Singapore. In February, the government presented its
budget for 1996-97. As it showed a surplus of the order of
seven billion Singaporean dollars, according to Finance
Minister Richard Hu Tsu Tau, it gave room for reductions in
both personal and corporate taxes.
Prior to the January 1997 parliamentary elections, the
Prime Minister made a pledge described by the opposition as
election pork in the fall: each adult Singaporean was
offered the opportunity to subscribe for 500 price-reduced
shares in the state telephone company (SingTel). According
Countryaah.com, this offer
was estimated to cost the government an amount equivalent to
approximately SEK 9 billion.
In January 1998, the Singapore dollar continued its free
fall against the US dollar as a result of the financial
crisis affecting the entire region. In April, Singapore
attended a meeting in Washington with a number of other
representatives from Southeast Asia, Latin America and
southern Africa. The meeting was convened by President
Clinton and the G7 countries in an attempt to "strengthen
the international financial system".
As a result of the population's increasingly poor command
of English, in 1999 the government launched a campaign
against "singlish" - the special Singapore variant of
English spoken in the city state. The "speak good English"
campaign sought to reduce the use of singlish
containing elements of colonial English mixed with Malay,
Tamil and Hokian.
That same year, Singapore played a key role in supporting
the region's weakened economy. The country used parts of its
large foreign exchange reserves and trade surpluses to
support the Thai bath and the Indonesian rupiah.
The August 1999 presidential election was won by PAP
candidate Sellapan Ramanthan Nathan - who was the only one
declared eligible. Nathan took over the post in September.
the government proposed to transform the country into an
"Asian Silicon Valley". During a trip to India in January
2000, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong urged Indian experts in
technology and informatics to move to Singapore to support
the city-state economy.
In April 2001, 2000 people held an unprecedented
political meeting, aimed at protesting the government and
raising money for popular parliamentarian JB Jeyaretnam, who
was close to bankruptcy. It was the first time political
activity was allowed outside the election campaign.
In January 2002, Singapore and Japan signed a trade
agreement that was considered "historic" for the country
because it demonstrated Japan's obligations to the region.
Singapore's investors gained access to Japan's service
sector with the agreement. Companies based in Singapore are
now free to bring money in and out of Japan.
In September 2002, Amnesty International criticized that
22 people had been executed for drug trafficking the year
before. Thus, 369 had been executed since 1991. By its size,
Singapore has one of the highest levels of death sentences
in the world.
The government started two new TV channels to promote
sexuality in the country in a desperate attempt to promote
fertility. With just 1.24 children per day. woman, the birth
rate in Singapore is one of the lowest in the world. One of
the two channels offers sexual therapy.
The SARS epidemic in Southeast Asia had a negative impact
on the economy of Singapore, but in May 2004 the Ministry of
Trade and Industry announced that growth was again positive.
This was due to both the low interest rate and the
international expansion in trade and investment. Acc. the
government is in particular the US, China and Japan pulling
Singapore's economy in a positive direction.