaysia on August 9, 1965, and became an independent republic.

GOVERNMENT

According to the constitution, as amended in 1965, Singapore is a republic with a parliamentary system of government. Political authority rests with the prime minister and the cabinet. The prime minister is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties having the majority of seats in Parliament. The president, who is chief of state, previously exercised only ceremonial duties. As a result of 1991 constitutional changes, the president is now elected and exercises expanded powers over legislative appointments, government budgetary affairs, and internal security matters.

The unicameral Parliament currently consists of 84 members elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage, and up to nine “nominated” members of Parliament. A constitutional provision assures at least three opposition members, even if fewer than three actually are elected. A “nonconstituency” seat held by the opposition under this provision since 1997 was again filled after the last election held on May 6, 2006. In the May 2006 general election, the governing People’s Action Party (PAP) won 82 of the 84 seats. The president appoints nominated members of Parliament from among nominations by a special select committee. Nominated members of Parliament (NMP’s) enjoy the same privileges as members of Parliament but cannot vote on constitutional matters or expenditures of funds. The maximum term of anyone in Parliament is 5 years. NMP’s serve for two and a half year terms. Voting has been compulsory since 1959.

Judicial power is vested in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The High Court exercises original criminal and civil jurisdiction in serious cases as well as appellate jurisdiction from subordinate courts. Its chief justice, senior judge, and twelve judges are appointed by the president. Appeals from the High Court are heard by the Court of Appeal. The right of appeal to the Privy Council in London was abolished effective April 1994.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 7/13/2006

President: Sellapan Rama NATHAN

Prime Minister: LEE Hsien Loong

Dep. Prime Min. (Foreign Affairs), Prime Minister’s Office: Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR

Dep. Prime Min., Prime Minister’s Office:WONG Kan Seng

Senior Min., Prime Minister’s Office: GOH Chok Tong

Min. Mentor, Prime Minister’s Office: LEE Kuan Yew

Coordinating Min. for Security & Defense, Prime Minister’s Office: Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR

Min. for Community Development, Youth, & Sports: Vivian BALAKRISHNAN

Min. for Defense: TEO Chee Hean, RAdm. (Ret.)

Min. for Education: Tharman SHANMUGARATNAM

Min. for the Environment & Water Resources: YAACOB Ibrahim

Min. for Finance: LEE Hsien Loong

Min. for Foreign Affairs: George Yong-Boon YEO

Min. for Health: KHAW Boon Wan

Min. for Home Affairs: WONG Kan Seng

Min. for Information, Communications, & the Arts: LEE Boon Yang

Min. for Law: Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR

Min. for Manpower: NG Eng Hen

Min. in Charge of Muslim Affairs: YAACOB Ibrahim

Min. for National Development: MAH Bow Tan

Min. for Trade & Industry: LIM Hng Kiang

Min. for Transport: Raymond LIM Siang Keat

Min., Prime Minister’s Office: LIM Swee Say

Min., Prime Minister’s Office: LIM Boon Heng

Chmn., Monetary Authority of Singapore: GOH Chok Tong

Ambassador to the US: CHAN Heng Chee

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Vanu Gopala MENON

Singapore maintains an embassy in the United States at 3501 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202/537-3100, fax 202/537-0876).

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The ruling political party in Singapore, reelected continuously since 1959, is the People’s Action Party (PAP), now headed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Lee succeeded Goh Chok Tong on August 12, 2004. Goh now serves as ‘senior minister’ and Lee Kuan Yew holds the title ‘Minister Mentor’, a newly created position.

The PAP has held the overwhelming majority of seats in Parliament since 1966, when the opposition Barisan Sosialis Party (Socialist Front), a left-wing group that split off from the PAP in 1961, resigned from Parliament, leaving the PAP as the sole representative party. In the general elections of 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980, the PAP won all of the seats in an expanding Parliament.

Workers’ Party Secretary General J.B. Jeyaretnam became the first opposition party member of Parliament in 15 years when he won a 1981 by-election. Opposition parties gained small numbers of seats in the general elections of 1984 (2 seats out of a total of 79), 1988 (1 seat of 81), 1991 (4 seats of 81), 1997 (2 seats of 83), 2001 (2 seats of 84) and 2006 (2 seats of 84). Meanwhile, the PAP’s share of the popular vote in contested seats decreased from 75% in 2001 to 66.6% in 2006. In the 2006 election, opposition parties together contested 47 of the 84 seats, the largest number in 18 years.

ECONOMY

Singapore’s strategic location on major sea lanes, and industrious population have given the country an economic importance in Southeast Asia disproportionate to its small size. Upon independence in 1965, Singapore was faced with a lack of physical resources and a small domestic market. In response, the Singapore Government adopted a pro-business, pro-foreign investment, export-oriented economic policy framework, combined with state-directed investments in strategic government-owned corporations. Singapore ‘s economic strategy proved a success, producing real growth that averaged 8.0% from 1960 to 1999. The economy picked up after the 1997 regional financial crisis, with a growth rate of 9.4% for 2000, but then fell back in tandem with the economic slowdown in the United States, Japan, and the European Union (EU), as well as the worldwide electronics slump, so that GDP shrank by 2.4% in 2001. The economy rebounded in 2002, expanding 4.0%; but it posted a slower 2.9% growth in 2003, due to the effect of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the first half of the year. In 2004, the economy expanded by 8.7%, followed by an increase of 6.4% in 2005, driven by the growth in world electronics demand and in the economies of its major trading partners, the U.S., EU, China, and Japan.

Singapore’s largely corruption-free government, skilled work force, and advanced and efficient infrastructure have attracted investments from more than 7,000 multinational corporations from the United States, Japan, and Europe. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. Multinational corporations account for more than two-thirds of manufacturing output and direct export sales, although certain services sectors remain dominated by government-linked companies.

Manufacturing and services are the twin engines of the Singapore economy and accounted for 26.8% and 62.7%, respectively, of Singapore ‘s gross domestic product in 2005. The electronics industry leads Singapore ‘s manufacturing sector, accounting for 38.6% of Singapore ‘s total industrial output, but the government also is prioritizing the development of the chemicals and biomedical/pharmaceutical industries.

To inject new life to the tourism sector, which faced a 20% fall in receipts between 1993-2000 and a declining share of East Asia Pacific tourism receipts from 8.2% to 5.8%, the government in April 2005 approved the development of two casinos that should result in investments of more than US$5 billion.

To maintain its competitive position despite rising wages, the government seeks to promote higher value-added activities in the manufacturing and services sectors. It also has opened, or is in the process of opening, the financial services, telecommunications, and power generation and retailing sectors to foreign service providers and greater competition. The government also has pursued cost-cutting measures, including tax cuts and wage and rent reductions, to lower the cost of doing business in Singapore. The government is actively negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with 16 key trading partners and has already concluded 11 FTAs, including one with the United States that came into force January 1, 2004.

Trade, Investment, and Aid

Singapore’s total trade in 2005 amounted to $430 billion, an increase of 13.8% from 2004. In 2005, Singapore ‘s imports totaled $200 billion, and exports totaled $230 billion. Malaysia was Singapore ‘s main import source, as well as its largest export market, absorbing 13.2% of Singapore ‘s exports, with the United States falling behind to 10.2%, from 12% in 2004.

Singapore was the 16 th largest trading partner of the United States. Reexports accounted for 46% of Singapore ‘s total sales to other countries in 2005. Singapore ‘s principal exports are petroleum products, food and beverages, chemicals, textile and garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, and transport equipment. Singapore ‘s main imports are aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, consumer electronics, microelectronics manufacturing equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, food and beverages, iron and steel, and textile yarns and fabrics.

Singapore continues to attract investment funds on a large scale despite its relatively high-cost operating environment. The United States leads in foreign investment, accounting for 24% of new commitments to the manufacturing sector in 2005.

As of 2005, the stock of investment by U.S. companies in the manufacturing and services sectors in Singapore reached about $48.1 billion (total assets). The bulk of U.S. investment is in electronics manufacturing, oil refining and storage, and the chemical industry. About 1,500 U.S. firms operate in Singapore.

The government also has encouraged firms to invest outside Singapore, with the country’s total direct investments abroad reaching $104 billion by the end of 2004. China was the top destination, accounting for 12% of

total overseas investments, followed by Malaysia (8%), Hong Kong (7%), Indonesia (7%), and the United States (5%). The United States provides no bilateral aid to Singapore.

Labor

In June 2006, Singapore had a total labor force of about 2.4 million. The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), the sole trade union federation, comprises almost 99% of total organized labor. Extensive legislation covers general labor and trade union matters. The Industrial Arbitration Court handles labor-management disputes that cannot be resolved informally through the Ministry of Labor. The Singapore Government has stressed the importance of cooperation between unions, management, and government (“tripartism”), as well as the early resolution of disputes. There has been only one strike in the past 15 years.

Singapore has enjoyed virtually full employment for long periods of time. Amid slower economic growth in 2003, unemployment rose to 4.6%. As of end-June 2006, the rate of unemployment dropped to 2.8%. Much of the unemployment is structural, as low-skill manufacturing operations move overseas. From 1990 to 1997, the number of foreign workers in Singapore increased rapidly to cope with labor shortages. Foreign workers comprise 29% of the labor force; the great majority of these are unskilled workers.

Transportation and Communications

Situated at the crossroads of international shipping and air routes, Singapore is a center for transportation and communication in Southeast Asia. Singapore Changi International Airport is a regional aviation hub served by 68 international airlines. It is being expanded with the construction of a third terminal, as well as a dedicated low-cost terminal for budget airlines, both slated for completion in 2006. The Port of Singapore is among the world’s busiest and ranks second globally as a center for containerized transshipment traffic, after Hong Kong. The country also is linked by road and rail to Malaysia and Thailand.

Telecommunications and Internet facilities are state-of-the-art, providing high-quality communications with the rest of the world. Radio and television stations are all ultimately government-owned or government-linked. The print media is dominated by a company with close ties to the government. Daily newspapers are published in English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.

DEFENSE

Singapore relies primarily on its own defense forces, which are continuously being modernized. The defense budget accounts for approximately 31% of government operating expenditures (or 5% of GDP). A career military force of 53,300 is supplemented by 300,000 persons, either on active National Service, which is compulsory for able-bodied young men, or on Reserve. The Singapore Armed Forces engage in joint training with all the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and India. Singapore also conducts military training on Taiwan.

Singapore is a member of the Five-Power Defense Arrangement together with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia. Intended to replace the former defense role of the British in the Singapore-Malaysia area, the arrangement obligates members to consult in the event of external threat and provides for stationing Commonwealth forces in Singapore.

Singapore has consistently supported a strong U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1990, the United States and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which allows United States access to Singapore facilities at Paya Lebar Airbase and the Sembawang wharves. Under the MOU, a U.S. Navy logistics unit was established in Singapore in 1992; U.S. fighter aircraft deploy periodically to Singapore for exercises, and a number of U.S. military vessels visit Singapore. The MOU was amended in 1999 to permit U.S. naval vessels to berth at the Changi Naval Base, which was completed in early 2001. In July 2005, the United States and Singapore signed a Strategic Framework Agreement to expand cooperation in defense and security.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Singapore is nonaligned. It is a member of the United Nations—it occupied a rotational seat on the Security Council 2001-02—and several of its specialized and related agencies, and also of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth. Singapore has participated in UN peacekeeping/observer missions in Kuwait, Angola, Namibia, Cambodia, and East Timor. It provided a training unit to assist in training Iraqi police, and Singapore has deployed naval ships, air force transport planes, and refueling tankers to the Persian Gulf to support the multinational coalition effort to bring stability and security to Iraq. Singapore supports the concept of Southeast Asian regionalism and plays an active role in ASEAN and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

U.S.-SINGAPORE RELATIONS

The United States has maintained formal diplomatic relations with Singapore since that country became independent in 1965. Singapore ‘s efforts to maintain economic growth and political stability and its support for regional cooperation harmonize with U.S. policy in the region and form a solid basis for amicable relations between the two countries. The United States and Singapore signed a bilateral free trade agreement on May 6, 2003; the agreement entered into force on January 1, 2004. The growth of U.S. investment in Singapore and the large number of Americans living there enhance opportunities for contact between Singapore and the United States. Many Singaporeans visit and study in the United States. Singapore is a Visa Waiver Program country.

The U.S. Government sponsors visitors from Singapore each year under the International Visitor Program. The U.S. Government provides Fulbright awards to enable selected American professors to teach or conduct research at the National University of Singapore and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. It awards scholarships to outstanding Singaporean students for graduate studies at American universities and to American students to study in Singapore.

The U.S. Government also sponsors occasional cultural presentations in Singapore. The East-West Center and private American organizations, such as the Asia and Ford Foundations, also sponsor exchanges involving Singaporeans.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SINGAPORE (E) Address: 27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508; APO/FPO: FPO AP 96507; Phone: [65] 6476-9100; Fax: [65] 6476-9340; Workweek: 8:30 am–5:15 p.m. (Mondays to Fridays); Website: http://singapore.usembassy.gov.

AMB:Patricia L. Herbold
AMB OMS:Kimberly A. Keck
DCM:Judith R. Fergin
DCM OMS:Elizabeth Babroski
POL/ECO:Howard V. Reed
CON:Julie L. Kavanagh
MGT:Karen C. Stanton
AFSA:John R. Groch
AGR:Jonathan Gressel
CLO:Lynn Finchum/Sonia Smith
CUS:Matthew H. King
DAO:Alan Oshirak
DEA:Russell Holske
EEO:Jodee R. Smith
FAA:Nancy J. Graham
FCS:Daniel L. Thompson
FMO:Tor R. Petersen
GSO:Michelle A. Burton
ICASS Chair:Valerie C. Fowler
IMO:Thomas C. Proctor
IPO:Jerry A. Lopez
ISO:Nathan J. Harn
ISSO:Thomas C. Proctor
LEGATT:Lester R. McNulty
PAO:Valerie C. Fowler
RSO:David C. Hartinger
State ICASS:Valerie C. Fowler

Last Updated: 1/11/2007

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : October 2, 2006

Country Description: Singapore is a small, stable, highly developed country with an elected parliamentary system of government. Tourist facilities are modern and widely available. Singapore’s resident population of over 4.2 million inhabitants is comprised of 77% Chinese, 14% Malay, 8% Indian and 1% others. English is widely spoken. Criminal penalties are strict and law enforcement rigorous.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A valid passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if their visit is for business or pleasure and their stay is for 90 days or less. Travelers to the region should note that Singapore and some neighboring countries, particularly Indonesia, do not allow Americans to enter with fewer than six months of validity remaining on their passport under any circumstances. Female U.S. citizens who are pregnant when they apply to enter Singapore for a social visit are no longer required to make prior application through the nearest Singapore overseas mission or to provide documentation from a U.S. Embassy concerning the nationality of their child, when born.

Specific information about entry requirements for Singapore may be sought from the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore at 3501 International Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100. Visit the Embassy of Singapore’s website at http://www.mfa.gov.sg/washington/ for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: Since December 2001, Singapore security services have detained more than three dozen members of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda. JI had planned attacks against government and private targets in Singapore associated with the United States, Singapore and other countries. In the aftermath of terrorist bombings in Indonesia in October 2002, August 2003, September 2004 and October 2005, the Department of State is concerned that similar attacks may occur in other Southeast Asian nations because extremist groups present in Southeast Asia have demonstrated transnational capabilities to carry out attacks against locations where Westerners congregate. Terrorist groups do not distinguish between official and civilian targets.

Americans residing in or traveling to Singapore and neighboring countries should therefore exercise particular caution, especially in locations where Americans and other Westerners live, congregate, shop or visit, including, but not limited to, hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, shopping centers, identifiably Western businesses, housing compounds, transportation systems, places of worship, schools, tourist areas, resorts, beaches or public recreation events/venues. U.S. citizens should remain vigilant about their personal security.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet website where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Major crimes against tourists in Singapore are uncommon. Petty crimes such as pick pocketing and purse or briefcase snatching occur in tourist areas, hotels and at the airport. Travelers should exercise the same caution that they would in any large city.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Good medical care is widely available in Singapore. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment for health services by credit card or cash and generally do not accept U.S. health insurance. Recipients of health care should be aware that Ministry of Health auditors in certain circumstances may be granted access to patient medical records without the consent of the patient, and, in certain circumstances, physicians may be required to provide information relating to the diagnosis or treatment without the patient’s consent.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Singapore is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Singapore has a highly developed and well-maintained road and highway network. Driving is done on the left-hand side of the road and motorists should be particularly aware of motorcyclists, who often ignore lane markings. Lanes are frequently closed without warning due to constant construction throughout the city. Public transportation and taxis are abundant and inexpensive. Visitors should consider using this form of transportation, which is widely available and reliable. The Automobile Association of Singapore provides roadside assistance, and the Land Transport Authority has rescue vehicles on the road at all hours. In addition, closed circuit cameras monitor all major roads. As with all laws in Singapore, those involving traffic rules, vehicle registration, and liability in case of accident are strictly enforced, and they may involve criminal penalties. For specific information concerning Singaporean driver’s permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Singaporean National Tourist Board located at 590 Fifth Ave., Twelfth Floor, New York, N.Y. 10036 at Tel. 1-212-302-4861, or fax: 1-212-302-4801.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Singapore’s air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet website at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Singapore customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import and export of items such as weapons, illegal drugs, certain religious materials, pornographic material, videotapes, CDs, DVDs, and software (for censorship or pirating reasons). The definition of “weapon” enforced by Singapore customs is very broad, and, in addition to firearms, includes many items which are not necessarily seen as weapons in the United States, such as dive knives, kitchen knives, handcuffs, and expended shell casings. Carrying any of these items without permission may result in your immediate arrest. All baggage is x-rayed at every port of entry, so placing such items in checked baggage will not allow you to bring it into the country.

