Singapore Recent History

South of the Malacca Peninsula, just over a kilometer away, is the island of Singapore. The capital, Singapore, arose in the nineteenth century on the ruins of ancient Singapura, which means “lion city”, from singa = lion and pure = city.

Located on the most direct route of communication between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, it is one of the most important commercial and strategic bases in the world.

It is not exactly certain, but it seems that already in the Middle Ages it was a large shopping center, but not even Marco Polo, who also lived a year in Sumatra during his trip to China, mentioned it.

In 1819 it was still very little populated; few fishermen lived there. But the first to understand the enormous importance of the geographical position of the island was the Englishman Sir Thomas Raffles, governor of Java. On behalf of England he, in 1819, purchased the island from the Sultan of the Malaysian state of Johore, for only $ 60,000. And Britain immediately built the most important air and naval bases in the world.

According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Singapore, in 1826 the three states of Penang, Malacca and Singapore were reunited together, as an Indian presidency, and in 1867 they passed under English rule, becoming a crown colony.

After the arms reduction conference in Washington in 1921/22, the London government powerfully fortified the port of Singapore, making it a Gibraltar of the Pacific Ocean.

Occupied by the Japanese in 1942, during the Second World War, its name was changed and was called Syonanko.

On September 12, 1945, the island was re-occupied by Great Britain and in 1946 constituted a colony in its own right, until June 3, 1959 when it became an autonomous state in the orbit of the British Commonwealth, with its own Constitution.

This included an entirely elective Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers, also elected. The same head of state, Yang di-Pertuan Negara, was also the general representative of the English Crown.

The latter was responsible for defense and foreign affairs, but everything else was left to the Singapore government.

Singapore Recent History

A Security Council, made up of three British representatives, three from Singapore and one Malaysian, provided for internal security.

In May 1959, the elections had awarded the majority to the left-wing but non-communist Popular Action Party, and the premier was Lee Kuan Yew.

Due to its advanced economic and social situation, moderate nationalism, maximum religious tolerance, Singapore was always among the most advanced countries on the continent. The English language was officially accepted, without any contrasts, and in relations with other good nations they were always with Malaysia, which always made its pond work on the island, in one of the most important industrial plants in South Asia.

All other activities are very important and developed, from that of the Pulau Bocum oil refinery to the textile, beer and fish conservation refinery.

Politically calm, the state of Singapore until 1990 was ruled by Lee Kuan Yew, who resigned in that year and passed the reins of the government to his deputy Goh Chok Tong. But he remained at the top of the Popular Action Party until 1992.

But in the meantime in 1985 there had been a change of the President of the Republic who had become Wee Kim Wee, former president of the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation. He was later confirmed in 1989.

In August 1986, also in the stability and strict control of all sectors, the Parliament Act was modified as the possibility of fining, expelling and imprisoning members of government who had abused their privileges was introduced. A law was also passed which prohibited the printing of foreign publications that could affect domestic politics. For all these restrictions, the secretary general of the Workers’ Party, the largest opposition body, JB Jejaretnam, in November 1986 was imprisoned for a month and had a ban on public office, of any nature, for 5 years.

In January 1991 the Constitution had amendments under which the President of the Republic had greater powers, including the right of veto over proposed financial laws and the possibility of directly arbitrating cases where national security was under discussion.

In August 1993 NGO Teng Cheong, deputy prime minister, was elected President of the Republic and was the first to manage the position for 6 years.

In foreign policy, the state of Singapore participated in all political mediations, both in Vietnam and Cambodia, strengthening its relations with China.

In the economic field it saw industrialization grow more and more and was among the most advanced countries in South-East Asia.

Throughout the 1990s, Singapore’s economic situation reached optimal levels, so much so that the government reduced taxes and significantly increased contributions for the development of education and for sociality.


Also in foreign policy there were marked improvements in relations with both Indonesia and Malaysia, with which an agreement was signed for the definition of territorial waters in 1995.

Instead, in the same year, those with the Philippines stopped: the cause of this was the death sentence of a Filipino citizen, guilty of double murder.

Relations between the two countries resumed in 1996 and indeed improved in 1998, the year in which trade also increased.

The good performance of the economy did not decline in the following years and, in August 1999, without having access to further elections, having a single candidate, he was elected President of the Republic SR Nathan.

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