Every independent nation needs to sacrifice blood to earn their valuable independence, it’s the nature rule. But it’s different for Singapore and quite interesting too. After independence Singapore Economic and political situation was turbulent. But why is Singapore so rich now? What was the secret behind Singapore’s success?
Year 1959 : Singapore got its independence from Britain. Singapore wanted to be with Malaysia but Malaysia didn’t want them and got them out of the Federation of Malaya in 1965. That day Former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew couldn’t control his tears. He can’t digest the insult of getting kicked out of Malaysia.
At that time Singapore had literally no natural resources. Many people thought that Singapore can’t stay long with these natural resources and conditions. But proved their assumption false now, Singapore is one of the richest countries of the world. Lee Kuan Yew is the main man for this Success.
How was the Condition of Singapore in 1960 after independence?
In 1960 Singapore’s population was less than 2 million. With a 719 square kilometer area now Singapore’s population is 5.6 million. There were So many poor people in Singapore that it had the most slum area in the world And GDP was less than 1 billion USD too. But now Singapore GDP is 447.3 billion USD.
In 1960 Singapore’s Per capita income (PCI) / per head income was only 427 SGD ( Singaporean dollar ) per year but now their Per capita income (PCI) is 76,863 SGD ( 2017 income year ). which is more than Germany, France or even from Japan.
When Lee Kuan Yew took the responsibility of Singapore it was one of the most corrupt countries, political turbulence was a daily matter. But now Singapore is on number 7 for the anti corruption country.
How Singapore reach today’s this position?
In a word, it was Lee Kuan Yew’s foresight and wisdom.
How Lee Kuan Yew did it?
Lee limits the operations of foreign banks and prevents the internationalization of the Singapore dollar ( SGD ). So, international firms take this opportunity to establish themselves in Singapore. He made strong financial and economic policy then ensured a corruption-free environment. Lee also gave emphasis on technological sector development as a result international companies made Singapore as their regional hub.
Lee motivates free trade, which helped Singapore to get lots of international investment and multinational giants such as Sony Corporation, Microsoft & Apple, Google, Panasonic. in 1971 America de-linked the dollar from gold and Singapore took the chance and made it a regional hub for foreign exchange which makes them a huge benefit.
For keeping local peoples happy lee establishes Economic Development Board –
This board slowly built up local Singaporean industries and businesses and motivated international companies to invest in Singaporean economy. These local and international companies provide job opportunities for locals and help them to slowly move out of poverty.
Lee also made Housing Development Board –
The housing board transformed Singapore into a mega city that helped its citizens to move out of small slums into carefully planned housing properties and upgrade living conditions for its citizens.
Factors behind Singapore’s Richness
Sustainable Economic development policy
After being kicked out from the Federation of Malaya in 1965, Singapore had literally no Natural resource to Handle Singapore’s economy. But the Government was steady at building up a sustainable economic development policy and process. They knock-down all outdated, less profitable business models and replaced them with more profitable sustainable business models. The administration concentrates on using limited natural resources appropriately so that they can serve more people’s needs.
In 1961 The Economic Development Board (EDB) established to boost Singapore industrialization, it’s main task was to guide industries and Develop new sectors for investment.
In the mid-1970s Govt. focus on encouraging investment in the IT, electronic medical equipment, and automotive components etc. category. Lee Concentrate on making skilled workers.
In 1991 The Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) formed, whose main task was to educate people to make them a skilled human resource and ensure export quality.
In 1992 Initiative like Operational Headquarters (OHQ) was taken to develop the service sector. OHQ’s main focus was to encourage more locally incorporated companies to use Singapore as their central hub that provides quality service to other companies, firms located within Singapore or outside Singapore.
In 1955 British authority David Marshall founded the Central Provident Fund. Citizens have to give 20-50% of their earnings to the Government under the CPF. CPF is also known as social wealth fund. Later the Singapore administration improved the Central Provident Fund Act and invested collections in various assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, precious metals like gold, silver also in private equity or hedge funds that generate revenue. This endowment helps citizens with Housing, medical care expenses, and retirement assistance.
Govt. develop the Creative Business Programme to encourage creative areas like arts, crafts, fashion, and media etc. At first, the Creative Business Programme served as Creative Services Strategic Business Unit. Now it drives investment in the Creative sectors and develops new opportunities for business.
Now Singapore is trying to shift investment from a production-driven economy to an innovation-driven economy. New economic policy trying to attract labour based industries by supplying skilled, low-cost labour and leasing shoreside land to industries.