It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Singapore in Washington, D.C. at 3501 International Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100, http://www.mfa.gov.sg/washington/, for specific information regarding customs requirements. You may also visit Singapore Customs’ web site, http://www.customs.gov.sg/. Singapore customs officials encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA carnet headquarters located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call 1-212- 354-4480, or send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit http://www.uscib.org/ for details.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. A current list of those countries with serious problems in this regard can be found at website of the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are plentiful in Singapore, and they are the best method for obtaining cash. Bank transfers generally take weeks, and surcharges are steep. Transfers from commercial services such as American Express and Western Union are generally efficient. Americans may be asked by police or employers to surrender their passports in lieu of surety (guaranteed) bonds. Americans should carefully consider whether they wish to surrender their passport rather than seek some other type of surety, particularly if the passport is requested by someone who is not a government official (e.g., an employer).

Note that Singapore does not recognize dual nationality beyond the age of 21, and it strictly enforces universal national service (NS) for all male citizens and permanent residents. Male U.S. citizens who automatically acquired Singaporean citizenship and continue to reside in Singapore are liable for Singapore national service once they reach the age of 18. Travel abroad of Singaporean males may require Singapore Government approval as they approach national service age and may be restricted when they reach sixteen-and-a-half years of age. Under Singaporean law, an individual who automatically acquires Singaporean citizenship at birth retains that status even after acquiring U.S. citizenship. Males may renounce Singaporean citizenship only after completion of at least two years of national service. Possession of U.S. citizenship does not prevent Singaporean citizens from being subject to this law. Dual nationals, Singapore Permanent Residents, and their parents should contact the Ministry of Defense in Singapore to determine if there will be a national service obligation. National service-liable males who migrated from Singapore before age 11 and have not enjoyed significant socio-economic benefits of citizenship (e.g., applied for a Singapore identity card or studied in Singapore beyond the age of 11) are allowed to renounce their Singapore citizenship if they do not wish to fulfill their NS obligations. They will be required to register for national service with Central Manpower Base and apply for deferment from full-time NS until the age of 21, pending the renunciation of their Singapore citizenship. They can continue to make short social visits to Singapore and will not be required to serve NS if they renounced their citizenship at age 21.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe in Singapore than for similar offenses in the United States, and persons violating Singapore laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

There are strict penalties for possession and use of drugs as well as for trafficking in illegal drugs. Trafficking charges may be brought based on the quantity of illegal drugs in a subject’s possession, regardless of whether there is any proven or demonstrated intent to distribute the drugs. Singapore has a mandatory death penalty for many narcotics offenses. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Singapore police have the authority to compel both residents and non-residents to submit to random drug analysis, and do not distinguish between drugs consumed before or after entering Singapore in applying local laws.

Visitors should be aware of Singapore’s strict laws and penalties for a variety of actions that might not be illegal or might be considered minor offenses in the United States. These include jaywalking, littering, and spitting. Singapore has a mandatory caning sentence for vandalism offenses and caning may also be imposed for immigration violations and other offenses. Commercial disputes that may be handled as civil suits in the United States can escalate to criminal cases in Singapore, and result in heavy fines and prison sentences. There are no jury trials in Singapore, judges hear cases and decide sentencing. The Government of Singapore does not provide legal assistance except in capital cases; legal assistance may be available in some other cases through the Law Society. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Singapore are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website and obtain updated information on travel and security within Singapore. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at 27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508, tel. [65] 6476-9100, fax [65] 6476-9340; web site, http://singapore.usembassy.gov/. In case of emergencies after working hours, the duty officer at the Embassy may be contacted by calling tel. [65] 6476-9100.

International Adoption : February 2007

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Adoptions of Non-Singaporean Children: The U.S. Embassy in Singapore is aware of cases in which American families have concluded adoptions in Singapore involving children of other nationalities. It is critical that prospective adoptive parents understand that the laws of the child’s country of birth may remain relevant, even if the child has departed that country and is now residing in Singapore.

It is doubly important, therefore, that American prospective adoptive parents resident in Singapore and considering adopting a child born outside Singapore first consult with the U.S. Embassy prior to proceeding.

Patterns of Immigration: The U.S. Embassy in Singapore has not processed an adoption case involving a Singapore-born child and an American citizen adoptive parent in at least the past five years. This reflects the fact that, for social and cultural reasons, orphaned Singaporean children are usually taken in by family members or adopted by Singaporeans.

In addition, Singaporean law gives preference to prospective adoptive parents who are citizens of Singapore, and children available for adoption by foreigners may be more likely to have physical or mental disabilities.

Adoption Authority: The government office with overall responsibility for adoptions in Singapore is the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports

Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports Family Development Division
Telephone: 6355-6388
Fax: 6258-4823
Email:
[email protected]

Mailing Address:
Adoption Services
510 Thomson Road
13th Storey SLF Building
Singapore 298135
Web sites: www.mcys.gov.sg or www.familytown.gov.sg

Additional legal information regarding adoptions: www.familycourtofsingapore.gov.sg

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Under Singaporean law, prospective adoptive parents must be residents of Singapore and at least 25 years old. They must also be at least 21 years older than the child whom they plan to adopt. These age restrictions may be waived in certain circumstances, including if there is a blood relationship between the child and the prospective parent(s).

Married couples must adopt jointly unless the non-adopting spouse cannot be found, is unable to give consent, or is separated from the adopting spouse and the separation is likely to become permanent. Single men may not adopt female children except in rare cases as determined by the court.

Residency Requirements: Singapore law requires an applicant to have a “settled abode” in Singapore. Applicants must therefore show they have a “home” in Singapore and have legal immigration status (e.g., employment pass, permanent residency, etc.) that would allow them to have some basis for residency.

Time Frame: In a case with no complications (e.g., no documents need to checked, home studies have been completed, etc.) adoptions in Singapore can generally be finalized within 4-6 months. After the child has been legally adopted in Singapore, processing time for a U.S. immigrant visa will take on average another 1-2 months for an uncomplicated case.

Adoption Fees: Adopting a child in Singapore is a complex legal process requiring several court appearances. The Government of Singapore recommends the use of a lawyer, and prospective adoptive parents would have to pay for the lawyer costs., which vary by firm Although the prospective adoptive parents will not pay any fees directly to the court, the lawyer’s fee will include court costs In addition, adoptive parents will have to pay approximately $900 for a home study report performed by an agency licensed by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

Adoption Procedures: As Singapore requires adoptive parents to be residents of Singapore, applicants are presumed to be in the country and available to file applications and appear as required by Singaporean authorities.

In brief, prospective adoptive parents petition the Family Court for adoption of the child. This can be done through an attorney or in person. The Family Court will then appoint the Director of Social Welfare, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) as the child’s Guardian ad litem (temporary legal guardian). MCYS then conducts the necessary investigations and prepares an affidavit and investigation report.

Finally, the Family Court grants the Adoption Order and a new birth certificate is issued for the child. Foreigners wishing to adopt a child in Singapore must complete a Home Study Report (HSR) before proceeding with immigration and legal procedures for adoption. The HSR is an assessment of a family’s readiness to care for an adopted child, bearing in mind the child’s best interests and the appropriateness of the prospective home.

The Home Study Report is also designed to help prospective parents prepare for the adoption process and subsequent raising of an adopted child. The HSR must be completed by an agency accredited by MCYS, and takes approximately five weeks to be completed. See list of accredited agencies here. The process typically includes a series of home visits and interviews with relevant family members and friends.

Persons wishing to adopt a Singaporean child can contact any agency accredited by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) to complete their HSR. The HSR must be submitted when the prospective adoptive parents apply for a Dependant’s Pass for a child proposed for adoption. More detailed information on Home Study Reports is available through the Singapore adoption authority, the contact information for which appears elsewhere in this flyer.

Given the requirement that prospective adoptive parents be resident in Singapore, a home study must be done in Singapore for a Singapore adoption. A home study performed in the U.S. prior to the I-600a process is not likely to be considered in support of the adoption of a Singaporean child.

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Documentary requirements:

The petitioners (the persons making the application) are required to stamp and file the following documents at the Family Court Registry at the outset of the process:

  • 2 copies of the adoption petition;
  • the original consent of the birth parents / guardian (together with the original translation if the consent is not in the English language);
  • the original consent of the parent or guardian of the birth parent of the infant if the birth parent is a minor (together with the original translation if the consent is not in the English language);
  • the original birth certificate of the infant to be adopted (together with the original translation if the birth certificate is not in the English language);
  • an affidavit exhibiting the endorsement of the child’s Dependants’ Pass if the child is not a Singapore citizen or permanent resident;
  • certified true copies of the petitioners’ work permits / employment passes / dependants’ passes if the petitioners are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents;
  • the original marriage certificate of the petitioners (together with the original translation if the birth certificate is not in the English language);
  • 2 copies of the Application for Dispensation of Consent and supporting affidavit to dispense with the consent of the birth parents and/or service of documents on the birth parents, if such consent cannot be obtained; and
  • A copy of the death certificate of the birth parent who had passed away (if applicable).

Singaporean Embassy in the United States:
3501 International Place, NW, Washington
DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 537-3100
Fax: (202) 537-0876
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.mfa.gov.sg/washington/

Singapore also has consulates in New York and San Francisco. There are also Honorary Consulates-General in Chicago, Houston, and Miami.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions.

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the United States:
27 Napier Road
Singapore 258508
PHONE: 011-65-6476-9100
FAX: 011-65-6476-9232
EMAIL:
[email protected]
(attn: IV Unit)

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Singapore may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Singapore at the address, phone and fax numbers provided earlier in this flyer.

General questions regarding inter-country adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

International Parental Child Abduction : February 2007

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

General Information: Singapore is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Singapore and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. American citizens who travel to Singapore place themselves under the jurisdiction of local courts.

Custody Disputes: In Singapore, parents who are legally married share the custody of their children. If they are not married, by law the custody is granted to the mother unless there are known facts of inappropriate behavior, mental or social problems.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgements: Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Singapore, unless a Singaporean court formally recognizes them.

Visitation Rights: In cases where legal custody has been granted and the judgment has been rendered, the non-custodial parent can petition the court for visitation rights within the court-ordered decision or come to a verbal agreement with the custodial parent.

Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is not recognized under Singaporean law beyond the age of 21. For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov.

Travel Restrictions: No exit visas are required to leave Singapore.

Criminal Remedies: For information on possible criminal remedies, please contact your local law enforcement authorities or the nearest office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Information is also available on the Internet at the website of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) at http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org. Persons who wish to pursue a child custody claim in a Singaporean court should retain an attorney in Singapore.

The American Embassy in Singapore maintains a list of attorneys willing to represent American clients. A copy of this list may be obtained by requesting one from the Embassy or at http://singapore.usembassy.gov/consular/amcit/attorneys.shtml.

U.S. Embassy in Singapore
Consular Section
27 Napier Road Singapore 258508
Telephone: 011-65-6476-9100
Fax: 011-65-6476-9232
Web site:
http://www.usembassysingapore.org.sg

The workweek for the American Citizen Services Section of the Embassy is Monday through Friday from 8:30AM to 12:00Noon and 2:00PM to 3:30PM.

Questions involving Singaporean law should be addressed to a Singaporean attorney or to the Embassy of Singapore in the United States at:

Embassy of Singapore
3501 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 537-3100

For further information on international parental child abduction, contact the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State at (202) 736-9090 or visit its website on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.

views updated

SINGAPORE

Compiled from the August 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Singapore


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 685 sq. km. (264 sq. mi.).

Cities: Capital—Singapore (country is a city-state).

Terrain: Lowland.

Climate: Tropical.

People

Population: (2003) 4.19 million (including permanent residents, foreign workers).

Annual growth rate: 0.3% (total); 1.7% (residents).

Ethnic groups: Chinese 77%, Malays 14%, Indians 8%.

Religions: Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu.

Languages: English, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects, Malay, Tamil.

Education: Years compulsory—six. Attendance—94%. Literacy—94%.

Health: (2003) Infant mortality rate—1.4/1,000. Life expectancy—77 yrs. male, 81 yrs. female.

Work force: (June 2004, 2.16 million) Manufacturing and commerce—37%; services—41%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary republic.

Constitution: June 3, 1959 (amended 1965 and 1991).

Independence: August 9, 1965.

Branches: Executive—president (chief of state, 6-yr. term); prime minister (head of government). Legislative—unicameral 84-member Parliament (maximum 5-yr. term). Judicial—High Court, Court of Appeal, subordinate courts.

Political parties: People's Action Party (PAP), Workers' Party (WP), Singapore's Peoples Party (SPP), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

Suffrage: Universal and compulsory at 21.

Central government budget: (FY 2004 est.) $18.2 billion.

Defense: (FY 2004 est.) 5.4% of gross domestic product.

National holiday: August 9.

Economy

GDP: (2003 real, 1995 prices) $94 billion.

Annual real growth rate: -2.4% (2001); 2.2% (2002); 1.1% (2003).

Per capita GNP: (2003—purchasing power parity) $22,000.

Natural resources: None.

Agriculture: (under 0.5% of GDP) Products—poultry, orchids, vegetables, fruits, ornamental fish.

Manufacturing: (24% of real GDP) Types—electronic and electrical products and components, petroleum products, machinery and metal products, chemical and pharmaceutical products, transport equipment (mainly aircraft repairs/maintenance, shipbuilding and repair), food and beverages, printing and publishing, textiles and garments, plastic products/modules, instrumentation equipment.

Trade: (2002) Exports—$148 billion: petroleum products, food/beverages, chemicals, textile/garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, transport equipment. Major markets—Malaysia (16%), U.S. (13%), EU (13%), Hong Kong (10%), Japan (7%), and China (7%). Imports—$131 billion: aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, radio and television receivers/parts, motor vehicles, chemicals, food/beverages, iron/steel, textile yarns/fabrics. Major suppliers—Malaysia (17%), U.S. (14%), Japan (12%), EU (13%), and China (9%).


PEOPLE

Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The annual growth rate for 2003 was 0.3%, including resident foreigners. Singapore has a varied linguistic, cultural, and religious heritage. Malay is the national language, but Chinese, English, and Tamil also are official languages. English is the language of administration and also is widely used in the professions, businesses, and schools.

The government has mandated that English be the primary language used at all levels of the school systems, and it aims to provide at least 10 years of education for every child. In 2003, primary and secondary school students totaled about 506,000, or 12% of the entire population. In 2003, enrollment at the universities was 55,426 (full-time, part-time, and post-graduate) and 62,206 at the polytechnics. The Institute of Technical Education for basic technical and commerce skills has almost 17,941 students. The country's literacy rate is 94%.

Singapore generally allows religious freedom, although religious groups are subject to government scrutiny, and some religious sects are restricted or banned. Almost all Malays are Muslim; other Singapore-ans are Taoists, Buddhists, Confucianists, Christians, Hindus, or Sikhs.


HISTORY

Although Singapore's history dates from the 11th century, the island was little known to the West until the 19th century, when in 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived as an agent of the British East India Company. In 1824, the British purchased Singapore Island, and by 1825, the city of Singapore had become a major port, with trade exceeding that of Malaya's Malacca and Penang combined.

In 1826, Singapore, Penang, and Malacca were combined as the Straits Settlements to form an outlying residency of the British East India Company; in 1867, the Straits Settlements were made a British Crown Colony, an arrangement that continued until 1946.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of steamships launched an era of prosperity for Singapore as transit trade expanded throughout Southeast Asia. In the 20th century, the automobile industry's demand for rubber from Southeast Asia and the packaging industry's need for tin helped make Singapore one of the world's major ports. In 1921, the British constructed a naval base, which was soon supplemented by an air base. But the Japanese captured the island in February 1942, and it remained under their control until September 1945, when the British returned.

In 1946, the Straits Settlements was dissolved; Penang and Malacca became part of the Malayan Union, and Singapore became a separate British Crown Colony. In 1959, Singapore became self-governing, and, in 1963, it joined the newly independent Federation of Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak—the latter two former British Borneo territories—to form Malaysia.

Indonesia adopted a policy of "confrontation" against the new federation, charging that it was a "British colonial creation," and severed trade with Malaysia. The move particularly affected Singapore, since Indonesia had been the island's second-largest trading partner. The political dispute was resolved in 1966, and Indonesia resumed trade with Singapore.

