|National motto: Majulah Singapura|
(Malay: Onward, Singapore)
|Official languages||English, Chinese,|
Malay and Tamil
|Prime Minister[?]||Goh Chok Tong[?]|
- % water
- Total (2002)
August 9, 1965
|Currency||Singapore Dollar[?] (S$)|
|Time zone||UTC +8|
|National anthem||Majulah Singapura|
Modern Singapore was founded in 1819 as a British settlement. It was captured by Japan during World War II, and returned to British administration in 1945. Self-government was granted by the British in 1959, and in 1963, Singapore joined Malaysia. It was separated from Malaysia in 1965, and re-instituted as an independent republic. It subsequently became one of the world's most prosperous countries, with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world's busiest) and with per capita GDP above that of the leading nations of Western Europe.
Singapore has a Westminster-style constitution. In practice, politics is dominated by the People's Action Party, which has ruled since Independence. The mode of government is perhaps closer to authoritarianism than true democracy. Paradoxically (for political scientists), Singapore has a highly successful, corruption-free, and transparent market economy.
Singapore's main territory is a diamond-shaped piece of land that would be an island, if it was not connected to the Malay Peninsula by a man-made causeway to the north. There is also a bridge to the west. Singapore also has dozens of smaller islands, of which Jurong[?], Pulau Tekong[?], Pulau Ubin[?] and Sentosa[?] are the largest. Since Singapore basically consists of only one city, there are no further administrative divisions. Due to being a city state, Singapore is the second most densely populated independent country in the world.
Singapore, a highly developed and successful free-market economy, enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly in electronics and manufacturing, and was hard hit in 2001 by the global recession and the slump in the technology sector. In 2001, GDP contracted by 2.2%. The economy is expected to recover in 2002 in response to improvements in the US economy, and GDP growth for 2002 is projected to be 3% to 4%. In the longer term the government hopes to establish a new growth path that will be less vulnerable to the external business cycle than the current export-led model, but is unlikely to abandon efforts to establish Singapore as Southeast Asia's financial and high-tech hub.
Singapore's population is diverse. Chinese people account for 3/4 of the population. Malays[?] are the second, and Indians are the third largest ethnic group. The official languages are English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Malay is also Singapore's national language.