About Singapore

About Singapore - Brief HistoryAbout Singapore - Brief History]About Singapore - Brief History

This page covers a brief introduction of Singapore history, independence and economic growth in the last century. Recommended book and source: Singapore 1994

Founding of Modern Singapore

The British, who were extending their dominion in India, and whose trade with China in the second half of the 18th century was expanding, saw the need for a port of call in this region to refit, revitalise and protect their merchant fleet, as well as to forestall any advance by the Dutch in the East Indies. As a result, they established trading posts in Penang (1786) and Singapore (1819), and captured Malacca from the Dutch (1795).

In late l818, Lord Hastings, Governor-General of India, gave tacit approval to Sir Stamford Raffles, Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen, to establish a trading station at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. On 29 January 1819, Raffles landed on the island of Singapore after having surveyed other nearby islands. The next day, he concluded a preliminary treaty with Temenggong Abdu'r Rahman to set up a trading post here. On 6 February 1819, a formal treaty was concluded with Sultan Hussein of Johor and the Temenggong, the de jure and defacto rulers of Singapore respectively.

Singapore proved to be a prized settlement. By 1820, it was earning revenue, and three years later, its trade surpassed that of Penang. In 1824, Singapore's status as a British possession was formalised by two new treaties. The first was the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of March 1824, by which the Dutch withdrew all objections to the British occupation of Singapore. The second treaty was made with Sultan Hussein and Temenggong Abdu'r Rahman in August, by which the two owners ceded the island out right to the British in return for increased cash payments and pensions.

The Straits Settlements

Singapore, together with Malacca and Penang, the two British settlements in the Malay Peninsula, became the Straits Settlements in 1826, under the control of British India. By 1832, Singapore had become the centre of government for the three areas. On 1 April 1867, the Straits Settlements became a Crown Colony under the jurisdiction of the Colonial Office in London.

With the advent of the steamship in the mid-1860s and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Singapore became a major port of call for ships plying between Europe and East Asia. And with the development of rubber planting, especially after the 1870s, it also became the main sorting and export centre in the world for rubber. Before the close of the 19th century, Singapore was experiencing unprecedented prosperity and trade expanded eightfold between 1873 and 1913. The prosperity attracted immigrants from areas around the region. By 1860, the population had grown to 80,792. The Chinese accounted for 61.9 per cent of the number; the Malays and Indians 13.5 and 16.05 per cent respectively; and others, including the Europeans, 8.5 per cent.

The peace and prosperity ended when Japanese aircraft bombed the sleeping city in the early hours of 8 December 1941. Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, and was renamed Syonan (Light of the South). It remained under Japanese occupation for three and a half years.

Towards Self-Government

The British forces returned in September 1945 and Singapore came under the British Military Administration. When the period of military administration ended in March 1946, the Straits Settlements was dissolved. On 1 April 1946, Singapore became a Crown Colony. Penang and Malacca became part of the Malayan Union in 1946, and later the Federation of Malaya in 1948.

Postwar Singapore was a contrast to the prewar country of transient immigrants. The people, especially the merchant class, clamored for a say in the government. Constitutional powers were initially vested in the Governor who had an advisory council of officials and nominated non-officials. This evolved into the separate Executive and Legislative Councils in July 1947. The Governor retained firm control over the colony but there was provision for the election of six members to the Legislative Council by popular vote. Hence, Singapore's first election was held on 20 March 1948.

When the Communist Party of Malaya tried to take over Malaya and Singapore by force, a state of emergency was declared in June 1948. The emergency lasted for 12 years. Towards the end of 1953, the British government appointed a commission under Sir George Rendel to review Singapore's constitutional position and make recommendations for change. The Rendel proposals were accepted by the government and served as the basis of a new constitution that gave Singapore a greater measure of self-government.

The 1955 election was the first lively political contest in Singapore's history. Automatic registration expanded the register of voters from 75,000 to over 300,000, and for the first time, it included large numbers of Chinese, who had manifested political apathy in previous elections. The Labor Front won 10 seats. The Peoples Action Party (PAP), which fielded four candidates, won three seats. David Marshall became Singapore's first Chief Minister on 6 April 1955, with a coalition government made up of his own Labor Front, the United Malays National Organization and the Malayan Chinese Association .

Marshall resigned on 6 June 1956, after the breakdown of constitutional talks in London on attaining full internal self government. Lim Yew Hock, Marshall's deputy and minister for Labor became the Chief Minister. The March 1957 constitutional mission to London led by Lim Yew Hock was successful in negotiating the main terms of a new Singapore Constitution. On 28 May 1958, the Constitutional Agreement was signed in London.

Self-government was attained in 1959. In May that year Singapore's first general election was held to choose 51 representatives to the first fully elected Legislative Assembly. The PAP won 43 seats, gleaning 53.4 percent of the total votes. On June 3, the new Constitution confirming Singapore as a self-governing state was brought into force by the proclamation of the Governor, Sir William Goode, who became the first Yang di-Pertuan Negara (Head of State). The first Government of the State of Singapore was sworn in on June 5, with Lee Kuan Yew as Singapore's first Prime Minister.