After a period of friction between Singapore and the central government in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore separated from Malaysia on August 9, 1965, and became an independent republic.


GOVERNMENT

According to the constitution, as amended in 1965, Singapore is a republic with a parliamentary system of government. Political authority rests with the prime minister and the cabinet. The prime minister is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties having the majority of seats in Parliament.

The president, who is chief of state, previously exercised only ceremonial duties. As a result of 1991 constitutional changes, the president is now elected and exercises expanded powers over legislative appointments, government budgetary affairs, and internal security matters.

The unicameral Parliament currently consists of 84 members elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage, and nine "nominated" members of Parliament. A constitutional provision assures at least three opposition members, even if fewer than three actually are elected. A "nonconstituency" seat held by the opposition under this provision since 1997 was again filled after the last election. In the last general election, in November 2001, the governing People's Action Party (PAP) won 82 of the 84 seats. The president appoints nominated members of Parliament from among nominations by a special select committee. Nominated members of Parliament enjoy the same privileges as members of Parliament but cannot vote on constitutional matters or expenditures of funds. The maximum term of anyone in Parliament is 5 years. Voting has been compulsory since 1959.

Judicial power is vested in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The High Court exercises original criminal and civil jurisdiction in serious cases as well as appellate jurisdiction from subordinate courts. Its chief justice, senior judge, and six judges are appointed by the president. Appeals from the High Court are heard by the Court of Appeal. The right of appeal to the Privy Council in London was abolished effective April 1994.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 10/20/04

President: NATHAN , Sellapan Rama
Prime Minister: LEE Hsien Loong , Brig. Gen. Dep. Prime Min.: JAYAKUMAR , Shunmugam
Dep. Prime Min.: TAN Keng Yam , Tony Senior Min., Office of the Prime Minister: GOH Chok Tong
Min. Mentor, Office of the Prime Minister: LEE Kuan Yew
Coordinating Min. of Defense & Security: TAN Keng Yam , Tony
Min. for Community Development, Youth, & Sports (Acting): VIVIAN Balakrishnan
Min. for Defense: TEO Chee Hean , RAdm. (Ret.)
Min. for Education: THARMAN Shanmugaratnam
Min. for the Environment: LIM Swee Say
Min. for Finance: LEE Hsien Loong , Brig. Gen.
Min. for Foreign Affairs: YEO Yong Boon , George, Brig. Gen.
Min. for Health: KHAW Boon Wan
Min. for Home Affairs: WONG Kan Seng
Min. for Information, Communications, & the Arts: LEE Boon Yang
Min. for Law: JAYAKUMAR , Shunmugam
Min. for Manpower: NG Eng Hen
Min. in Charge of Muslim Affairs: YAACOB Ibrahim
Min. for National Development: MAH Bow Tan
Min. for Trade & Industry: LIM Hng Kiang
Min. for Transport: YEO Cheow Tong
Min., Prime Minister's Office: LIM Swee Say
Min., Prime Minister's Office: LIM Boon Heng
Chmn., The Monetary Authority of Singapore: GOH Chok Tong
Ambassador to the US: CHAN Heng Chee
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: MENON , Vanu Gopala

Singapore maintains an embassy in the United States at 3501 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202/537-3100, fax 202/537-0876).


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The ruling political party in Singapore, reelected continuously since 1959, is the People's Action Party (PAP), now headed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Lee succeeded Goh Chok Tong on August 12, 2004. Goh now serves as 'senior minister' and Lee Kuan Yew holds the title 'Minister Mentor', a newly created position.

The PAP has held the overwhelming majority of seats in Parliament since 1966, when the opposition Barisan Sosialis Party (Socialist Front), a left-wing group that split off from the PAP in 1961, resigned from Parliament, leaving the PAP as the sole representative party. In the general elections of 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980, the PAP won all of the seats in an expanding Parliament.

Workers' Party Secretary General J.B. Jeyaretnam became the first opposition party member of Parliament in 15 years when he won a 1981 by-election. Opposition parties gained small numbers of seats in the general elections of 1984 (2 seats out of a total of 79), 1988 (1 seat of 81), 1991 (4 seats of 81), 1997 (2 seats of 83), and 2001 (2 seats of 84). Meanwhile, the PAP share of the popular vote in contested seats increased from 65% in 1997 to 75% in 2001. Since the opposition has contested less than half the seats in the last two elections, overall voter support for the PAP may be somewhat higher.


ECONOMY

Singapore's strategic location on major sea lanes and industrious population have given the country an economic importance in Southeast Asia disproportionate to its small size. Upon independence in 1965, Singapore was faced with a lack of physical resources and a small domestic market. In response, the Singapore Government adopted a pro-business, pro-foreign investment, export-oriented economic policy framework, combined with state-directed investments in strategic government-owned corporations.

Singapore's economic strategy proved a success, producing real growth that averaged 8.0% from 1960 to 1999. The economy picked up after the 1997 regional financial crisis, with a growth rate of 9.4% for 2000, but then fell back in tandem with the economic slowdown in the United States, Japan, and the European Union (EU), as well as the worldwide electronics slump, so that GDP fell by 2.4% in 2001.

The economy rebounded in 2002, up 2.2%, but declined to 1.1% growth in 2003, due to the effect of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the first half of the year. The economy is expected to expand by 8%-9% in 2004, driven by the growth in world electronics demand and in the economies of its major trading partners, the U.S., EU, China, and Japan.

Singapore's largely corruption-free government, skilled work force, and advanced and efficient infrastructure have attracted investments from more than 7,000 multinational corporations from the United States, Japan, and Europe. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. Multinational corporations account for more than two-thirds of manufacturing output and direct export sales, although certain services sectors remain dominated by government-linked corporations.

Manufacturing and services are the twin engines of the Singapore economy and accounted for 24% and 64%, respectively, of Singapore's gross domestic product in 2002. The electronics industry leads Singapore's manufacturing sector, accounting for 42% of Singapore's total industrial output, but the government also is prioritizing the development of the chemicals and biomedical/pharmaceutical industries.

To maintain its competitive position despite rising wages, the government seeks to promote higher value-added activities in the manufacturing and services sectors. It also has opened, or is in the process of opening, the financial services, telecommunications, and power generation and retailing sectors to foreign service providers and greater competition.

The government also has pursued cost-cutting measures, including tax cuts and wage and rent reductions, to lower the cost of doing business in Singapore. The government also is actively negotiating free trade agreements with key trading partners, and has concluded one with the United States.

Trade, Investment, and Aid

Singapore's total trade in 2003 amounted to $279 billion, an increase of 10% from 2002. Despite its small size, Singapore is the 14th-largest trading partner of the United States.

In 2003, Singapore's imports totaled $131 billion, and exports totaled $148 billion. Malaysia was Singapore's main import source, as well as its largest export market, absorbing 16% of Singapore's exports, with the United States falling behind to 13%, from 15% in 2002. Re-exports accounted for 45% of Singapore's total sales to other countries in 2003. Singapore's principal exports are petroleum products, food and beverages, chemicals, textile and garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, and transport equipment. Singapore's main imports are aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, consumer electronics, microelectronics manufacturing equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, food and beverages, iron and steel, and textile yarns and fabrics.

Singapore continues to attract investment funds on a large scale despite its relatively high-cost operating environment. The United States leads in foreign investment, accounting for 39% of new commitments to the manufacturing sector in 2003. As of 2003, the stock of investment by U.S. companies in the manufacturing and services sectors in Singapore reached about $61.4 billion (total assets). The bulk of U.S. investment is in electronics manufacturing, oil refining and storage, and the chemical industry. More than 1,300 U.S. firms operate in Singapore.

The government also has encouraged firms to invest outside Singapore, with the country's total direct investments abroad reaching $85 billion by the end of 2002. China was the top destination, accounting for 11% of total overseas investments, followed by Hong Kong (8%), Malaysia (8%), Indonesia (6%), and the United States (6%). The United States provides no bilateral aid to Singapore.

Labor

In June 2004, Singapore had a total labor force of about 2.16 million. The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), the sole trade union federation, comprises almost 99% of total organized labor. Extensive legislation covers general labor and trade union matters. The Industrial Arbitration Court handles labor-management disputes that cannot be resolved informally through the Ministry of Labor. The Singapore Government has stressed the importance of cooperation between unions, management, and government ("tripartism"), as well as the early resolution of disputes. There has been only one strike in the past 15 years.

Singapore has enjoyed virtually full employment for long periods of time. Amid slower economic growth, unemployment rose to 5.9% in September 2003. As of end-June 2004, the rate of unemployment dropped to 4.5%. Much of the unemployment is structural, as low-skill manufacturing operations move overseas. From 1990 to 1997, the number of foreign workers in Singapore increased rapidly to cope with labor shortages. Foreign workers comprise 27% of the labor force; the great majority of these are unskilled workers.

Transportation and Communications

Situated at the crossroads of international shipping and air routes, Singapore is a center for transportation and communication in Southeast Asia. Singapore Changi International Airport is a regional aviation hub served by 68 international airlines. It is being expanded with the construction of a third terminal, as well as a dedicated low-cost terminal for budget airlines, both slated for completion in 2006. The Port of Singapore is the world's busiest in terms of shipping tonnage and ranks in second place globally as a center for containerized transshipment traffic, after Hong Kong. The country also is linked by road and rail to Malaysia and Thailand.

Telecommunications and Internet facilities are state-of-the-art, providing high-quality communications with the rest of the world. Radio and television stations are all ultimately government-owned or governmentlinked. The print media is dominated by a company with close ties to the government. Daily newspapers are published in English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.


DEFENSE

Singapore relies primarily on its own defense forces, which are continuously being modernized. The defense budget accounts for approximately 28% of government operating expenditures (or 5% of GDP). A career military force of 12,100 is supplemented by 37,900 persons on active National Service, which is compulsory for able-bodied young men, and another 225,000 reservists. The Singapore Armed Forces engage in joint training with all the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and India.

Singapore is a member of the Five-Power Defense Arrangement together with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia. Intended to replace the former defense role of the British in the Singapore-Malaysia area, the arrangement obligates members to consult in the event of external threat and provides for stationing Commonwealth forces in Singapore.

Singapore has consistently supported a strong U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1990, the United States and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which allows United States access to Singapore facilities at Paya Lebar Airbase and the Sembawang wharves. Under the MOU, a U.S. Navy logistics unit was established in Singapore in 1992; U.S. fighter aircraft deploy periodically to Singapore for exercises, and a number of U.S. military vessels visit Singapore. The MOU was amended in 1999 to permit U.S. naval vessels to berth at the Changi Naval Base, which was completed in early 2001. In October 2003, Singapore and the U.S. announced their intention to expand cooperation in defense and security, and to negotiate a Framework Agreement for a Strategic Cooperation Partnership.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Singapore is nonaligned. It is a member of the United Nations—it occupied a rotational seat on the Security Council 2001-02—and several of its specialized and related agencies, and also of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth. Singapore has participated in UN peacekeeping/observer missions in Kuwait, Angola, Namibia, Cambodia, and East Timor. It provided a training unit to assist in training Iraqi police, and in October 2003, Singapore deployed a naval ship and an air force transport plane to the Persian Gulf to support the multinational coalition effort to bring stability and security to Iraq. Singapore supports the concept of Southeast Asian regionalism and plays an active role in ASEAN and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.


U.S.-SINGAPORE RELATIONS

The United States has maintained formal diplomatic relations with Singapore since that country became independent in 1965. Singapore's efforts to maintain economic growth and political stability and its support for regional cooperation harmonize with U.S. policy in the region and form a solid basis for amicable relations between the two countries. The United States and Singapore signed a bilateral free trade agreement on May 6, 2003; the agreement entered into force on January 1, 2004. The growth of U.S. investment in Singapore and the large number of Americans living there enhance opportunities for contact between Singapore and the United States. Many Singaporeans visit and study in the United States. Singapore is a Visa Waiver Program country.

The U.S. Government sponsors visitors from Singapore each year under the International Visitor Program. The U.S. Government provides Ful-bright awards to enable selected American professors to teach or conduct research at the National University of Singapore and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. It awards scholarships to outstanding Singaporean students for graduate studies at American universities and to American students to study in Singapore. The U.S. Government also sponsors occasional cultural presentations in Singapore. The East-West Center and private American organizations, such as the Asia and Ford Foundations, also sponsor exchanges involving Singaporeans.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SINGAPORE (E) Address: 27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508; APO/FPO: FPO AP 96507; Phone: [65] 6476-9100; Fax: [65] 6476-9340; Workweek: 8:30 am-5:15 p.m. (Mondays to Fridays); Website: http://singapore.usembassy.gov

AMB:Franklin L. Lavin
AMB OMS:Cheryl C. Cruise
DCM:Judith R. Fergin
DCM OMS:Roxie O. Gilmore
POL/ECO:Laurent D. Charbonnet
CON:Lynn D. Gutensohn
MGT:Karen C. Stanton
AFSA:Susan W. Wong
ATO:Jonathan Gressel
CLO:Leah B. Keene
CUS:Matthew H. King
DAO:C. Rivers Cleveland
DEA:Stephen T. Marchini
EEO:L. Gabrielle Cowan
FAA:Elizabeth Erickson
FCS:George Ruffner
FMO:Robert A. Wert
GSO:Michelle A. Burton
ICASS Chair:Stephen T. Marchini
IMO:Thomas C. Proctor
IPO:Arthur T. Day
ISO:Robert S. Blankenship
ISSO:Thomas C. Proctor
LEGATT:Christopher Reimann
PAO:David R. Andresen
RSO:Aurelia L. Fedenisn
State ICASS:Thomas Yun
Last Updated: 11/23/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

January 14, 2005

Country Description: Singapore is a small, stable, highly developed country with an elected parliamentary system of government. Touristfacilities are modern and widely available. Singapore's resident population of over 4.24 million inhabitants is comprised of 77% Chinese, 14% Malay, 8% Indian and 1% others. English is widely spoken.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A valid passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if their visit is for business or pleasure and their stay is for 90 days or less. Travelers to the region should note that Singapore and some neighboring countries, particularly Indonesia, do not allow Americans to enter with fewer than six months of validity remaining on their passport under any circumstances. Female U.S. citizens who are pregnant at the time of application for entry into Singapore must submit two documents to Singapore authorities – a medical certificate or letter from their doctor indicating their stage of pregnancy AND a letter from the U.S. Embassy. The medical certificate or letter should also state the expected due date for the child. The U.S. Embassy letter should indicate that, if transmission requirements for citizenship are met, the U.S. Embassy in Singapore will issue a U.S. passport to the child should the child be delivered in Singapore. To obtain this letter and/or for more information, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Singapore by e-mail at [email protected]

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

Specific information about entry requirements for Singapore may be sought from the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore at 3501 International Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100. Please see also the Embassy of Singapore's web site, http://www.mfa.gov.sg/washington/.

Dual Nationality: Singapore does not recognize dual nationality beyond the age of 21, and it strictly enforces universal national service (NS) for all male citizens and permanent residents. Male U.S. citizens who automatically acquired Singaporean citizenship and continue to reside in Singapore are liable for Singapore national service once they reach the age of 18. Travel abroad of Singaporean males may require Singapore Government approval as they approach national service age and may be restricted when they reach sixteen-and-a-half years of age. Under Singaporean law, an individual who automatically acquires Singaporean citizenship at birth retains that status even after acquiring U.S. citizenship. Males may renounce Singaporean citizenship only after completion of at least two years of national service. Possession of U.S. citizenship does not prevent Singaporean citizens from being subject to this law. Dual nationals and their parents should contact the Ministry of Defense in Singapore to determine if there will be a national service obligation. For additional information, please see the Bureau of Consular ffairs' web site, http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer, and contact the Ministry of Defense Central Manpower Base (tel.65-6373-3127), or visit http://cmpb.miw.com.sg.

National service-liable males who migrated from Singapore before age 11 and have not enjoyed significant socio-economic benefits of citizenship (e.g., applied for a Singapore identity card or studied in Singapore beyond the age of 11) will be allowed to renounce their Singapore citizenship if they do not wish to fulfill their NS obligations. They will be required to register for national service with Central Manpower Base and apply for deferment from full-time NS until the age of 21, pending the renunciation of their Singapore citizenship. They can continue to make short social visits to Singapore and will not be required to serve NS if they renounced their citizenshipat age 21.

Safety and Security Information: Since December 2001, Singapore security services have detained more than three dozen members of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda. JI had planned attacks against government and private targets in Singapore associated with the United States, Singapore and other countries. In the aftermath of terrorist bombings in Indonesia in October 2002, August 2003 and September 2004, the Department of State is concerned that similar attacks may occur in other Southeast Asian nations because extremist groups present in Southeast Asia have demonstrated transnational capabilities to carry out attacks against locations where Westerners congregate. Terrorist groups do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Americans residing in or traveling to Singapore and neighboring countries should therefore exercise particular caution, especially in locations where Americans and other Westerners live, congregate, shop or visit, including, but not limited to, hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, shopping centers, identifiably Western businesses, housing compounds, transportation systems, places of worship, schools, tourist areas, resorts, beaches or public recreation events/venues. U.S. citizens should remain vigilant about their personal security.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Americans can also find regional security information for the countries of Southeast Asia on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore at http://Singapore.usembassy.gov.

