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Singapore Flag
Map of Singapore being distributed into planning areas.

Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south. Singapore is highly urbanised but almost half of the country is covered in greenery. More land is being reclaimed for future development. Singapore is also known as Pulau Ujong, but the term is rarely used.

Singapore had been a part of various local empires (most notable is the British Empire) since it was first inhabited in the second century AD. Modern Singapore was founded as a trading post of the East India Company by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 with permission from the Sultanate of Johor. The British obtained full sovereignty over the island in 1824 and Singapore became one of the British Straits Settlements in 1826.

Singapore was occupied by the Japanese in World War II and reverted to British rule after the war. It became internally self-governing in 1959. Singapore united with other former British territories to form Malaysia in 1963 after a merger referendum was held in 1962. and became a fully independent state two years later after separation from Malaysia.

Since then it has had a massive increase in wealth and is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The economy depends heavily on the industry and service sectors. Singapore is a world leader in several areas: It is the world's fourth-leading financial centre, the world's second-biggest casino gambling market, and the world's third-largest oil refining centre. The port of Singapore is one of the five busiest ports in the world, most notable for being the busiest transhipment port in the world. The country is home to more US dollar millionaire households per capita than any other country. The World Bank notes Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business. The country has the world's third highest GDP PPP per capita of US$71,054, making Singapore the 3rd wealthiest countries in the world.

Singapore is a parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. The People's Action Party (PAP) has won every election since the British grant of internal self-government in 1959. The legal system of Singapore has its foundations in the English common law system, but modifications have been made to it over the years, such as the removal of trial by jury. The PAP's popular image is that of a strong, experienced and highly qualified government, backed by a skilled Civil Service and an education system with an emphasis on achievement and meritocracy; but it is perceived by some voters, opposition critics and international observers as being authoritarian and too restrictive on individual freedom.

Some 5.612 million people live in the country, of whom 3.439 million were born locally. Most are of Chinese, Malay or Indian descents. There are four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Singapore is also one of the five founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) which was established on 8 August 1967, Singapore also hosts the APEC Secretariat, and is a member of the East Asia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth, and the United Nations (UN).


Position Incumbent Since
President Halimah Yacob 14th September 2017
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong 12th August 2004
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean 1st April 2009
Tharman Shanmugaratnam 21st May 2011
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin 11th September 2017
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Charles Chong 17th October 2011
Lim Biow Chuan 25th January 2016
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ng Chee Meng 1st May 2018
Indranee Rajah
Minister for Communications & Information S. Iswaran 1st May 2018
Minister for Culture, Community & Youth Grace Fu 1st October 2015
Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen 21st May 2011
Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung 1st May 2018
Indranee Rajah
(Second Minister)
Minister for Environment & Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli 1st October 2015
Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat 1st October 2015
Lawrence Wong
(Second Minister)
22th August 2016
Indranee Rajah
(Second Minister)
1st May 2018
Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan 1st October 2015
Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong 21st May 2011
Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam 1st October 2015
Josephine Teo
(Second Minister)
11th September 2017
Minister for Law K. Shanmugam 1st May 2008
Indranee Rajah
(Second Minister)
1st May 2018
Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo 1st May 2018
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong 1st October 2015
Desmond Lee
(Second Minister)
1st May 2017
Minister for Social & Family Development Desmond Lee 11th September 2017
Minister for Trade & Industry Chan Chun Sing 1st May 2018
Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan 1st October 2015
Minister-in-charge of Muslims Affairs Masagos Zulkifli 1st May 2018
Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran 1st May 2018

Former territories

  • Cocos Island: Sovereignty transferred to Australia on 23 November 1955.
  • Christmas Island: Sovereignty transferred to Australia on 1 October 1958.

See Also