The PAP had come to power in a united front with the communists to fight British colonialism. The communists controlled many mass organizations, especially of workers and students. It was an uneasy alliance between the PAP moderates and the pro communists, with each side trying to use the other for its own ultimate objective--in the case of the moderates, to obtain full independence for Singapore as part of a non-communist Malaya; in the case of the communists, to work towards a communist take-over.

The tension between the two factions worsened from 1960 and led to an open split in 1961, with the pro-communists subsequently forming a new political party, the Barisan Sosialis. The other main players in this drama were the Malayans, who, in 1961, agreed to Singapore's merger with Malaya as part of a larger federation. This was also to include British territories in Borneo, with the British controlling the foreign affairs, defense and internal security of Singapore.

The Malaysia Proposal

On 27 May 1961, the Malayan Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, proposed closer political and economic co-operation between the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, North Borneo and Brunei in the form of a merger. The main terms of the merger, agreed on by him and Lee Kuan Yew, were to have central government responsibility for defense, foreign affairs and internal security, but local autonomy in matters pertaining to education and labor. A referendum on the terms of the merger held in Singapore on 1 September 1962 showed the people's overwhelming support for PAP's plan to go ahead with the merger.

Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963, and consisted of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah). Brunei opted out. Indonesia and the Philippines opposed the merger. President Sukarno of Indonesia worked actively against it during the three years of Indonesian confrontation.


The merger proved to be short-lived. Singapore was separated from the rest of Malaysia on 9 August 1965, and became a sovereign, democratic and independent nation.

Independent Singapore was admitted to the United Nations on 21 September 1965, and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations on 15 October 1965. On 22 December 1965, it became a republic, with Yusof bin Ishak as the republic's first President.

Thereafter commenced Singapore's struggle to survive and prosper on its own. It also had to create a sense of national identity and consciousness among a disparate population of immigrants. Singapore's strategy for survival and development was essentially to take advantage of its strategic location and the favourable world economy.

Coming of Age

A massive industrialization program was launched with the extension of the Jurong industrial estate and the creation of smaller estates in Kallang Park, Tanjong Rhu, Redhill, Tiong Bahru and Tanglin Halt. The Employment Act and the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act were passed in 1968 to promote industrial peace and discipline among the workforce.

The Economic Development Board was reorganized in 1968 and the Jurong Town Corporation and the Development Bank of Singapore were set up in the same year In 1970, the Monetary Authority of Singapore was established to formulate and implement Singapore's monetary policies.

In 1979, after the shock of two oil crisis, the Government started a program of economic restructuring. This was achieved by modifying education policies, expanding technology and computer education, offering financial incentives to industrial enterprises and launching a productivity campaign.

Public housing was given top priority. New towns sprang up and Housing and Development Board apartments were sold at a low cost. To encourage home ownership, Singaporeans were allowed to use their Central Provident Fund savings to pay for these apartments.

With the British Government's sudden decision in 1967 to withdraw its armed forces from Singapore by the end of 1971, Singapore set out to build up its own defence forces. The Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute was established in 1966 and compulsory national service was introduced in 1967. A Singapore Air Defense Command and a Singapore Maritime Command were set up in 1969. In August 1967, Singapore joined Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand to form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Singapore entered the 1970s as a politically stable state with a high rate of economic growth. The one-party Parliament that emerged from the 1968 general election became the pattern, with the PAP winning all seats in 1972,1976 and 1980. In the 1984 and 1991 general elections, the PAP won all but two and four seats respectively.

On 28 November 1990, a new chapter opened in Singapore's modern history Goh Cheok Tong became the second Prime Minster of Singapore when he took over the office from Lee Kuan Yew who resigned after having been Prime Minster since 1959.

On 12 August 2004, Lee Hsien Loong, son of Lee Kuan Yew became the third Prime Minister of Singapore. One of his major accomplishments was to propose the building of 2 Integrated Resorts (IR) in Singapore which creates a huge avenue for Singapore's economy. Prior to his appointment as PM, he served as Deputy Prime Minister (1991-2004), Minister of Finance, Minister of Trade & Industry.

Related Page



Re: Question about Fiber installation

I had a fiber installation done in a rented HDB apartment last year (Singtel). There was no connection point in the apartment it had to come from the utility room outside the apartment door.

The engineer was quite happy to run 6 meters of cable in self adhesive plastic trunking to put the ONT where I wanted it. Given it is just self adhesive my Landlord agreed it was not destructive and allowed it.

Of course when I leave this apartment if some monkey rips the trunking off the walls and damages the paint I am sure the landlord will deduct the repair from my deposit! The point is even if it looks non destructive you may want to carefully put things back as they were yourself before you leave :wink:


Strong Eagle:
No need to pay GST tax for those mom and pop store. They are exempt if their revenue is under $1 million per year. A good way to ease the burden and bureaucracy for small biz owners.

"Is a Singapore company required to collect GST tax?
No. Your company is required to register for GST and collect GST only if its annual turnover exceeds S$1 million."

http://www.guidemesingapore.com/taxatio ... -tax-guide

BUT they still charge it in some cases. Effectively loading prices by 7%.