Up-to-date information regarding safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad.

Crime Information: Major crimes against tourists in Singapore are uncommon. Petty crimes such as pick pocketing and purse or briefcase snatching occur in tourist areas, hotels and at the airport. Travelers should exercise the same caution that they would in any large city. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. See our information on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1748.html.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Good medical care is widely available in Singapore. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment for health services by credit card or cash and generally do not accept U.S. health insurance. Recipients of health care should be aware that Ministry of Health auditors in certain circumstances may be granted access to patient medical records without the consent of the patient, and, in certain circumstances, physicians may be required to provide information relating to the diagnosis or treatment without the patient's consent.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web-site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299) or via http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. The World Health Organization also provides additional health information at http://www.who.int/ith. The Singapore Ministry of Health's web site, http://app.moh.gov.sg/, contains helpful health information.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Singapore is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Motorists should be particularly aware of motorcyclists, who often ignore lane markings. Lanes are frequently closed without warning due to constant construction throughout the city. Public transportation and taxis are abundant and inexpensive. Visitors should consider taking taxis or public transportation, which is widely available, inexpensive and reliable. The Automobile Association of Singapore provides roadside assistance, and the Land Transport Authority has rescue vehicles on the road at all hours. In addition, closed circuit cameras monitor all roads. As with all laws in Singapore, those involving traffic rules, vehicle registration, and liability in case of accident are strictly enforced, and they may involve criminal penalties. For specific information concerning Singaporean driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Singaporean National Tourist Board located at 590 Fifth Ave., Twelfth Floor, New York, N.Y. 10036 at Tel. 1-212-302-4861, or fax: 1-212-302-4801.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Singapore's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Singapore's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances: Singapore customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Singapore of items such as weapons, illegal drugs, certain religious materials, pornographic material, videotapes, CDs, DVDs, and software (for censorship or pirating reasons). The definition of "weapon" enforced by Singapore customs is very broad, and, in addition to firearms, includes many items which are not necessarily seen as weapons in the United States, such as dive knives, kitchen knives, handcuffs, and expended shell casings. Carrying any of these items without permission may result in your immediate arrest. All baggage is x-rayed at every port of entry, so placing such items in checked baggage will not allow you to bring it into the country. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Singapore in Washington, D.C. for specific information regarding customs requirements. You also can visit Singapore Customs' web site, http://www.customs.gov.sg. Singapore customs officials encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA carnet headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call 1-212-354-4480, or send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. A current list of those countries with serious problems in this regard can be found at http://www.ustr.gov/Document_Library/Reports_Publications/2004/2004_Special_301/Section_Index.html.

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are plentiful in Singapore, and they are the best method of obtaining cash. Bank transfers generally take weeks, and surcharges are steep. Transfers from commercial services such as American Express and Western Union are generally efficient. Americans may be asked by police or employers to surrender their passports in lieu of surety (guaranteed) bonds. Americans should carefully consider whether they wish to surrender their passport rather than seek some other type of surety, particularly if the passport is requested by someone who is not a government official (e.g., an employer).

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe in Singapore than penalties in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Singaporean laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

There are strict penalties for possession and use of drugs as well as for trafficking in illegal drugs. Singapore has a mandatory death penalty for many narcotics offenses. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Visitors should be aware of Singapore's strict laws and penalties for a variety of actions that might not be illegal or might be considered minor offenses in the United States, including jaywalking, littering and spitting. Singapore has a mandatory caning sentence for vandalism offenses. Caning may also be imposed for immigration violations and other offenses. Commercial disputes that may be handled as civil suits in the United States can escalate to criminal cases in Singapore and result in heavy fines and prison sentences. There are no jury trials in Singapore. Judges hear cases and decide sentencing. The Government of Singapore does not provide legal assistance except in capital cases; legal assistance may be available in some other cases through the Law Society.

Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Consular Access: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. Singapore is not a signatory to any international or bilateral conventions on consular access, but, in practice, Singapore officials do notify the U.S. Embassy when an American is arrested, and they do allow visits by the consular officer.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting Singapore are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore or online via the Department of State Travel Registration website. The Embassy is located at 27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508, tel. [65] 6476-9100, fax [65] 6476-9340; web site, http://singapore.usembassy.gov.

In case of emergencies after working hours, the duty officer at the Embassy may be contacted by calling tel. [65] 6476-9100.

International Parental Child Abduction

January 2005

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at travel.state.gov

Disclaimer: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

General Information: Singapore is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Singapore and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. American citizens who travel to Singapore place themselves under the jurisdiction of local courts. American citizens planning a trip to Singapore with dual-national children should bear this in mind.

Custody Disputes: In Singapore, parents who are legally married share the custody of their children. If they are not married, by law the custody is granted to the mother unless there are known facts of inappropriate behavior, mental or social problems.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments: Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Singapore, unless a Singaporean court formally recognizes them.

Visitation Rights: In cases where legal custody has been granted and the judgment has been rendered, the non-custodial parent can petition the court for visitation rights within the court-ordered decision or come to a verbal agreement with the custodial parent.

Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is not recognized under Singaporean law beyond the age of 21.

Travel Restrictions: No exit visas are required to leave Singapore.

Criminal Remedies: For information on possible criminal remedies, please contact your local law enforcement authorities or the nearest office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Information is also available on the Internet at the web site of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) at http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org.

Persons who wish to pursue a child custody claim in a Singaporean court should retain an attorney in Singapore. The American Embassy in Singapore maintains a list of attorneys willing to represent American clients. A copy of this list may be obtained by requesting one from the Embassy or at http://singapore.usembassy.gov/consular/amcit/attorneys.shtml.

U.S. Embassy in Singapore
Consular Section
27 Napier Road
Singapore 258508
Telephone: 011-65-6476-9100; Fax: 011-65-6476-9232
Web site: http://www.usembassysingapore.org.sg

*The workweek for the American Citizen Services Section of the Embassy is Monday through Friday from 8:30AM to 12:00Noon and 2:00PM to 3:30PM.

Questions involving Singaporean law should be addressed to a Singaporean attorney or to the Embassy of Singapore in the United States at: Embassy of Singapore; 3501 International Place, NW; Washington, DC 20008; Telephone: (202) 537-3100.

For further information on international parental child abduction, contact the Office of Children's Issues at 202-736-7000, visit our home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov, or send a nine-by-twelve-inch, self-addressed envelope to: Office of Children's Issues, SA-29, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20520-2818; Phone: (202) 736-9090; Fax: (202) 312-9743.

views updated

SINGAPORE

Compiled from the December 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.


Official Name:
Republic of Singapore


PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
DEFENSE
U.S.-SINGAPORE RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 685 sq. km. (264 sq. mi.).

Cities: Capital—Singapore (country is a city-state).

Terrain: Lowland.

Climate: Tropical.


People

Population: (2003) 4.19 million (including permanent residents, foreign workers).

Annual growth rate: 0.8% (total); 1.8% (residents).

Ethnic groups: Chinese 77%, Malays 14%, Indians 8%.

Religions: Buddhist Taoist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu.

Languages: English, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects, Malay, Tamil.

Education: Years compulsory—six. Attendance—93%. Literacy—93%.

Health: (2002) Infant mortality rate—2.5/1,000. Life expectancy—77 yrs. male, 81 yrs. female.

Work force: (2002, 2.13 million) Manufacturing and commerce—39%; services—43%.


Government

Type: Parliamentary republic.

Constitution: June 3, 1959 (amended 1965 and 1991).

Independence: August 9, 1965.

Branches: Executive—president (chief of state, 6-yr. term); prime minister (head of government). Legislative —unicameral 84-member parliament (maximum 5-yr. term). Judicial —High Court, Court of Appeal, subordinate courts.

Political parties: People's Action Party (PAP), Workers' Party (WP), Singapore's Peoples Party (SPP), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

Suffrage: Universal and compulsory at 21.

Central government budget: (FY 2002) $16.9 billion.

Defense: (FY 2002) 5.3% of gross domestic product.

National holiday: August 9.

Flag: Two equal horizontal sections, red over white, with a white crescent and five stars in the upper left corner.


Economy

GDP: (2002 real, 1995 prices) $91 billion.

Annual real growth rate: 9.4% (2000), -2.4% (2001); 2.2% (2002)

Per capita GNP: (2002—purchasing power parity) $21,255.

Natural resources: None.

Agriculture: (under 0.5% of GDP) Products—poultry, orchids, vegetables, fruits.

Manufacturing: (26% of real GDP) Types—el ectronic and electrical products and components, petroleum products, machinery and metal products, chemical and pharmaceutical products, transport equipment (mainly shipbuilding and repair), food and beverages, printing and publishing, textiles and garments, plastic products, instrumentation equipment.

Trade: (2002) Exports—$126 billion: petroleum products, food/beverages, chemicals, textile/garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, transport equipment. Major markets—Malaysia (18%), U.S. (15%), EU (13%), Hong Kong (9%), Japan (7%), and China (5.5%). Imports—$117 billion: aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, radio and television receivers/parts, motor vehicles, chemicals, food/beverages, iron/steel, textile yarns/fabrics. Major suppliers—Malaysia (18%), U.S. (14%), Japan (13%), EU (12%), and China (7.6%).



PEOPLE

Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The annual growth rate for 2002 was 0.8%, including resident foreigners. Singapore has a varied linguistic, cultural, and religious heritage. Malay is the national language, but Chinese, English, and Tamil also are official languages. English is the language of administration and also is widely used in the professions, businesses, and schools.

The government has mandated that English be the primary language used at all levels of the school systems, and it aims to provide at least 10 years of education for every child. In 2002, primary and secondary school students totaled about 497,500, or 12% of the entire population. In 2001, enrollment at the universities was 37,983 (full-time, part-time, and post-graduate) and 53,599 at the polytechnics. The Institute of Technical Education for basic technical and commerce skills has almost 16,200 students. The country's literacy rate is 94%.

Singapore generally allows religious freedom, although religious groups are subject to government scrutiny, and some religious sects are restricted or banned. Almost all Malays are Muslim; other Singaporeans are Taoists, Buddhists, Confucianists, Christians, Hindus, or Sikhs.



HISTORY

Although Singapore's history dates from the 11th century, the island was little known to the West until the 19th century, when in 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived as an agent of the British East India Company. In 1824, the British purchased Singapore Island, and by 1825, the city of Singapore had become a major port, with trade exceeding that of Malaya's Malacca and Penang combined. In 1826, Singapore, Penang, and Malacca were combined as the Straits Settlements to form an outlying residency of the British East India Company; in 1867, the Straits Settlements were made a British Crown Colony, an arrangement that continued until 1946.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of steamships launched an era of prosperity for Singapore as transit trade expanded throughout Southeast Asia. In the 20th century, the automobile industry's demand for rubber from Southeast
Asia and the packaging industry's need for tin helped make Singapore one of the world's major ports.

In 1921, the British constructed a naval base, which was soon supplemented by an air base. But the Japanese captured the island in February 1942, and it remained under their control until September 1945, when the British returned.

In 1946, the Straits Settlements was dissolved; Penang and Malacca became part of the Malayan Union, and Singapore became a separate British Crown Colony. In 1959, Singapore became self-governing, and, in 1963, it joined the newly independent Federation of Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak—the latter two former British Borneo territories—to form Malaysia.

Indonesia adopted a policy of "confrontation" against the new federation, charging that it was a "British colonial creation," and severed trade with Malaysia. The move particularly affected Singapore, since Indonesia had been the island's second-largest trading partner. The political dispute was resolved in 1966, and Indonesia resumed trade with Singapore.

After a period of friction between Singapore and the central government in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore separated from Malaysia on August 9, 1965, and became an independent republic.



GOVERNMENT

According to the constitution, as amended in 1965, Singapore is a republic with a parliamentary system of government. Political authority rests with the prime minister and the cabinet. The prime minister is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties having the majority of seats in parliament. The president, who is chief of state, previously exercised only ceremonial duties. As a result of 1991 constitutional changes, the president is now elected and exercises expanded powers over legislative appointments, government budgetary affairs, and internal security matters.

The unicameral Parliament currently consists of 84 members elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage, and nine "nominated" members of Parliament. A constitutional provision assures at least three opposition members, even if fewer than three actually are elected. A "nonconstituency " seat held by the opposition under this provision since 1997 was again filled after the last election. In the last general election, in November 2001, the governing People's Action Party (PAP) won 82 of the 84 seats. The president appoints nominated members of Parliament from among nominations by a special select committee. Nominated members of Parliament enjoy the same privileges as members of Parliament but cannot vote on constitutional matters or expenditures of funds. The maximum term of any one Parliament is 5 years. Voting has been compulsory since 1959.

Judicial power is vested in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The High Court exercises original criminal and civil jurisdiction in serious cases as well as appellate jurisdiction from subordinate courts. Its chief justice, senior judge, and six judges are appointed by the president. Appeals from the High Court are heard by the Court of Appeal. The right of appeal to the Privy Council in London was abolished effective April 1994.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 12/3/01


President: Nathan, Sellapan Rama (S. R.)

Prime Minister: Goh, Chok Tong

Dep. Prime Min.: Lee, Hsien Loong, Brig.Gen. (Res.)

Dep. Prime Min.: Tan, Tony Keng Yam

Senior Minister: Lee, Kuan Yew

Min. of Community Development & Sports: Abdullah, Tarmugi

Min. of Defense: Tan, Tony Keng Yam

Min. of Education: Teo, Chee Hean, RAdm.(Res.)

Min. of the Environment: Lim, Swee Say

Min. of Finance: Lee, Hsien Loong, Brig.Gen. (Res.)

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Jayakumar, Shunmugam

Min. of Health: Lim, Hng Kiang, Lt. Col.(Res.)

Min. of Home Affairs: Wong, Kan Seng

Min. of Information, Communications, & the Arts (Acting): Lim, David Tik En

Min. of Law: Jayakumar, Shunmugam

Min. of Manpower: Lee, Boon Yang

Min. of Law: Jayakumar, Shunmugam

Min. of National Development: Mah, Bow Tan

Min. of Trade & Industry: Yeo, Yong Boon George, Brig. Gen. (Res.)

Min. of Transport: Yeo, Cheow Tong

Min. Prime Minister's Office: Lim, Boon Heng

Min. Prime Minister's Office: Lee, Yock Suan

Min.-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs: Abdullah, Tarmugi

Chmn., The Monetary Authority of Singapore: Lee, Hsien Loong, Brig. Gen. (Res.)

Ambassador to the US: Chan, Heng Chee Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Mahbubani, Kishore



Singapore maintains an embassy in the United States at 3501 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202/537-3100, fax 202/537-0876).



POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The ruling political party in Singapore, reelected continuously since 1959, is the People's Action Party (PAP), now headed by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Goh succeeded Lee Kuan Yew, who served as Singapore's prime minister from independence through 1990. Since stepping down as prime minister, Lee has remained influential as Senior Minister.

The PAP has held the overwhelming majority of seats in Parliament since 1966, when the opposition Barisan Sosialis Party (Socialist Front), a left-wing group that split off from the PAP in 1961, resigned from Parliament, leaving the PAP as the sole representative party. In the general elections of 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980, the PAP won all of the seats in an expanding Parliament.

Workers' Party Secretary General J.B. Jeyaretnam became the first opposition party MP in 15 years when he won a 1981 by-election. Opposition parties gained small numbers of seats in the general elections of 1984 (2 seats out of a total of 79), 1988 (1 seat of 81), 1991 (4 seats of 81), 1997 (2 seats of 83), and 2001 (2 seats of
84). Meanwhile, the PAP share of the popular vote incontested seats increased from 65% in 1997 to 75% in 2001. Since the opposition has contested less than half the seats in the last two elections, overall voter support for the PAP may be somewhat higher.



ECONOMY

Sin gapore's strategic location on major sea lanes and industrious population have given the country an economic importance in Southeast Asia disproportionate to its small size. Upon independence in 1965, Singapore was faced with a lack of physical resources and a small domestic market. In response, the Singapore Government adopted a pro-business, pro-foreign investment, export-oriented economic policy framework, combined with state-directed investments in strategic government-owned corporations. Singapore's economic strategy proved a success, producing real growth that averaged 8.0% from 1960 to 1999. The economy picked up after the 1997 regional financial crisis, with a growth rate of 9.4% for 2000, but then fell back in tandem with the economic slowdown in the United States, Japan, and the European Union, as well as the worldwide electronics slump, so that GDP fell by 2.4% in 2001. The economy rebounded in 2002, up 2.2%, but is expected to register only 0%-1% growth in 2003, given the effect of SARS in the first half of the year and continued weakness in the export sector.

Singapore's largely corruption-free government, skilled work force, and advanced and efficient infrastructure have attracted investments from more than 3,000 multinational corporations from the United States, Japan, and Europe. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. Multinational corporations account for more than two-thirds of manufacturing output and direct export sales, although certain services sectors remain dominated by government-linked corporations.

