I’ve written about the Republic of Singapore before in The Reasons Why China is Studying Singapore.
Singapore is a model “republic” respected around the world. In fact, Singapore is tied for number one in the Corruption Perception Index for 2010 with a score much better than the U.S. Source: Transparency.org
Focus Singapore says, “It is interesting to note that Singapore laws are very strict with harsh punishments for smoking and littering in public places.”
For example, “A drug offence in Singapore can attract severe penalties including a death penalty.… Homosexual acts, including kissing between men, are illegal in Singapore and penalties include imprisonment.”
Human Rights Watch reports, “Singapore officials should cease using criminal defamation and contempt laws to silence government critics.… “Free speech is an endangered species in Singapore.”
In fact, “Singapore remains the textbook example of a politically repressive state,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Individuals who want to criticize or challenge the ruling party’s hold on power can expect to face a life of harassment, lawsuits, and even prison.” Source: Human Rights Watch
However, the Western media often ignore human rights violations in Singapore, because, “The United States has maintained formal diplomatic relations with Singapore since it became independent in 1965. Singapore’s efforts to maintain economic growth and political stability and its support for regional cooperation harmonize with U.S. policy in the region and form a solid basis for amicable relations between the two countries.”
About religion — “Singapore generally allows religious freedom, although religious groups are subject to government scrutiny, and some religious sects are restricted or banned. Almost all Malays are Muslim; other Singaporeans are Taoists, Buddhists, Confucianists, Christians, Hindus, or Sikhs.” Source: U. S. Department of State
Lee Kuan Yew was Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990. He was the world’s longest serving prime minister and was elected seven times. His son Lee Hsien Loong has been PM since 2004. When he ran for office, there was no competition.
Singapore sounds similar to China except for China’s policy that leaders may only serve two five-year terms and must retire at sixty-seven. Oh and there hasn’t been any nepotism as in North Korea and Singapore.
Return to Republics of Asia — Part 2
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