The key, though, is that businesses, with the exception of restaurants, must quote prices GST inclusive. Therefore, you don't know, and do not need to know, if a business must pay GST... you are either happy with the price or you are not.

Some of the scallywags at Sim Lim quote a price, then attempt to add GST, a clear violation of GST laws. Tourists may fall for it, you should whip out your phone, take a picture of the salesman, then tell him you are going to report him for GST fraud.

Re: PR rejected 2013

Strong Eagle:
+1... and Like

Who has taken over the body of SMS... some kinder and gentler soul?

Question about Fiber installation

Hey Folks -

I have MyRepublic coming out in a little bit more than a week, and I have a question about how Fiber installs generally go. I'm in a new (rented) apartment with a Fiber Termination Point inside a small utility closet in my place.

Where will the installer tech locate the ONT? Do they generally try to put it right next to the Termination point? This would be bad for me as I'd prefer to have the ONT in my home office (maybe 10 meters away) close to my machines. I'll want to use the net taps on my router to have hard connections between my machines vs. only replying on wireless.


Will the install techs generally do a small run of fiber from the Termination Point to a different location in my home and stick the ONT there?

Considering I'm renting, is this non-destructive?

If worse comes to worse I guess I could stuck ONT/Router in the closet near the Termination Point, but that would make me sad.


Re: FT, 25-Feb: 'The legacy of its founder looms over Singap


It's definitely Friday :lol:

:lol: :cool:

Might be easier to figure that one out after a few beers...

Re: FT, 25-Feb: 'The legacy of its founder looms over Singap


Could go and ply a night job in Orchard Towers, along with the other trannies.

Sure to dazzle the punters with a set of baps like that :wink:

Interesting question, would I, strictly speaking, actually be a tranny?

It's definitely Friday :lol:

Re: FT, 25-Feb: 'The legacy of its founder looms over Singap


Could go and ply a night job in Orchard Towers, along with the other trannies.

Sure to dazzle the punters with a set of baps like that :wink:

Re: PR rejected 2013


We are not deliberately trying to rain on your parade, here. We tend to err on the side of caution and do not, if we can help it, blow smoke (feel good words) but rather give the unvarnished truth as we see it. The regulars here have amassed a heck of a lot of anecdotal data that is constantly shifting regarding the current unspoken policies of the government here. We try our best to give the most accurate answers as we currently see them. Some of us are in those industries, some of us are HR functionaries, and some of us have been here for too long already! :cry: But you can always look on it as getting an accurate reading and if you go ahead and apply, you might get lucky! Or you might end up foregoing another offer that may well have had more legs in the long term but might have meant a major shift to a different country. We just try to give you enough perspective so as to help you make that decision and the attitude needed IF you do. If you apply in the face of overwhelming odds, two things can happen. More of the same or you get lucky (like the odds of winning the US powerball). Good Luck in any case.


Re: Amusing Plumbing Contractor

I don't remember whether I posted this story earlier....

When we moved in, the toilet in the master bathroom had a funny property: after it was flushed, the cistern did not fill back in until the tap of the nearby basin was opened. Not difficult to guess something in the cistern's valve was slightly stuck so when the basin tap was opened, it changed the water pressure in the pipes and gave the valve a kick already good enough to get it working.

As it was still under the initial move-in 30 days warranty period the LL's agent arranged for a plumber to visit. The plumber arrived, was introduced to the problem, the workaround and then, without any hands-on checking, he gave me his verdict: it is like this, because this is an American Standard (the name of the brand) toilet. I looked at him and started laughing. When I got a grip on myself I told him, this is not the first AS toilet I used and apparently all the other AS toilets did not have this interesting property. More-over, I took him to the guest bathroom toilet, also AS, working fine. He tested it by himself flushing it few times. It didn't convince him. He went back to the master bathroom, opened the cistern and proposed to replace the whole valve (the complete internal column) for $250. When I said I was not going to let him do it even if the LL would pay for it, he put his hands inside the cistern probably looking for the overflow holes, because when he finished he suggested to partly block the holes with epoxy.

I though this was probably already enough so asked him to put everything back in place what he did still trying to convince me to one of the proposed solutions. When he finished I pressed the flush button to check whether he did not #####-up something more seriously. The water flushed and to my surprise the cistern started to fill in as it should without any extra kick – yes, the guy just moved/bent the valve column when he squeezed his hands between it and the cistern's back wall. I had a good laugh for the second time that day. The plumber was slightly confused or maybe even embarrassed but not to the extend to cancel his on-site visit expert examination fee of $40. The toilet works fine till this day.

Re: FT, 25-Feb: 'The legacy of its founder looms over Singap

Could become a contortionist. :mrgreen:

Re: A convocation of Eagles as some are winging away.



The Lynx

The Ref

Re: PR rejected 2013

Thanks all for your replies.
Appreciate it!

Re: FT, 25-Feb: 'The legacy of its founder looms over Singap

Lighten up it's Friday :wink:

Re: FT, 25-Feb: 'The legacy of its founder looms over Singap


But what could you do? You have the new body to yourself but you can't do anything without the old "equipment". It's even more tragic.