Manufacturing and financial/business services are the twin engines of the Singapore economy and accounted for 26% and 63%, respectively, of Singapore's gross domestic product in 2002. The electronics industry leads Singapore's manufacturing sector, accounting for around 40% of Singapore's total industrial output, but the government also is prioritizing the development of the chemicals and biomedical /pharmaceutical industries.

To maintain its competitive position despite rising wages, the government seeks to promote higher value-added activities in the manufacturing and services sectors. It also has opened, or is in the process of opening, the financial services, telecommunications, and power generation and retailing sectors to foreign service providers and greater competition. The government also has pursued cost-cutting measures, including tax cuts and wage and rent reductions, to lower the cost of doing business in Singapore. The government also is actively negotiating free trade agreements with key trading partners, and has concluded one with the United States.

Trade, Investment, and Aid

Singapore's total trade in 2002 amounted to $243 billion, an increase of 3% from 2001, but below the level for 2000. Despite its small size, Singapore is the 12th-largest trading partner of the United States. In 2002, Singapore's imports totaled $117 billion, and exports totaled $126 billion. Malaysia was Singapore's main import source, as well as its largest export market, absorbing 17% of Singapore's exports, with the United States close behind. Re-exports accounted for 47% of Singapore's total sales to other countries in 2002. Singapore's principal exports are petroleum products, food and beverages, chemicals, textile and garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, and transport equipment. Singapore's main imports are aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, consumer electronics, microelectronics manufacturing equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, food and beverages, iron and steel, and textile yarns and fabrics.

Singapore continues to attract investment funds on a largescale despite its relatively high-cost operating environment. The United States leads in foreign investment, accounting for 35% of new commitments to the manufacturing sector in 2002. As of 2003, the stock of investment by U.S. companies in the manufacturing and services sectors in Singapore reached about $61.4 billion (total assets). The bulk of U.S. investment is in electronics manufacturing, oil refining and storage, and the chemical industry. More than 1,300 U.S. firms operate in Singapore.

The government also has encouraged firms to invest outside Singapore, with the country's total direct investments abroad reaching $53 billion by the end of 2000. China was the top destination, accounting for 15% of total overseas investments, followed by Hong Kong (11%), Malaysia (9.0%), Indonesia (6.0%), and the United States (5.0%).

The United States provides no bilateral aid to Singapore.


Labor

In 2002, Singapore had a total labor force of about 2.13 million. The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), the sole trade union federation, comprises almost 99% of total organized labor. Extensive legislation covers general labor and trade union matters. The Industrial Arbitration Court handles labor-management disputes that cannot be resolved informally through the Ministry of Labor. The Singapore Government has stressed the importance of cooperation between unions, management and government ("tripartism"), as well as the early resolution of disputes. There has been only one strike in the past 15 years.

Singapore has enjoyed virtually full employment for long periods of time. Amid slower economic growth, unemployment rose to 5.9% in September 2003. Much of the unemployment is structural, as low-skill manufacturing operations move overseas. To cope with labor shortages, the number of foreign workers in Singapore increased rapidly from 1990-97. Foreign workers still comprise 30% of the labor force; the great majority of these are unskilled workers.


Transportation and Communications

Situated at the crossroads of international shipping and air routes, Singapore is a center for transportation and communication in Southeast Asia. Singapore Changi International Airport is a regional aviation hub served by 62 international airlines and is being expanded with the construction of a third terminal slated for completion in 2006. The Port of Singapore is the world's busiest and ranks in second place globally as a center for containerized transshipment traffic. The country also is linked by road and rail to Malaysia and Thailand.

Telecommunications and Internet facilities are state-of-the-art, providing high-quality communications with the rest of the world. Radio and television stations are all ultimately government-owned or government-linked. The print media is dominated by a company with close ties to the government. Daily newspapers are published in English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.



FOREIGN RELATIONS

Singapore is nonaligned. It is a member of the United Nations—it occupied a rotational seat on the Security Council 2001-02—and several of its specialized and related agencies, and also of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth. Singapore has participated in UN peacekeeping/observer missions in Kuwait, Angola, Namibia, Cambodia, and East Timor. It provided a training unit to assist in training Iraqi police, and in October 2003, Singapore announced it would deploy a naval ship and an air force transport plane to the Persian Gulf to support the multinational coalition effort to bring stability and security to Iraq. Singapore supports the concept of Southeast Asian regionalism and plays an active role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.



DEFENSE

Singapore relies primarily on its own defense forces, which are continuously being modernized. The defense budget accounts for approximately 28% of government operating expenditures (or 5% of GDP). A career military force of 12,100 is supplemented by 37,900 persons on active National Service, which is compulsory for ablebodied young men, and another 225,000 reservists. The Singapore Armed Forces engage in joint training with all the ASEAN nations and with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and India.

Singapore is a member of the Five-Power Defense Arrangement together with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia. Intended to replace the former defense role of the British in the Singapore-Malaysia area, the arrangement obligates members to consult in the event of external threat and provides for stationing Commonwealth forces in Singapore.

Singapore has consistently supported a strong U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1990, the United States and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which allows United States access to Singapore facilities at Paya Lebar Airbase and the Sembawang wharves. Under the MOU, a U.S. Navy logistics unit was established in Singapore in 1992; U.S. fighter aircraft deploy periodically to Singapore for exercises, and a number of U.S. military vessels visit Singapore. The MOU was amended in 1999 to permit U.S. naval vessels to berth at the Changi Naval Base, which was completed in early 2001. In October 2003, Singapore and the U.S. announced their intention to expand cooperation in defense and security, and to negotiate a Framework Agreement for a Strategic Cooperation Partnership.



U.S.-SINGAPORE RELATIONS

The United States has maintained formal diplomatic relations with Singapore since that country became independent in 1965. Singapore's efforts to maintain economic growth and political stability and its support for regional cooperation harmonize with U.S. policy in the region and form a solid basis for amicable relations between the two countries. The United States and Singapore signed a bilateral free trade agreement on May 6, 2003; the agreement will enter into force on January 1, 2004. The growth of U.S. investment in Singapore and the large number of Americans living there enhance opportunities for contact between Singapore and the United States. Many Singaporeans visit and study in the United States. Singapore is a Visa Waiver Program country.

The U.S. Government sponsors visitors from Singapore each year under the International Visitor Program.

The U.S. Government provides Fulbright awards to enable selected American professors to teach or conduct research at the National University of Singapore and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. It awards scholarships to outstanding Singaporean students for graduate studies at American universities and to American students to study in Singapore. The U.S. Government also sponsors occasional cultural presentations in Singapore. The East-West Center and private American organizations, such as the Asia and Ford Foundations, also sponsor exchanges involving Singaporeans.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Singapore (E), 27 Napier Rd., Singapore 258508 • PSC Box 470, FPO AP 96507-0001, Tel [65] 6476-9100, Fax 6476-9340. Website: www.singapore.usembassy.org

AMB: Franklin L. Lavin
AMB OMS: [Vacant]
CHG: John Medeiros
ECO/POL: Laurent D. Charbonnet
MGT: An T. Le
PAO: David R. Andresen
IMO: Jeffrey R. Hill
GSO: [Vacant]
CON: Lynn D. Gutensohn
RMO: Dr. Thomas W. Yun
RSO: Aurelia L. Fedenisn
ATO: Bonnie Borris (res. Kuala Lumpur)
COM: George Ruffner
CUS: Matthew H. King
LEGATT: Christopher Reimann
DAO: CAPT Charles R. Cleveland
ODC: COL Gray Donnalley
DEA: Stephen T. Marchini
FAA: Elizabeth Erickson
FAA/IFO: David M. Smith
INS: Mario R. Ortiz
IRS: [Vacant]
USCG: Oscar Stallings
TSA: Joseph Ochoa, Acting


FAA, Changi Airport Terminal 2, South Finger, 4th Fl., • Unit No. 048-006/009, Singapore 819642, FAA Tel
[65] 543-1466, Fax 543-1952; IFO Tel 545-5822, Fax 545-9772; CASIFO/CASLO Tel 545-8077, Fax 545-2318.


AGR/ATO, 541 Orchard Road, • Unit No. 15-03. Liat Towers, Singapore 238881, Tel [65] 737-1233, Fax 732-8307. USCG Midet Singapore, PSA Sembawang Terminal Building 7-4, Stores Road, Singapore 759819.


Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003



TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
January 20, 2004


Country Description: Singapore is a small, stable, highly developed parliamentary democracy. Tourist facilities are modern and widely available. Singapore's resident population of over 3 million inhabitants is comprised of 78% Chinese, 14% Malay, 7% Indian and 1% others. English is widely spoken.


Entry Requirements: A valid passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if their visit is for business or pleasure and their stay is for 90 days or less. Travelers to the region should note that some neighboring countries, particularly Indonesia, do not allow Americans to enter with fewer than six months of validity remaining on their passport under any circumstances. Specific information about entry requirements for Singapore may be sought from the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore at 3501 International Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100. Please see also the Embassy of Sing apore's website, www.mfa.gov.sg/washington/.


Dual Nationality: Singapore does not recognize dual nationality beyond the age of 21, and it strictly enforces universal national service (NS) for all male citizens and permanent residents. Male U.S. citizens who automatically acquired Singapore an citizenship and continue to reside in Singapore are liable for Singapore national service once they reach the age of 18. Travel abroad of Singaporean males may require Singapore Government approval as they approach national service age and may be restricted when they reach seventeen-and-a-half years of age. Under Singaporean law, an individual who automatically acquires Singaporean citizenship at birth retains that status even after acquiring U.S. citizenship. Males may renounce Singaporean citizenship only after completion of at least two years of national service. Possession of U.S. citizenship does not prevent Singaporean citizens from being subject to this law. Dual nationals and their parents should contact the Ministry of Defense in Singapore to determine if there will be a national service obligation. For additional information, please see the Bureau of Consular Affairs' website, http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer, and contact the Ministry of Defense Central Manpower Base (tel. 65-6373-3127), or visit http://cmpb.miw.com.sg.

National service-liable males who migrated from Singapore before age 11 and have not enjoyed significant socio-economic benefits of citizenship (e.g. applied for a Singapore identity card or studied in Singapore beyond the age of 11), will be allowed to renounce their Singapore citizenship if they do not wish to fulfill their NS obligations.

They will be required to register for national service with Central Manpower Base and apply for deferment from full-time NS until the age of 21, pending the renunciation of their Singapore citizenship. They can continue to make short social visits to Singapore and will not be required to serve NS if they renounced their citizenship at age 21.


Crime Information: Major crimes against tourists in Singapore are uncommon. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and purse or briefcase snatching occur in tourist areas, hotels and at the airport. Travelers should exercise the same caution that they would in any large city. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the U.S. Embassy. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs' website, http://travel.state.gov.


Safety and Security Information: Twice in the past few years, Singapore security services arrested members of Jemaah Islamiya, a terrorist network with links to Al Qaida. The network had planned attacks against government and private targets in Singapore associated with the U.S., Singapore, and other countries. In the aftermath of terrorist bombings in Indonesia in October 2002 and August 2003, however, the Department of State is concerned that similar attacks may occur in other Southeast Asian nations because extremist groups present in Southeast Asia have demonstrated transnational capabilities to carry out attacks against locations where Westerners congregate. Terrorist groups do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Americans residing in or traveling to Singapore and neighboring countries should therefore exercise particular caution, especially in locations where Westerners congregate, such as clubs, discos, bars, restaurants, hotels, places of worship, schools, outdoor recreation venues, tourist areas, resorts, beaches and other places frequented by foreigners. They should remain vigilant regarding their personal security.


U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time to review and ensure the adequacy of their security postures. In such instances, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to American citizens. Americans are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. For more information on terrorist threats against Americans worldwide, please see the Department of State's Worldwide Caution Public Announcement at http://travel.state.gov/.


Medical Facilities: Good medical care is widely available. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment for health services by credit card or cash and generally do not accept U.S. health insurance. Recipients of health care should be aware that Ministry of Health auditors in certain circumstances may be granted access to patient medical records without the consent of the patient, and, in certain circumstances, physicians may be required to provide information relating to the diagnosis or treatment without the patient's consent.


Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.


Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at tel. 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or the CDC's website, www.cdc.gov. Further health information for travelers is available at the World Health Organization's website, www.who.int/ith, or the Singapore Ministry of Health's website, http://app.moh.gov.sg/. For information from the Department of State on SARS, please consult the SARS Fact Sheet at http://travel.state.gov/sars_notice.html.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Singapore is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:


Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Roads Condition/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Excellent


Motorists should be particularly aware of motorcyclists, who often ignore lane markings. Lanes are frequently closed without warning due to constant construction throughout the city. Public transportation and taxis are abundant and inexpensive. Visitors should consider taking taxis or public transportation, which is widely available, inexpensive and reliable. The Automobile Association of Singapore provides roadside assistance, and the Land Transport Authority has rescue vehicles on the road at all hours. In addition, closed circuit cameras monitor all roads, and there are "SOS" phones along all expressways. As with all laws in Singapore, those involving traffic rules, vehicle registration, and liability in case of accident are strictly enforced, and they may involve criminal penalties. For specific information concerning Singaporean driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Singaporean National Tourist Board located at 590 Fifth Ave., Twelfth Floor, New York, N.Y. 10036 at tel. 1-212-302-4861, or fax: 1-212-302-4801.


Aviation Safety Oversight: U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Singapore's Civil Aviation Authority as category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Singapore's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. 1-618-229-4801.

Customs Regulations: Singapore customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Singapore of items such as weapons, illegal drugs, certain religious materials, chewing gum, pornographic material, videotapes, CDs, DVDs, and software (for censorship or pirating reasons). The definition of "weapon" enforced by Singapore customs is very broad, and, in addition to firearms, includes many items which are not necessarily seen as weapons in the US, such as dive knives, kitchen knives, handcuffs, and expended shell casings. Carrying any of these items without permission may result in your immediate arrest. All baggage is x-rayed at every port of entry, so placing such items in checked baggage will not allow you to bring it into the country.

It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Singapore in Washington, D.C. for specific information regarding customs requirements or you can visit Singapore Customs' website, http://www.customs.gov.sg. Singapore customs officials encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA carnet headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or send e-mail to [email protected] or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.


Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Singaporean laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

Visitors should be aware of Singapore's strict laws and penalties for a variety of actions that might not be illegal or might be considered minor offenses in the United States, including jaywalking, littering and spitting, as well as the importation and sale of chewing gum. Singapore has a mandatory caning sentence for vandalism offenses. Caning may also be imposed for immigration violations and other offenses. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. Singapore has a mandatory death penalty for many narcotics offenses. Commercial disputes that may be handled as civil suits in the United States can escalate to criminal cases in Singapore and result in heavy fines and prison sentences. There are no jury trials in Singapore. Judges hear cases and decide sentencing. The Government of Singapore does not provide legal assistance except in capital cases.


Consular Access: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. Singapore is not a signatory to any international or bilateral conventions on consular access, but, in practice, Singapore officials do notify the U.S. Embassy when an American is arrested, and they do allow visits by the consular officer.


Special Circumstances: Automated teller machines (ATMs) are plentiful in Singapore, and they are the best method of obtaining cash. Bank transfers generally take weeks, and surcharges are steep, but wire transfers from commercial services such as American Express and Western Union are generally more efficient. Americans may be asked by police or employers to surrender their passports in lieu of surety (guaranteed) bonds. Americans should carefully consider whether they wish to surrender their passport rather than seek some other type of surety, particularly if the passport is requested by someone who is not a government official (e.g., an employer).


Disaster Preparedness: Singapore conducts extensive disaster preparedness training. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov.


Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our website, http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and abductions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.


Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting Singapore are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore or online via the Department of State Travel Registration website. The Embassy is located at 27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508, tel. [65] 6476-9100, fax [65] 6476-9340; website, http://singapore.usembassy.gov. In case of emergencies after working hours, the duty officer at the Embassy may be contacted by calling tel. [65] 6476-9100.

International Parental Child Abduction

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, American Citizen Services. For more information, please read the Guarding Against International Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at travel.state.gov


General Information: Singapore is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Singapore and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. American citizens who travel to Singapore place themselves under the jurisdiction of local courts. American citizens planning a trip to Singapore with dual-national children should bear this in mind.


Custody Disputes: In Singapore, parents who are legally married share the custody of their children. If they are not married, by law the custody is granted to the mother unless there are known facts of inappropriate behavior, mental or social problems.


Enforcement of Foreign Judgments: Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Singapore, unless a Singaporean court formally recognizes them.


Visitation Rights: In cases where legal custody has been granted and the judgment has been rendered, the non-custodial parent can petition the court for visitation rights within the court-ordered decision or come to a verbal agreement with the custodial parent.


Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is not recognized under Singaporean law beyond the age of 21.


Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program: Separate from the two-parent signature requirement for U.S. passport issuance, parents may also request that their children's names be entered in the U.S. passport name-check system, also know as CPIAP. A parent or legal guardian can be notified by the Department of State's Office of Children's Issues before a passport is issued to his/her minor child. The parent, legal guardian or the court of competent jurisdiction must submit a written request for entry of a child's name into the Passport Issuance Alert program to the Office of Children's Issues. The CPIAP also provides denial of passport issuance if appropriate court orders are on file with the Office of Children's Issues. Although this system can be used to alert a parent or court when an application for a U.S. passport has been executed on behalf of a minor, it cannot be used to track the use of a passport that has already been issued. If there is a possibility that your child has another nationality you may want to contact the appropriate embassy or consulate directly to inquire about the possibility of denial of that country's passport. There is no requirement that foreign embassies adhere to U.S. regulations regarding issuance and denial of passports. For more information contact the Office of Children's Issues at 202-312-9700. General passport information is also available on the Office of Children's Issues home page on the Internet at travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html.

Travel Restrictions: No exit visas are required to leave Singapore.


Persons who wish to pursue a child custody claim in a Singaporean court should retain an attorney in Singapore. The American Embassy in Singapore maintains a list of attorneys willing to represent American clients. A copy of this list may be obtained by requesting one from the Embassy or at http://www.usembassysingapore.org.sg/embassy /amcit_attorney.html.

U.S. Embassy in Singapore
Consular Section
27 Napier Road
Singapore 258508
Telephone: 011-65-6476-9100
Fax: 011-65-6476-9232


Website: www.usembassysingapore.org.sg


*The workweek for the American Citizen Services Section of the Embassy is Monday through Friday from 8:30AM to 12:00Noon and 2:00PM to 3:30PM.


Questions involving Singaporean law should be addressed to a Singaporean attorney or to the Embassy of Singapore in the United States at:


Embassy of Singapore
3501 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 537-3100

views updated

SINGAPORE

Compiled from the September 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Singapore


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

685 sq. km. (264 sq. mi.).

Cities:

Capital—Singapore (country is a city-state).

Terrain:

Lowland.

Climate:

Tropical.

People

Population (2004):

4.24 million (including permanent residents, foreign workers).

Annual growth rate:

1.3% (total); 1.4% (residents).

Ethnic groups:

Chinese 77%, Malays 14%, Indians 8%.

Religion:

Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu.

Language:

English, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects, Malay, Tamil.

Education:

Years compulsory—six. Attendance—94%. Literacy—94.2%.

Health (2003):

Infant mortality rate—2.5/1,000. Life expectancy—77 yrs. male, 81 yrs. female.

Work force (June 2004, 2.16 million):

Manufacturing and commerce—37%; services—41%.

Government

Type:

Parliamentary republic.

Constitution:

June 3, 1959 (amended 1965 and 1991).

Independence:

August 9, 1965.

Branches:

Executive—president (chief of state, 6-yr. term); prime minister (head of government). Legislative—unicameral 84-member Parliament (maximum 5-yr. term). Judicial—High Court, Court of Appeal, subordinate courts.

Political parties:

People's Action Party (PAP), Workers' Party (WP), Singapore's Peoples Party (SPP), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

Suffrage:

Universal and compulsory at 21.

Central government budget (FY 2004 est.):

$18.2 billion.

Defense (FY 2004 est.):

5.4% of gross domestic product.

National holiday:

August 9.

Economy

GDP (2004 real, 1995 prices):

$110 billion.

Annual real growth rate:

2.2% (2002); 1.1% (2003), 8.4% (2004).

Per capita GNP (2004—purchasing power parity):

$24,560.

Natural resources:

None.

Agriculture (under 0.5% of GDP):

Products—poultry, orchids, vegetables, fruits, ornamental fish.

Manufacturing (27% of real GDP):

Types—electronic and electrical products and components, petroleum products, machinery and metal products, chemical and pharmaceutical products, transport equipment (mainly aircraft repairs/maintenance, shipbuilding and repair), food and beverages, printing and publishing, textiles and garments, plastic products/modules, instrumentation equipment.

Trade (2004):

Exports—$185 billion: petroleum products, food/beverages, chemicals, textile/garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, transport equipment. Major markets—Malaysia (15%), U.S. (12%), EU (14%), Hong Kong (10%), Japan (6%), and China (10%). Imports—$169 billion: aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, radio and television receivers/parts, motor vehicles, chemicals, food/beverages, iron/steel, textile yarns/fabrics. Major suppliers—Malaysia (15%), U.S. (13%), Japan (12%), EU (13%), and China (10%).


PEOPLE

Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The annual growth rate for 2004 was 1.3%, including resident foreigners. Singapore has a varied linguistic, cultural, and religious heritage. Malay is the national language, but Chinese, English, and Tamil also are official languages. English is the language of administration and also is widely used in the professions, businesses, and schools.

The government has mandated that English be the primary language used at all levels of the school systems, and it aims to provide at least 10 years of education for every child. In 2003, primary and secondary school students totaled about 506,000, or 12% of the entire population. In 2003, enrollment at the universities was 55,426 (full-time, part-time, and post-graduate) and 62,206 at the polytechnics. The Institute of Technical Education for basic technical and commerce skills has almost 17,941 students. The country's literacy rate is 94%.

Singapore generally allows religious freedom, although religious groups are subject to government scrutiny, and some religious sects are restricted or banned. Almost all Malays are Muslim; other Singaporeans are Taoists, Buddhists, Confucianists, Christians, Hindus, or Sikhs.


HISTORY

Although Singapore's history dates from the 11th century, the island was little known to the West until the 19th century, when in 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived as an agent of the British East India Company. In 1824, the British purchased Singapore Island, and by 1825, the city of Singapore had become a major port, with trade exceeding that of Malaya's Malacca and Penang combined. In 1826, Singapore, Penang, and Malacca were combined as the Straits Settlements to form an outlying residency of the British East India Company; in 1867, the Straits Settlements were made a British Crown Colony, an arrangement that continued until 1946.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of steamships launched an era of prosperity for Singapore as transit trade expanded throughout Southeast Asia. In the 20th century, the automobile industry's demand for rubber from Southeast Asia and the packaging industry's need for tin helped make Singapore one of the world's major ports.

In 1921, the British constructed a naval base, which was soon supplemented by an air base. But the Japanese captured the island in February 1942, and it remained under their control until September 1945, when the British returned.

In 1946, the Straits Settlements was dissolved; Penang and Malacca became part of the Malayan Union, and Singapore became a separate British Crown Colony. In 1959, Singapore became self-governing, and, in 1963, it joined the newly independent Federation of Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak—the latter two former British Borneo territories—to form Malaysia.

Indonesia adopted a policy of "confrontation" against the new federation, charging that it was a "British colonial creation," and severed trade with Malaysia. The move particularly affected Singapore, since Indonesia had been the island's second-largest trading partner. The political dispute was resolved in 1966, and Indonesia resumed trade with Singapore.

After a period of friction between Singapore and the central government in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore separated from Malaysia on August 9, 1965, and became an independent republic.


GOVERNMENT

According to the constitution, as amended in 1965, Singapore is a republic with a parliamentary system of government. Political authority rests with the prime minister and the cabinet. The prime minister is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties having the majority of seats in Parliament. The president, who is chief of state, previously exercised only ceremonial duties. As a result of 1991 constitutional changes, the president is now elected and exercises expanded powers over legislative appointments, government budgetary affairs, and internal security matters.

The unicameral Parliament currently consists of 84 members elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage, and nine "nominated" members of Parliament. A constitutional provision assures at least three opposition members, even if fewer than three actually are elected. A "nonconstituency" seat held by the opposition under this provision since 1997 was again filled after the last election. In the last general election, in November 2001, the governing People's Action Party (PAP) won 82 of the 84 seats. The president appoints nominated members of Parliament from among nominations by a special select committee. Nominated members of Parliament enjoy the same privileges as members of Parliament but cannot vote on constitutional matters or expenditures of funds. The maximum term of anyone in Parliament is 5 years. Voting has been compulsory since 1959.

Judicial power is vested in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The High Court exercises original criminal and civil jurisdiction in serious cases as well as appellate jurisdiction from subordinate courts. Its chief justice, senior judge, and six judges are appointed by the president. Appeals from the High Court are heard by the Court of Appeal. The right of appeal to the Privy Council in London was abolished effective April 1994.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 9/1/2005

President: Sellapan Rama NATHAN
Prime Minister: LEE Hsien Loong, Brig. Gen.
Dep. Prime Min. (Foreign Affairs): Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR
Dep. Prime Min.: WONG Kan Seng
Senior Min., Office of the Prime Minister: GOH Chok Tong
Min. Mentor, Office of the Prime Minister: LEE Kuan Yew
Coordinating Min. for National Security: Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR
Min. for Community Development, Youth, & Sports: Vivian BALAKRISHNAN
Min. for Defense: TEO Chee Hean, RAdm. (Ret.)
Min. for Education: Tharman SHANMUGARATNAM
Min. for the Environment: LIM Swee Say
Min. for Finance: LEE Hsien Loong, Brig. Gen.
Min. for Foreign Affairs: George YEO Yong Boon, Brig. Gen.
Min. for Health: KHAW Boon Wan
Min. for Home Affairs: WONG Kan Seng
Min. for Information, Communications, & the Arts: LEE Boon Yang
Min. for Law: Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR
Min. for Manpower: NG Eng Hen
Min. in Charge of Muslim Affairs: YAACOB Ibrahim
Min. for National Development: MAH Bow Tan
Min. for Trade & Industry: LIM Hng Kiang
Min. for Transport: YEO Cheow Tong
Min., Prime Minister's Office: LIM Swee Say
Min., Prime Minister's Office: LIM Boon Heng
Chmn., Monetary Authority of Singapore: GOH Chok Tong
Ambassador to the US: CHAN Heng Chee
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Vanu Gopala MENON

Singapore maintains an embassy in the United States at 3501 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202/537-3100, fax 202/537-0876).


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The ruling political party in Singapore, reelected continuously since 1959, is the People's Action Party (PAP), now headed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Lee succeeded Goh Chok Tong on August 12, 2004. Goh now serves as 'senior minister' and Lee Kuan Yew holds the title 'Minister Mentor', a newly created position.

The PAP has held the overwhelming majority of seats in Parliament since 1966, when the opposition Barisan Sosialis Party (Socialist Front), a left-wing group that split off from the PAP in 1961, resigned from Parliament, leaving the PAP as the sole representative party. In the general elections of 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980, the PAP won all of the seats in an expanding Parliament.

Workers' Party Secretary General J.B. Jeyaretnam became the first opposition party member of Parliament in 15 years when he won a 1981 by-election. Opposition parties gained small numbers of seats in the general elections of 1984 (2 seats out of a total of 79), 1988 (1 seat of 81), 1991 (4 seats of 81), 1997 (2 seats of 83), and 2001 (2 seats of 84). Meanwhile, the PAP share of the popular vote in contested seats increased from 65% in 1997 to 75% in 2001. Since the opposition has contested less than half the seats in the last two elections, overall voter support for the PAP may be somewhat higher.


ECONOMY

Singapore's strategic location on major sea lanes and industrious population have given the country an economic importance in Southeast Asia disproportionate to its small size. Upon independence in 1965, Singapore was faced with a lack of physical resources and a small domestic market. In response, the Singapore Government adopted a pro-business, pro-foreign investment, export-oriented economic policy framework, combined with state-directed investments in strategic government-owned corporations. Singapore's economic strategy proved a success, producing real growth that averaged 8.0% from 1960 to 1999. The economy picked up after the 1997 regional financial crisis, with a growth rate of 9.4% for 2000, but then fell back in tandem with the economic slowdown in the United States, Japan, and the European Union (EU), as well as the worldwide electronics slump, so that GDP shrank by 2.4% in 2001. The economy rebounded in 2002, up 2.2%, but declined to 1.1% growth in 2003, due to the effect of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the first half of the year. In 2004, the economy expanded by 8.4%, driven by the growth in world electronics demand and in the economies of its major trading partners, the U.S., EU, China, and Japan.

Singapore's largely corruption-free government, skilled work force, and advanced and efficient infrastructure have attracted investments from more than 7,000 multinational corporations from the United States, Japan, and Europe. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. Multinational corporations account for more than two-thirds of manufacturing output and direct export sales, although certain services sectors remain dominated by government-linked companies.

Manufacturing and services are the twin engines of the Singapore economy and accounted for 27% and 62%, respectively, of Singapore's gross domestic product in 2004. The electronics industry leads Singapore's manufacturing sector, accounting for 40% of Singapore's total industrial output, but the government also is prioritizing the development of the chemicals and biomedical/pharmaceutical industries.

To maintain its competitive position despite rising wages, the government seeks to promote higher value-added activities in the manufacturing and services sectors. It also has opened, or is in the process of opening, the financial services, telecommunications, and power generation and retailing sectors to foreign service providers and greater competition. The government also has pursued cost-cutting measures, including tax cuts and wage and rent reductions, to lower the cost of doing business in Singapore. The government also is actively negotiating free trade agreements with key trading partners, and concluded one with the United States that came into force January 1, 2004.

Trade, Investment, and Aid

Singapore's total trade in 2004 amounted to $354 billion, an increase of 27% from 2003. Despite its small size, Singapore is the 15th-largest trading partner of the United States. In 2004, Singapore's imports totaled $169 billion, and exports totaled $185 billion. Malaysia was Singapore's main import source, as well as its largest export market, absorbing 15% of Singapore's exports, with the United States falling behind to 12%, from 15% in 2002. Re-exports accounted for 45% of Singapore's total sales to other countries in 2004. Singapore's principal exports are petroleum products, food and beverages, chemicals, textile and garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, and transport equipment. Singapore's main imports are aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, consumer electronics, microelectronics manufacturing equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, food and beverages, iron and steel, and textile yarns and fabrics.

Singapore continues to attract investment funds on a large scale despite its relatively high-cost operating environment. The United States leads in foreign investment, accounting for 33% of new commitments to the manufacturing sector in 2004. As of 2003, the stock of investment by U.S. companies in the manufacturing and services sectors in Singapore reached about $61.4 billion (total assets). The bulk of U.S. investment is in electronics manufacturing, oil refining and storage, and the chemical industry. More than 1,500 U.S. firms operate in Singapore.

The government also has encouraged firms to invest outside Singapore, with the country's total direct investments abroad reaching $93 billion by the end of 2003. China was the top destination, accounting for 12% of total overseas investments, followed by Hong Kong (8%), Malaysia (9%), Indonesia (7%), and the United States (6%).

The United States provides no bilateral aid to Singapore.

Labor

In December 2004, Singapore had a total labor force of about 2.3 million.

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), the sole trade union federation, comprises almost 99% of total organized labor. Extensive legislation covers general labor and trade union matters. The Industrial Arbitration Court handles labor-management disputes that cannot be resolved informally through the Ministry of Labor. The Singapore Government has stressed the importance of cooperation between unions, management, and government ("tripartism"), as well as the early resolution of disputes. There has been only one strike in the past 15 years.

Singapore has enjoyed virtually full employment for long periods of time. Amid slower economic growth in 2003, unemployment rose to 4.6%. As of end-June 2005, the rate of unemployment dropped to 3.4%. Much of the unemployment is structural, as low-skill manufacturing operations move overseas. From 1990 to 1997, the number of foreign workers in Singapore increased rapidly to cope with labor shortages. Foreign workers comprise 27% of the labor force; the great majority of these are unskilled workers.

Transportation and Communications

Situated at the crossroads of international shipping and air routes, Singapore is a center for transportation and communication in Southeast Asia. Singapore Changi International Airport is a regional aviation hub served by 68 international airlines. It is being expanded with the construction of a third terminal, as well as a dedicated low-cost terminal for budget airlines, both slated for completion in 2006. The Port of Singapore is among the world's busiest and ranks second globally as a center for containerized transshipment traffic, after Hong Kong. The country also is linked by road and rail to Malaysia and Thailand.

Telecommunications and Internet facilities are state-of-the-art, providing high-quality communications with the rest of the world. Radio and television stations are all ultimately government-owned or government-linked. The print media is dominated by a company with close ties to the government. Daily newspapers are published in English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.


DEFENSE

Singapore relies primarily on its own defense forces, which are continuously being modernized. The defense budget accounts for approximately 31% of government operating expenditures (or 5% of GDP). A career military force of 14,200 is supplemented by 40,800 persons on active National Service, which is compulsory for able-bodied young men, and approximately another 225,000 reservists. The Singapore Armed Forces engage in joint training with all the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and India.

Singapore is a member of the Five-Power Defense Arrangement together with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia. Intended to replace the former defense role of the British in the Singapore-Malaysia area, the arrangement obligates members to consult in the event of external threat and provides for stationing Commonwealth forces in Singapore.