Because of its vast economic development, Singapore has the lowest unemployment rates in the Asia region. Now day by day, foreign investment is growing, and international companies are using Singapore as their Main hub.
Blooming Tourism sector
Singapore’s large share of revenue comes from tourism sectors. It got 19.11 million visitors in 2019. Singapore is one of the main transit points between Asia and other countries. Also having lots of famous tourist spots like Merlion Park, Fort Canning Park, The Maritime Experiential Museum, Chinatown, Jewel Changi Airport attracts a large number of visitors every year. Other tourist destination Countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia are nearby too. Lots of tourists go through Singapore to these destinations. Govt. build the Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF) to establish new tourist spots and develop existing tourist attractions.
New technological and Innovation hub
Singapore makes itself a new technological hub. Already they are in the top position of innovation and research division. These developments make it a global innovation hub. Singapore authorities support companies to build sustainable business models and help new startups to grow their business. So New startups coming to the market every year. Many local companies like V-Key, ViSenze are now taking the lead in the global market. Old companies also forced to adopt new technology. Economic Development Board is supporting the technological growth of Singapore Technology.
In 1980-90 Singapore switched to electronics and shipping sector development but later in the 2000s they focused on new technological divisions like biotech, fintech etc.
Clean Government – political neutrality
Government plays a vital role in Singapore’s development. After getting independence Singapore was filled with political turbulence and corruption. At first, they were several political parties which created conflict. So they thought they needed one big party which could rule the Government. Later the People’s Action Party (PAP) dominated other parties and made a secure place in the administration.
Other parties can also win the elections by vote, but PAP was the only powerful to win every election. One party formula helps them to make administration corruption-free. PAP dominance makes it easier to implement solutions without any interference, vote, debate etc. But with political neutrality, they became one of the most supporting governments in the world. Now Singapore is famous for its corruption-less governance.
Govt. encourage international companies to invest in Singapore by promoting them as a politically stable country.
To get control over the Whole Singapore’s land, The Land Acquisition Act developed in 1966. After gaining power, authority develops those lands and builds cost-effective skyscraper flats for its population. They sell those flats for 99-year lease deals. So, Govt. have control over the housing category. In 1960 the Housing Development Board Act was formed especially for this purpose.
The Govt made a Trade Union Act to demolish all existing trade unions across the country except the Government supported the National Trades Union Congress ( NTUC ). With this step, the ministry holds power in the labour division and makes it profitable.
To get a stable revenue, Singapore turned the Public utilities, transportation, healthcare and telecommunications sector into private while kept control with holding most of the share by the government-owned companies.
Also government Control over media by owning All newspapers, TV channels and radio.
Maritime silk road – The only sea route to China
Do you know why the British wanted to make Singapore part of their colony? Because it’s the only sea route to China. There is a silk road to deliver products to china from Europe, but it’s more costly and riskier than the sea route. Singapore developed its ports with new technology so that they could process more products.
Friendly foreign policy management
Singapore is famous for its Non-Aligned Movement. It means Singapore supports no specific group. So, they can establish relationships with any country they like. According to non-aligned policy, Singapore has connections with the USA, Russia, China, North Korea and South Korea. Singapore always tries to maintain friendly relationships with these countries, but mostly they prioritize Malaysia, Indonesia, and ASEAN. Singapore prevents any acts that make its neighbours unsecured.
Powerful Racial and religious harmony
Singapore is one of the countries that have racial and religious harmony. Singapore has a multi-culture, multilingual, multinational people. In Singapore, there are a vast number of Chinese, Indian, Malay, European people among Singaporeans. Singapore uses English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil as their official language. It shows how multi culture people live in Singapore with harmony.
Lee’s Pragmatic leadership
One of the main reasons behind Singapore’s success is pragmatism. Lee Kuan Yew’s pragmatic leadership allows Singapore to grow its economy. Lee allows MNCs where most of the countries try to avoid them.
Crime control – Internal Security Act
Singapore is very hard on crime control. To control uprising crime, the Government improved the Internal Security Act that authorizes the administration to arrest any citizens for an indefinite time without any trial. Authorities use British laws in cases of organized crime to detain criminals.
Meritocracy is a political system where people choose to run Govt according to talent or ability rather than their richness or social class. Singapore follows Meritocracy policy in its all aspect. In Job, politics, they prioritize Meritocracy rather than mediocrity.
Lee Kuan Yew turns Singapore into one of the world’s richest country with no natural resources and no other support.
What did your countries leaders do for your country?
FYI: Singapore Jewel Changi Airport is now open For public with world’s tallest indoor waterfall.