OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Singapore
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 620 Sq Km (239 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 3,109,000
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Singapore is located on the Malay
Peninsula in South East Asia. The territory consists of
the island of Singapore and around 50 adjacent islands.
The country is separated physically from Malaysia by the
Johore Strait and from Indonesia by the Strait of Malacca
as well as the Strait of Singapore. The islands are generally
flat and low with a few small cliffs and shallow valleys
to the southwest. The main island is drained by a number
of short streams such as the Singapore, Jurong, Kalang,
Kranji, Seletar and Serangoon. Land Use; forested 5%, pastures
and agricultural-cultivated 1%, urban and other 94% (1993).
CLIMATE: Singapore has a tropical climate characterized by hot
and humid conditions. Rainfall is distributed evenly throughout the year
with an average annual precipitation of 2,410 mm (95 inches). During the
NE Monsoon, floods are common while the SW Monsoon usually brings violent
wind squalls called Sumatras. Average temperature ranges are between 24
degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit) to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees
Fahrenheit) all year.
PEOPLE: The Singaporeans are of three major ethnic groups. (1.)
The Chinese who account for around 78% of the population, (2.) the Malays
who account for 14% and (3.) the Indians who account for 7% of the population.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 4,371 persons per sq km
(11,329 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 100.0% urban, 0.0% rural
(1991). Sex Distribution; 50.6% male, 49.4% female (1990). Life Expectancy
at Birth; 72.3 years male, 77.5 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 23%
under 15, 27% 15 to 29, 28% 30 to 44, 13% 45 to 59, 9% 60 and over (1990).
Birth Rate; 18.5 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 4.8 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 13.7 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 6.7 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Singapore is a completely secular state with no records
kept of religious denominations. However, 28% of the population are Buddhist,
16% are Muslim, 5% are Hindu, 19% are Christian and 14% are Taoist or Confucianist.
LANGUAGES: The official languages are English, Chinese, Tamil
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
or incomplete primary education 43.7%, primary 38.3%, secondary 14.6%,
higher 3.4% (1980). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 1,982,523
or 87.6% (1989).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1959 Singapore was granted
internal self-government by Britain and the elections were won by Lee Kuan
Yew of the People's Action Party (PAP). In 1963 Singapore joined the Federation
of Malaysia as a constituted state, however, in July and Sept. 1965 serious
ethnic riots broke out and in Aug. 1965 Malaysia forced Singapore to withdraw
from the federation fearing that the ethnic problems would spread. On Aug.
9, 1965 Singapore became an independent state within the Commonwealth and
in Dec. 1965 became a republic. Since the mid 1960's Singapore has developed
into a modern and highly industrialized nation, based on its ports and
trade. In 1988 a number of people were arrested and charged with conspiring
to overthrow the government in a Marxist plot. In Nov. 1990 Prime Minister
Lee Kuan Yew resigned and was succeeded by Goh Chok Tong. In March 1991
a commercial aircraft hijacked by supporters of Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto
was stormed by commandos as it sat on the tarmac of Changi Airport with
all 4 hijackers being shot dead without harm to any passengers. In May
1991 the government announced plans to plans to privatise telecommunications,
electricity and public transport as well as finance overseas joint ventures.
In Aug. 1991 Prime Minister Goh and the PAP were re-elected which resulted
in the introduction of further socio-economic reforms aimed at less fortunate
Singaporeans. Also in 1991 the government introduced new legislation aimed
at changing the constitutional function of the President which would have
veto powers over the budget, security affairs and senior public service
appointments. In Jan. 1992 the government banned the manufacture and sale
of chewing gum, alleging it was a public nuisance. In May 1992 Prime Minister
Goh announced a $10 billion dollar program to improve housing. In July
1992 the government announced plans to increase the number of kindergartens
in PAP constituencies and to reduce the number in opposition constituencies
by 10%. Opposition parties claimed the government was attempting to persuade
voters in by-elections that were to be held shortly. In Aug. 1992 the offices
of the Business Times was raided following the publication of alleged leaked
economic data. In Nov. 1992 two leading government officials, Ong Teng
Cheong and Lee Hsien Loong were diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. In March
1993 the government passed legislation raising the age of retirement from
55 to 60 following labor shortages. In April 1993 Lee the son of former
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and likely successor to Goh was reported by
doctors as free of cancer following chemotherapy, although he was restricted
in ministerial activities by his doctors. In Aug. 1993 Ong was elected
as the country's first directly elected President who remained active following
being diagnosed with a low grade cancer. Also in 1993 the leader of the
opposition Singapore Democratic Party, Chiam See Tong resigned following
political infighting. Chiam was succeeded by Chee Soon Juan who later went
on a 10 day hunger strike following his dismissal as a lecturer at the
National University of Singapore.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Dollar (SD) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $55,372,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $11,600,000 (1993). Imports; SD $156,395,800,000 (1994).
Exports; SD $147,327,200,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $5,793,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; SD -$216,000,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 1,635,700 or 56.9% of total population (1993). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are Malaysia,
the USA, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, Germany and Indonesia.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Coconuts, Fruit and Vegetables, Fish, Livestock,
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Chemicals, Electronic Equipment, International
Trade, Oil Drilling Equipment, Oil Refining, Processed Foods, Printing,
Ship Building and Repairs, Textiles.
MAIN EXPORTS: Electrical and Electronic Equipment, International
Trade, Machinery, Petroleum Products, Rubber.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 26 km (16 mi) (1990), passenger-km
N/A., cargo ton-km N/A. Roads; length 2,810 km (1,746 mi) (1989). Vehicles;
cars 286,756 (1990), trucks and buses 127,000 (1990). Merchant Marine;
vessels 774 (1990), deadweight tonnage 12,964,510 (1990). Air Transport;
passenger-km 31,544,000,000 (19,601,000,000 passenger-mi) (1990), cargo
ton-km 1,696,000,000 (1,162,000,000 short ton-mi) (1990).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 8 with a total circulation
of 1,004,800 (1993). Radio; receivers 822,000 (1994). Television; receivers
650,000 (1994). Telephones; units 1,245,000 (1993).
MILITARY: 54,000 (1994) total active duty personnel with 83.3%
army, 5.6% navy and 11.1% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 4.8% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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