Singapore has consistently supported a strong U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1990, the United States and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which allows United States access to Singapore facilities at Paya Lebar Airbase and the Sembawang wharves. Under the MOU, a U.S. Navy logistics unit was established in Singapore in 1992; U.S. fighter aircraft deploy periodically to Singapore for exercises, and a number of U.S. military vessels visit Singapore. The MOU was amended in 1999 to permit U.S. naval vessels to berth at the Changi Naval Base, which was completed in early 2001. In October 2003, Singapore and the U.S. announced their intention to expand cooperation in defense and security, and to negotiate a Framework Agreement for a Strategic Cooperation Partnership.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Singapore is nonaligned. It is a member of the United Nations—it occupied a rotational seat on the Security Council 2001-02—and several of its specialized and related agencies, and also of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth. Singapore has participated in UN peacekeeping/observer missions in Kuwait, Angola, Namibia, Cambodia, and East Timor. It provided a training unit to assist in training Iraqi police, and in October 2003, Singapore deployed a naval ship and an air force transport plane to the Persian Gulf to support the multinational coalition effort to bring stability and security to Iraq. Singapore supports the concept of Southeast Asian regionalism and plays an active role in ASEAN and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.


U.S.-SINGAPORE RELATIONS

The United States has maintained formal diplomatic relations with Singapore since that country became independent in 1965. Singapore's efforts to maintain economic growth and political stability and its support for regional cooperation harmonize with U.S. policy in the region and form a solid basis for amicable relations between the two countries. The United States and Singapore signed a bilateral free trade agreement on May 6, 2003; the agreement entered into force on January 1, 2004. The growth of U.S. investment in Singapore and the large number of Americans living there enhance opportunities for contact between Singapore and the United States. Many Singaporeans visit and study in the United States. Singapore is a Visa Waiver Program country.

The U.S. Government sponsors visitors from Singapore each year under the International Visitor Program. The U.S. Government provides Fulbright awards to enable selected American professors to teach or conduct research at the National University of Singapore and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. It awards scholarships to outstanding Singaporean students for graduate studies at American universities and to American students to study in Singapore. The U.S. Government also sponsors occasional cultural presentations in Singapore. The East-West Center and private American organizations, such as the Asia and Ford Foundations, also sponsor exchanges involving Singaporeans.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SINGAPORE (E) Address: 27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508; APO/FPO: FPO AP 96507; Phone: [65] 6476-9100; Fax: [65] 6476-9340; Workweek: 8:30 am-5:15 p.m. (Mondays to Fridays); Website: http://singapore.usembassy.gov.

AMB:Patricia L. Herbold
AMB OMS:Kimberly A. Keck
DCM:Judith R. Fergin
DCM OMS:Elizabeth Babroski
POL/ECO:Laurent D. Charbonnet
CON:Julie L. Kavanagh
MGT:Karen C. Stanton
AFSA:Susan W. Wong
AGR:Jonathan Gressel
CLO:Lynn Finchum/Sonia Smith
CUS:Matthew H. King
DAO:C. Rivers Cleveland
DEA:Russell Holske
EEO:L. Gabrielle Cowan
FAA:Nancy J. Graham
FCS:George Ruffner
FMO:Robert A. Wert
GSO:Michelle A. Burton
ICASS Chair:Valerie C. Fowler
IMO:Thomas C. Proctor
IPO:Arthur T. Day
ISO:Robert S. Blankenship
ISSO:Thomas C. Proctor
PAO:Valerie C. Fowler
RSO:Aurelia L. Fedenisn
State ICASS:Aurelia L. Fedenisn
Last Updated: 12/26/2005

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

July 11, 2005

Country Description:

Singapore is a small, stable, highly developed country with an elected parliamentary system of government. Tourist facilities are modern and widely available. Singapore's resident population of over 3.48 million inhabitants is comprised of 77% Chinese, 14% Malay, 8% Indian and 1% others. English is widely spoken.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

A valid passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if their visit is for business or pleasure and their stay is for 90 days or less. Travelers to the region should note that Singapore and some neighboring countries, particularly Indonesia, do not allow Americans to enter with fewer than six months of validity remaining on their passport under any circumstances. Female U.S. citizens who are pregnant when they apply to enter Singapore for a social visit are no longer required to make prior application through the nearest Singapore overseas mission or to provide documentation from a U.S. Embassy concerning the nationality of their child, when born.

Specific information about entry requirements for Singapore may be sought from the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore at 3501 International Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100. Visit the Embassy of Singapore's web site at http://www.mfa.gov.sg/washington/ for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security:

Since December 2001, Singapore security services have detained more than three dozen members of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda. JI had planned attacks against government and private targets in Singapore associated with the United States, Singapore and other countries. In the aftermath of terrorist bombings in Indonesia in October 2002, August 2003 and September 2004, the Department of State is concerned that similar attacks may occur in other Southeast Asian nations because extremist groups present in Southeast Asia have demonstrated transnational capabilities to carry out attacks against locations where Westerners congregate. Terrorist groups do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Americans residing in or traveling to Singapore and neighboring countries should therefore exercise particular caution, especially in locations where Americans and other Westerners live, congregate, shop or visit, including, but not limited to, hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, shopping centers, identifiably Western businesses, housing compounds, transportation systems, places of worship, schools, tourist areas, resorts, beaches or public recreation events/venues. U.S. citizens should remain vigilant about their personal security.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov/ where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Major crimes against tourists in Singapore are uncommon. Petty crimes such as pick pocketing and purse or briefcase snatching occur in tourist areas, hotels and at the airport. Travelers should exercise the same caution that they would in any large city.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Good medical care is widely available in Singapore. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment for health services by credit card or cash and generally do not accept U.S. health insurance. Recipients of health care should be aware that Ministry of Health auditors in certain circumstances may be granted access to patient medical records without the consent of the patient, and, in certain circumstances, physicians may be required to provide information relating to the diagnosis or treatment without the patient's consent.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Singapore is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Singapore has a highly developed and well-maintained road and highway network. Driving is done on the left-hand side of the road and motorists should be particularly aware of motorcyclists, who often ignore lane markings. Lanes are frequently closed without warning due to constant construction throughout the city. Public transportation and taxis are abundant and inexpensive. Visitors should consider using this form of transportation, which is widely available and reliable. The Automobile Association of Singapore provides roadside assistance, and the Land Transport Authority has rescue vehicles on the road at all hours. In addition, closed circuit cameras monitor all roads. As with all laws in Singapore, those involving traffic rules, vehicle registration, and liability in case of accident are strictly enforced, and they may involve criminal penalties. For specific information concerning Singaporean driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Singaporean National Tourist Board located at 590 Fifth Ave., Twelfth Floor, New York, N.Y. 10036 at Tel. 1-212-302-4861, or fax: 1-212-302-4801.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Singapore as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Singapore's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances:

Singapore customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import and export of items such as weapons, illegal drugs, certain religious materials, pornographic material, videotapes, CDs, DVDs, and software (for censorship or pirating reasons). The definition of "weapon" enforced by Singapore customs is very broad, and, in addition to firearms, includes many items which are not necessarily seen as weapons in the United States, such as dive knives, kitchen knives, handcuffs, and expended shell casings. Carrying any of these items without permission may result in your immediate arrest. All baggage is x-rayed at every port of entry, so placing such items in checked baggage will not allow you to bring it into the country.

It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Singapore in Washington, D.C. at 3501 International Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100, http://www.mfa.gov.sg/washington/, for specific information regarding customs requirements. You may also visit Singapore Customs' web site, http://www.customs.gov.sg/. Singapore customs officials encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA carnet headquarters located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call 1-212-354-4480, or send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit http://www.uscib.org/ for details.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are plentiful in Singapore, and they are the best method of obtaining cash. Bank transfers generally take weeks, and surcharges are steep. Transfers from commercial services such as American Express and Western Union are generally efficient. Americans may be asked by police or employers to surrender their passports in lieu of surety (guaranteed) bonds. Americans should carefully consider whether they wish to surrender their passport rather than seek some other type of surety, particularly if the passport is requested by someone who is not a government official (e.g., an employer).

Note that Singapore does not recognize dual nationality beyond the age of 21, and it strictly enforces universal national service (NS) for all male citizens and permanent residents. Male U.S. citizens who automatically acquired Singaporean citizenship and continue to reside in Singapore are liable for Singapore national service once they reach the age of 18. Travel abroad of Singaporean males may require Singapore Government approval as they approach national service age and may be restricted when they reach sixteen-and-a-half years of age. Under Singaporean law, an individual who automatically acquires Singaporean citizenship at birth retains that status even after acquiring U.S. citizenship. Males may renounce Singaporean citizenship only after completion of at least two years of national service. Possession of U.S. citizenship does not prevent Singaporean citizens from being subject to this law. Dual nationals and their parents should contact the Ministry of Defense in Singapore to determine if there will be a national service obligation.

National service-liable males who migrated from Singapore before age 11 and have not enjoyed significant socio-economic benefits of citizenship (e.g., applied for a Singapore identity card or studied in Singapore beyond the age of 11) will be allowed to renounce their Singapore citizenship if they do not wish to fulfill their NS obligations. They will be required to register for national service with Central Manpower Base and apply for deferment from full-time NS until the age of 21, pending the renunciation of their Singapore citizenship. They can continue to make short social visits to Singapore and will not be required to serve NS if they renounced their citizenship at age 21.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe in Singapore than for similar offenses in the United States, and persons violating Singapore laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

There are strict penalties for possession and use of drugs as well as for trafficking in illegal drugs. Singapore has a mandatory death penalty for many narcotics offenses. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Visitors should be aware of Singapore's strict laws and penalties for a variety of actions that might not be illegal or might be considered minor offenses in the United States. These include jaywalking, littering, and spitting. Singapore has a mandatory caning sentence for vandalism offenses and caning may also be imposed for immigration violations and other offenses. Commercial disputes that may be handled as civil suits in the United States can escalate to criminal cases in Singapore, and result in heavy fines and prison sentences. There are no jury trials in Singapore, judges hear cases and decide sentencing. The Government of Singapore does not provide legal assistance except in capital cases; legal assistance may be available in some other cases through the Law Society.

Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://www.travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in Singapore are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov/, and obtain updated information on travel and security within Singapore. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at 27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508, tel. [65] 6476-9100, fax [65] 6476-9340; web site, http://singapore.usembassy.gov/. In case of emergencies after working hours, the duty officer at the Embassy may be contacted by calling tel. [65] 6476-9100.

International Parental Child Abduction

January 2006

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at travel.state.gov.

Disclaimer:

The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

General Information:

Singapore is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Singapore and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. American citizens who travel to Singapore place themselves under the jurisdiction of local courts. American citizens planning a trip to Singapore with dual-national children should bear this in mind.

Custody Disputes:

In Singapore, parents who are legally married share the custody of their children. If they are not married, by law the custody is granted to the mother unless there are known facts of inappropriate behavior, mental or social problems.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments:

Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Singapore, unless a Singaporean court formally recognizes them.

Visitation Rights:

In cases where legal custody has been granted and the judgment has been rendered, the non-custodial parent can petition the court for visitation rights within the court-ordered decision or come to a verbal agreement with the custodial parent.

Dual Nationality:

Dual nationality is not recognized under Singaporean law beyond the age of 21.

Questions involving Singaporean law should be addressed to a Singaporean attorney or to the Embassy of Singapore in the United States at: Embassy of Singapore 3501 International Place, NW Washington, DC 20008 Telephone: (202) 537-3100. For further information on international parental child abduction, contact the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State at (202) 736-9090 or visit its web site on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. You may also direct inquiries to: Office of Children's Issues SA-29 U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20520-2818 Phone: (202) 736-9090 Fax: (202) 312-9743.

views updated

Singapore

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Singaporeans

35 Bibliography

Republic of Singapore

CAPITAL: Singapore

FLAG: The flag consists of a red stripe at the top and a white stripe on the bottom. On the red stripe, at the hoist, are a white crescent opening to the fly and five white stars.

ANTHEM: Long Live Singapore.

MONETARY UNIT: The Singapore dollar (s$) of 100 cents is a freely convertible currency. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 dollar and notes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 10,000 dollars. s$1 = us$0.60606 (or us$1 = s$1.65) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is in force, but some local measures are used.

HOLIDAYS: Major Western, Chinese, Malay, and Muslim holidays are celebrated, some of which fall on annually variable dates because of the calendars used. Major holidays include New Year’s Day, 1 January; Chinese New Year; Good Friday; Vesak Day (Buddhist festival); Labor Day, 1 May; Hari Raya Puasa (Muslim festival); National Day, 9 August; Hari Raya Haji (Malay Muslim festival); Dewali; Christmas, 25 December.

TIME: 8 pm = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

The Republic of Singapore, the second-smallest country in Asia, consists of Singapore Island and several smaller adjacent islets. Situated in the Indian Ocean off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore has an area of 692.7 square kilometers (267 square miles), slightly more than 3.5 times the size of Washington, D.C. Singapore is connected to the nearby western portion of Malaysia by a causeway across the narrow Johore Strait. The total coastline is 193 kilometers (120 miles). Singapore’s capital city, Singapore, is located on the country’s southern coast.

2 Topography

Singapore Island is mostly low-lying, green country with a small range of hills at the center. The highest point of the island is Bukit Timah at 166 meters (544 feet). The lowest point is at sea level (Singapore Strait). There are sections of rain forest in the center and large mangrove swamps along the coast, which has many inlets, particularly

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 692.7 sq km (267 sq mi)

Size ranking: 176 of 194

Highest elevation: 166 meters (544 feet) at Timah Hill (Bukit Timah)

Lowest elevation: Sea level at the Singapore Strait

Land Use*

Arable land: 1%

Permanent crops: 1%

Other: 98%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 228 centimeters (90 inches)

Average temperature in January: 26.1°c (79.0°f)

Average temperature in July: 27.4°c (81.3°f)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

larly in the north and west. Singapore’s harbor is wide, deep, and well protected. The longest river, the Seletar, is only 14 kilometers (9 miles long). There are 14 manmade reservoirs, built primarily for flood control and water use.

3 Climate

The climate is tropical, with heavy rainfall and high humidity. The range of temperature is slight; the average annual maximum is 31°c (88°f), and the average minimum is 24°c (75°f). The annual average rainfall of 228 centimeters (90 inches) is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year, ranging from 39 centimeters (15 inches) in December to 28 centimeters (11 inches) in May. It rains about every other day.

4 Plants and Animals

Singapore Island has been mostly cleared of the dense tropical forest that originally covered it. There is some rain forest in the central area of the island, however, and there are extensive mangrove swamps along the coast. Urban development has adversely affected animal life.

5 Environment

Air pollution from transportation vehicles is a problem in the nation’s growing urban areas. Singapore does not have enough water to support the needs of its people. Pollution from the nation’s oil industry is also a significant problem. Altogether, Singapore has lost 20–30% of its original mangrove area.

In 2006, 54 plant species, 3 mammal species, and 10 bird species were considered threatened. Endangered species in Singapore include the Ridley’s leaf-nosed bat, Chinese egret, yellow-crested cockatoo, batagur, tigers, and the Singapore roundleaf horseshoe bat.

6 Population

Singapore’s 2005 estimated population was 4.3 million; it was just 2.7 million at the time of the 1990 census. The population projection for 2025 is 5.1 million. The population density in 2005 was estimated at 6,329 persons per square kilometer (16,392 per square mile).

7 Migration

Immigration, rather than a natural increase in population, was the major factor in Singapore’s fast population growth through the mid-20th century. In November 1965, following separation from Malaysia, Singapore’s newly independent government introduced measures to restrict the flow of Malaysians entering the country in search of work, who had averaged 10,000 a year up to 1964. Immigration is now generally restricted to those with capital to invest in the country or with special professional skills. There were 1.4 million migrants living in Singapore in 2000. The share of foreigners in the workforce rose from 7% in 1975 to 25% in 2003. In 2005 the estimated net migration rate was 10.3 migrants per 1,000 population.

8 Ethnic Groups

The Singaporeans are predominantly of Chinese origin. In a 2002 report, about 77% were ethnic Chinese (most of them, however, were born in Singapore or in neighboring Malaysia). About 14% were Malays, 8% were Indians (including Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Sri Lankans), and 1.4% were of other varied ethnic origins.

9 Languages

There are four official languages: Chinese (Mandarin dialect), Malay, English, and Tamil. English is the principal medium of government and is widely used in commerce. By 1987, under a government mandate, English was made the primary language of the school system.

10 Religions

According to a 2000 census, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, as well as traditional ancestor worship, were practiced by about 51% of

the population (primarily the Chinese). Malays are almost exclusively Muslim. About 15% of the population practices Islam. Another 15% are Christian, with Protestants outnumbering Roman Catholics by about two to one. Most members of the Indian minority (4%) are Hindus. There are also small Sikh, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Jain communities.

11 Transportation

With a natural deepwater harbor that is open year-round, Singapore now ranks as the largest container port in the world, with facilities that can accommodate supertankers. Ships of some 600 shipping lines, flying the flags of nearly all the maritime nations of the world, regularly call at Singapore. In 2005, Singapore’s merchant fleet was comprised of 923 ships, totaling 23.1 million gross registered tons.

