Singapore Country Profile
Singapore is a wealthy city state in south-east Asia. Once a British colonial trading post, today it is a thriving global financial hub and described as one of Asia’s economic “tigers”. It is also renowned for its conservatism and strict local laws and the country prides itself on its stability and security.
Chinese account for more than 75% of Singapore’s multi-racial population, with Malays and Indians making up much of the remainder.
Densely-populated, most of its people live in public-housing tower blocks. Its trade-driven economy is heavily supported by foreign workers. In 2013, the government forecast that by 2030, immigrants will makeup more than 50% of the population.
The People’s Action Party has dominated politics since the country declared independence from Malaysia in 1965. Issues such as the rising cost of living, immigration and income inequality are major challenges facing the government
Official Name: Republik Singapura (Republic of Singapore) Short form: Singapore Chinese (pinyin): Xinjiapo Gònghéguó Malay: Republik Singapura ISO Country Code: sg, SGP, IATA code: SIN Local Time = UTC +8h Country Calling Code: +65 Capital City: Singapore (Sanskrit Singapura--Lion City; pop. 3.5 million) Population: 5.3 million Major languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil Literacy: 93% Major religions: Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism Life expectancy: 79 years (men), 84 years (women) Currency: Singapore dollar (UN, World Bank)
Currency: Singapore Dollar (S$, SGD)
Type: Parliamentary Republic.
Independence: 9 August 1965 (from Malaysian Federation)
Constitution: 3 June 1959, amended 1965 (based on the pre-independence State of Singapore Constitution)
Location: Southeast Asia, islands between Malaysia and Indonesia.
Area: 728.6 km²
Terrain: Lowland; gently undulating central plateau contains water catchment area and nature preserve.
Climate: equatorial, a tropical rainforest climate; hot and humid.
Nationality: noun: Singaporean(s), adjective: Singapore
GDP per capita: $57,853
Ethnic Groups: Chinese 77%, Malay 14%, Indian 8%
Natural resources: Fish, deepwater ports.
Agriculture – products: Rubber, copra, fruit, orchids, vegetables, poultry, eggs, fish, ornamental fish.
Industries: Electronics, chemicals, financial services, oil drilling equipment, petroleum refining, rubber processing and rubber products, processed food and beverages, ship repair, offshore platform construction, life sciences, transshipment port trade.
Exports – commodities: machinery and equipment (including electronics and telecommunications), pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, refined petroleum products, foodstuffs and beverages.
Exports – partners: China 15%, Hong Kong 13%, Malaysia 9%, United States 8%, Indonesia 7%, India 5% (2019)
Imports – commodities: machinery and equipment, mineral fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs, consumer goods.
Imports – partners: China 16%, Malaysia 11%, United States 9%, Taiwan 7%, Japan 5%, Indonesia 5% (2019)
President and Prime Minister
Singapore President: Halimah Yacob
Halimah Yacob was sworn in as Singapore’s first female president in 2017. As a member of the Muslim Malay minority, she is also the country’s first Malay leader in 47 years.
She became the sole contender when the two other prospective candidates failed to meet eligibility requirements. It’s the first time the presidency has been reserved for a particular ethnic group, as authorities seek to foster harmony in a multicultural society dominated by ethnic Chinese.
She was the Speaker of parliament before taking up the largely ceremonial post of president.
Presidential candidates run as individuals because Singapore’s head of state is supposed to be non-partisan.
Singapore Prime minister: Lee Hsien Loong
The eldest son of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Hsien Loong has been in office since August 2004.
A former army officer and Cambridge-educated mathematician, he followed his father into politics in 1984 at the age of 32.
As prime minister, Mr Lee has launched policies to build a competitive economy, introducing new programmes to upgrade the education system, investing in research and development and transforming the city-state.
Mr Lee has been involved in a very public feud with his siblings over their father’s will.
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