There are 10 airports. The two principal air facilities are Changi International and Seletar Airport. In 2003, 14.7 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

In 2003, there were 600,550 motor vehicles, of which 414,300 were automobiles. There were 3,150 kilometers (1,957 miles) of roadways in 2002, of which 3,066 kilometers (1,905 miles) were paved. Singapore’s sole rail facility is a 38.6-kilometer (24-mile) section of the Malayan Railways, which links Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

12 History

Singapore is thought to have been a thriving trading center in the 13th and 14th centuries, until it was devastated by a Javanese (residents of an island in present-day Indonesia) attack in 1377. Singapore remained nearly uninhabited until 1819, when Sir Stamford Raffles established a trading station there for the British East India Company. In 1826 it was incorporated with Malacca (Melaka, Malaysia) and Penang (Pinang, Malaysia) to form the Straits Settlements, which was its legal name until after World War II (1939–45). The trading center grew into the city of Singapore and attracted large numbers of Chinese, many of whom became merchants, until it became a largely Chinese-populated community.

A Nation Built on Trade With its excellent harbor, Singapore also became a flourishing commercial center and the leading seaport of Southeast Asia, handling the vast export trade in tin and rubber from British-ruled Malaya (present-day Malaysia). In 1938, the British completed construction of a large naval base on the island, which the Japanese captured in February 1942 during World War II, following a land-based attack from the Malay Peninsula to the north.

Recaptured by the United Kingdom in 1945, Singapore was detached from the Straits Settlements to become a separate crown colony in 1946. In 1959, Singapore became a self-governing state, and on 16 September 1963, it joined the new Federation of Malaysia (formed by uniting the previously independent Malaya and Singapore with the formerly British-ruled northern Borneo territories of Sarawak and Sabah).

Independence Singapore, with its mostly urban Chinese population and highly commercial economy, found itself at odds with the Malay-dominated central government of Malaysia. Frictions mounted, and on 9 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to become wholly independent in its own right as the Republic of Singapore. Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand formed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967. Brunei became a member of ASEAN in 1984. Harry Lee Kuan Yew, a major figure in the move toward independence, served as Singapore’s first prime minister.

The People’s Action Party (PAP), founded in 1954, has been the dominant political party, winning every general election since 1959. The PAP’s popular support has rested on economic growth and improved standards of living along with unrelenting repression of opposition leaders. The PAP won all parliamentary seats in the general elections from 1968 to 1980.

In May and June 1987, the government detained 22 persons for suspected involvement in a “Marxist conspiracy.” This action triggered an international human rights outcry; protesters criticized the detentions without trial and

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Lee Hsien Loong

Position: Prime minister of a parliamentary republic

Took Office: August 2004

Birthplace: Singapore

Birthdate: 10 February 1952

Education: Degree in computer science from the University of Cambridge; master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University

Spouse: Ho Ching

Children: One daughter, three sons

Of interest: His hobbies are reading, walking, listening to classical music, and working with computers.

the alleged torture of the detainees. Most of the accused conspirators were released by December, but eight were rearrested in April 1988 after issuing a joint press statement regarding the circumstances of their detention.

On 28 November 1990, Lee Kuan Yew, prime minister of Singapore for more than 31 years, transferred the prime ministership to Goh Chok Tong, the former first deputy prime minister. Singapore’s first direct presidential elections were held on 28 August 1993 and Ong Teng Cheong became the first elected president.

A Nation of Strict Laws Laws are strictly enforced in Singapore. An incident that garnered worldwide attention was the Singapore government’s arrest in October 1993 of nine foreign youths charged with vandalism of some 70 cars which had been spray-painted. Michael Fay, an American student suspected of being the leader, admitted his guilt under police interrogation and was sentenced to four months in prison, a fine of us$2,230 and “six strokes of the cane.”

On 7 March 1994, U.S. president Bill Clinton urged Singapore to reconsider the flogging of Fay, but Fay’s appeal was dismissed. A plea to the Singaporean president for clemency was rejected, but as a “goodwill gesture towards President Clinton,” the sentence of caning was reduced from six strokes to four. The sentence was carried out on 5 May 1994.

In 1994, the Singapore High Court ruled in favor of the government in a libel suit against the International Herald Tribune. The newspaper had published an editorial stating that Prime Minister Goh was simply a figurehead.

Parliamentary elections were held in 1997 and the PAP retained its vast majority.

On 28 April 2001, an unprecedented anti-government rally was held, the first legally approved demonstration outside of an election campaign. More than 2,000 people gathered in support of opposition leader J. B. Jeyaretnam, who was facing bankruptcy and thus expulsion from parliament.

In September 2001, Malaysia and Singapore came to a series of agreements over issues that had strained relations between them for years. Singapore agreed to a Malaysian proposal that the causeway linking the two countries be demolished and replaced by a bridge and undersea tunnel after 2007. Malaysia agreed to supply water to Singapore after two water agreements expire in 2011 and 2061. Other issues, such as railway land and air space, were also discussed.

On 3 November 2001, parliamentary elections were held in which the PAP won 82 out of 84 seats.

In December 2001, Singapore arrested 15 individuals believed to be part of a terrorist cell with links to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. Two suspects were released, but the others belonged to Jemaah Islamiya (JI), an Islamic organization with cells in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The cell’s plot was to destroy key buildings in Singapore, including the American Embassy. JI’s goals include the creation of an Islamic archipelago to include Malaysia, the southern Philippines, and Singapore in a larger Islamic Indonesia.

In 2003, Singapore was shaken medically and financially by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). About 33 people in Singapore died from SARS.

Prime Minister Goh signed a free trade agreement with the United States in 2003. The agreement helped Singapore fix its position as a leading financial and trading nation in the region. Prime Minister Goh announced he would step down after the economy recovered and named Lee Hsien Loong, the elder son of Lee Kuan Yew, as his successor.

On 1 September 2005, Singapore’s president, S. R. Nathan, was sworn in for his second term of office without running for reelection because the presidential election committee had ruled he was the only candidate fit for presidency.

13 Government

The constitution of the Republic of Singapore provides for a single-chamber parliamentary form of government. Singapore practices universal suffrage, and voting has been compulsory for all citizens over the age of 21 since 1959. In 1993, the unicameral legislature consisted of an elected 81-member parliament and six nominated members appointed by the president. As of 2002, there were 84 seats in parliament.

The prime minister, who commands the confidence of a majority of parliament, acts as effective head of government and appoints the cabinet. The president is elected for a term of six years. In 1996, the parliament enacted laws that limited the president’s power to veto legislation (a right only granted in 1991).

Singapore has no local government divisions.

14 Political Parties

There were 22 registered political parties at the beginning of 1993. The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew has dominated the country since 1959. The main opposition parties are the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and the Workers’ Party (WP). Smaller minority parties are the United People’s Front, the Singapore Malays’ National Organization, and the Singapore Solidarity Party. The Malay Communist Party and the underground Malayan National Liberation Front are illegal.

In the 1997 parliamentary elections, the PAP maintained its control by winning 81 of the 83 seats up for election. In parliamentary elections held on 3 November 2001, the PAP won 82 of 84 seats. Opposition candidates contested only 29 of the seats. The WP took one seat, as did the Singapore Democratic Alliance, which includes the Singapore People’s Party, SDP, National Solidarity Party, Singapore Justice Party, and Singapore Malay National Organization.

15 Judicial System

The judiciary includes a supreme court as well as district, magistrate, and special courts. Minor cases are heard in the country’s magistrate district courts, each presided over by a district judge. A supreme court is headed by a chief justice and is divided into a high court and a court of appeal. In its appeals jurisdiction, the high court hears criminal and civil appeals from the magistrate and district courts.

16 Armed Forces

In 2005, Singapore’s armed forces numbered 72,500 active personnel supported by around 312,500 reservists. The army had an estimated 50,000 personnel, the navy had 4,000 personnel, and the air Force totaled 13,500 personnel. The 2005 defense budget was us$5.6 billion.

17 Economy

Historically, Singapore’s economy was based primarily on its role as a trading center for neighboring countries, which developed due to its strategic geographic location. Its most significant natural resource is a deep-water harbor. By the early 1980s, Singapore had built a strong, diversified economy, giving it an economic importance in Southeast Asia out of proportion to its small size.

In the late 1980s, Singapore began to further diversify its economy, making it capable of providing manufacturing, financial, and communications facilities for multinational firms. One of the fastest-growing sectors of Singapore’s economy was international banking and finance, ranking Singapore behind only Tokyo and

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

Hong Kong among financial service centers in Southeast Asia region.

Manufacturing in the 1990s was dominated by the production of computer peripherals and oil processing. Between 1992 and 1995, property prices doubled. The main constraints on Singapore’s economic performance have been labor shortages, rising labor costs, and erosion of productivity (although productivity was rising as of 2002). Singapore’s economy was negatively affected by the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98, but it did not shrink. The collapse of Internet stocks in 2001, however, led to the economy’s first yearly contraction since 1985, shrinking 2%. Recovery began in 2002. Growth in 2004 was about 8%.

Singapore maintains one of the most open trading regimes in the world, and has regularly been ranked one of the least corrupt and most

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country’s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

competitive countries. The government is a major and active player in the economy, owning much land and capital. Unemployment was 3.4% in 2004, a high level for Singapore. Per-capita income is one of the highest in the world.

18 Income

In 2001, Singapore’s GDP was us$106.3 billion, or approximately us$24,700 per person. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at -2%. The average inflation rate in 2001 was 1.5%.

19 Industry

Manufacturing grew by an average annual rate of about 20% from 1962 to 1974 and it registered an average annual increase of more than 10% from 1975 to 1981. Industry in 2004 accounted for 34% of the gross domestic product.

Major industries are electronics, financial services, oil-drilling equipment, petroleum refining, rubber processing and rubber products, processed food and beverages, ship repair, and biotechnology.

The electronics industry is the most important sector of manufacturing. Singapore is the world’s leading supplier of disk drives. Telecommunications and other computer equipment also are manufactured.

Petroleum refining is a well-established industry in Singapore. Singapore is the world’s third-largest refining center, after Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Houston, Texas. Production capacity was 1.3 million barrels a day in 2005.

20 Labor

In 2005, Singapore’s employed work force totaled 2.2 million. Of this number, 18% were employed in manufacturing and 49% in the service sector. About 24% of the labor force consists of foreigners. The unemployment rate was 3.4% in 2005. In 2001 there were 72 registered trade unions with some 350,000 members.

There is no minimum wage legislation. Minors as young as 12 may work with the permission of the commissioner of labor, but few applications have been submitted and permission has yet to be granted. In practice, the minimum working age is 14 and violations of this regulation are very rare.

21 Agriculture

About 2% of the land area is used for farming and vegetables remain a significant source of income. In 2004, production of fresh vegetables totaled 5,000 tons, resulting in a decreased need to rely on foreign produce imports. Orchids are also grown for export.

22 Domesticated Animals

Hog and poultry farming together constitute Singapore’s largest primary products industry. Hog farming is being phased out, however, because of environmental pollution. In 2005, the livestock population included 2 million chickens and 200,000 pigs. That year, about 22,000 tons of eggs were produced.

23 Fishing

Traditional fishing methods are used along coastal waters, but there is a trend toward mechanization in both offshore and deep-sea fishing.

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

In 2003, Singapore’s fishermen caught 7,109 tons of fish.

24 Forestry

In 2000, about 3.3% of Singapore’s land area was classified as forest. There is little productive forestry left on the island, but Singapore continues to have a fairly sizable sawmill industry, processing timber imported largely from Malaysia (with some additional imports from Indonesia). In 2004, roundwood imports totaled 34,900 cubic meters (1,232,000 cubic feet). Imports of forestry products totaled us$533.1 million while exports amounted to us$451.3 million.

25 Mining

There is no commercial mining in Singapore.

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

IndicatorSingapore Low-income countriesHigh-income countriesUnited States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$27,370 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate2.4% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land6,329 803032
Life expectancy in years: male77 587675
female81 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people1.4 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)n.a. 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)92.5% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 people303 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 people561 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)5,359 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)13.14 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

26 Foreign Trade

Since World War II (1939–45), Singapore has changed from a trading center for its neighbors in Southeast Asia to an exporting country in its own right. Singapore exports advanced electronics, data processing equipment, refined petroleum products, organic chemicals, and optical equipment. Machinery accounts for the majority of imports, followed by industrial supplies, fuels, consumer goods, transportation equipment, and food.

Singapore’s main trading partners are the ASEAN group (principally Malaysia), the United States, China, and Japan.

27 Energy and Power

Electricity generated in 2002 totaled 32.6 billion kilowatt-hours. All power was generated thermally, largely from imported mineral fuels. Singapore is a major petroleum-refining center. The total output of 1.3 million barrels per day in 2005 ranked Singapore among the top producers in East Asia, along with Japan, China, and South Korea (Republic of Korea).

28 Social Development

The provident fund system was updated in 2004, and covers most employed persons and the self-employed. It provides benefits for old age, disability, death, sickness, and maternity.

Women’s legal rights are equal to those of men in most areas, including civil liberties, employment, business, and education. Women comprise 42% of the labor force and are well represented in the professions. They fill most of the low-paying clerical positions, however, and their average salary is only 75% that of men.

Prison conditions are considered good, but there are reports of mistreatment of prisoners. Caning is a common form of punishment. Freedom of assembly and association are restricted.

29 Health

Singapore’s population enjoys one of the highest health levels in all of Southeast Asia. As of 2004, there were an estimated 140 physicians per 100,000 people. Life expectancy in 2005 was about 80 years. In the same year, 100% of the population had access to health care services.

Leading causes of death have been communicable diseases and injuries. As of 2004, the number of people living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) was estimated at 4,100. Deaths from AIDS in 2003 were estimated at 200.

As of 1998, there were about 949,000 housing units nationwide. As of 2003, about 84% of the population lived in apartments constructed through housing and development programs. The average household contains 3.7 people.

31 Education

All children who are citizens are entitled to free primary education. Primary schooling is available in all four official languages. Upon completion of primary school, students may join the Vocational and Industrial Training Board for vocational training. If they qualify, students can take four or five years of secondary schooling leading to two-year courses in junior colleges or three-year courses in school centers at the pre-university level.

The student-to-teacher ratio stood at about 25 to 1 in 1999. Fifteen vocational institutes offered training courses in the metalworking, woodworking, electrical, electronic, and building trades.

The National University of Singapore was established in 1980 through the merger of the University of Singapore and Nanyang University. In addition, there are the Singapore Technical Institute, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, and Nanyang Technological Institute. More than 90,000 students attend all institutions of higher education. As of 2004, the adult literacy rate has been estimated at 92.5% (males, 96.6%; females, 88.6%).

32 Media

In 2003, there were an estimated 450 mainline telephones and 852 mobile phones for every 1,000 people. As of 2003, there were nine FM radio stations and seven television stations. In 2003, Singapore had about 672 radios and 303 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 483 personal computers in use for every 1,000 people. By 2001, there were 2.12 million Internet subscribers served by about 9 service providers.

Singapore has 10 daily newspapers, with at least one printed in each of the four official languages. The oldest and most widely circulated daily is the English-language Straits Times,founded in 1845. In 2002, Singapore’s largest newspapers, with their estimated daily circulations, were as follows: Straits Times, 392,600; Lianhe Zaobao, 205,160; The New Paper, 121,000; and Shin Min Daily News, 120,130.

33 Tourism and Recreation

Singapore’s tourist volume has increased steadily. In 2003, 6.1 million visitors arrived in Singapore, mostly from East Asia and the Pacific. In 2000, Singapore earned us$6 billion from tourism. There were a total of 35,930 hotel beds, filled to 76% of capacity.

Shopping, with bargaining the usual practice, is a major tourist attraction. Points of interest include the Van Kleef Aquarium at Fort Canning Park, the Singapore Zoological and Botanical Gardens, and the resort island of Sentosa. Singapore has a number of tourist attractions, including an amusement park at Haw Pav Village, site of historic Chinese statues, and the restored Alkaff Mansion.

Singapore has many sports clubs and associations, notably in the areas of badminton (in which Singaporeans have distinguished themselves internationally), basketball, boxing, cricket, cycling, golf, hockey, horse racing, motoring, polo, swimming, tennis, and yachting.

34 Famous Singaporeans

Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles (1781–1826) played a major role in the establishment of a British presence on Singapore Island in 1819. He suppressed the slave trade and introduced policies that greatly enhanced Singapore’s wealth.

The English writer and educator Cyril Northcote Parkinson (1909–1993), formerly a professor at the University of Singapore, became internationally known as the originator of Parkinson’s Law.

One of Singapore’s dominant contemporary figures was Lee Kuan Yew (b.1923), prime minister of the Republic of Singapore from 1965 to 1990.

Mei Ching Tan (b.1970) is a prize-winning author of plays and short stories. K. Elangovan is known as a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry.

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

Baker, James Michael. Singapore. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2002.

Kummer, Patricia K. Singapore. New York: Children’s Press, 2003.

Layton, Lesley. Singapore. New York: Benchmark Books, 2002.

Wee, Jessie. Singapore. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2000.

WEB SITES

Commonwealth Country Profiles. www.thecommonwealth.org/Templates/YearbookHomeInternal.asp?NodeID=139333. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Analysis Briefs. www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Singapore/Background.html. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/eap/ci/sn/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.gov.sg. (accessed on January 15, 2007).