An Article by Iftekhar Ahmed Sakib
The term Four Asian Tigers or Four Asian Dragons is used to refer the highly free-market and developed economics of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Among these nations I got Singapore as my country in a MUN Conference. My first expression was: what am I going to do with such a small island? But as I started researching, I must say, this country is one of the best examples for the whole world.
Why it is an example:
Singapore, officially The Republic of Singapore and often referred to as the lion city, the Garden city, the red dot is a sovereign state in southeast Asia and the world’s only island city state. When Singapore was expelled from Malaysia in 1965 and thrust in to an unwanted independence it was a typical third world country with an income of $ 500. But today inspite of having a really small area of 719.1 sq. km and huge population of 56, 10,000 it has the world’s third highest per capital income of $ 82,762.The reasons for which it is an example for the whole world and specially for third world countries like us are:
1. No natural resource of its own: The most surprising fact is that it has almost zero natural resource. For example-
*Hydroelectricity power cannot be harnessed, as Singapore does not have a river system with fast flowing water.
*Due to land scarcity limits, the safe deployment of nuclear power in not possible.
*Commercial wind turbines operate at wind speeds of above 4.5m/s but the average wind speed in Singapore is only about 2m/s
*Singapore’s relatively narrow tidal range and calm seas limit opportunities for commercial tidal power generation. Much of its sea space is also used for ports, anchorage, shipping lanes which limit the application of ocean energy technologies. Besides it does not have geothermal energy sources and sustainably grown domestic biogas. However just relying on solar energy and developing some of the most modern technologies, it is now a global commerce finance and transport hub.
2. Maintaining a balance between development and conservation of nature: Where most third world countries prioritize on development, Singapore has always maintained a balance between development and conserving the environment. Successive environmental blue-prints, such as the Singapore blueprint (SSB) 2015 have expressed its firm determination for a good living. They are actively engaged in environmental cooperation through bilateral and regional platforms like the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and ASEAN.
3. Political stability and free-fair judicial system: The country’s constitution establishes a representative democracy as the political system. 84% of residents in Singapore expressed confidence in the govt. and 85% in its judicial systems and court -one of the highest ratings in the world in case of political stability and free judicial system
4. Extra-ordinary foreign policy: Possessing one of the most fascinating foreign policy, it is aimed at maintaining security in south-east Asia and surrounding territories. As one of the five founding members of ASEAN it is a strong supporter of the ASEAN free trade Area (AFTA) and the ASEAN investment Area. Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong proposed the formation of ASEAN Economic Community, a step beyond the current AFTA, bringing it closer to a common market.
5. Zero tolerance to terrorism: Singapore has pushed regional counter-terrorism initiatives, with a strong resolve to deal with terrorists inside its borders. To this end it has given support to the US-led coalition to fight terrorism, with bilateral co-operation in counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation initiatives and joint military exercises.
Achievements: Its standings include: Easiest place to do business (World Bank) for ten consecutive years, most technology-ready nation (WEF), 2nd most competitive country (WEF), 3rd largest Foreign exchange centre, 3rd-largest financial centre etc.
Reasons for Development:
So, why did Singapore succeed so comprehensively? The simple answer is exceptional leadership of three great minds Mr. lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister; Dr. Goh Keng Swee, the architect of Singapore’s economic miracle and Mr.S.Rajarnam, Singapore’s philosopher per excellence. Together they made a great team implementing three exceptional policies-Meritocracy, pragmatism and honesty.
1. Meritocracy: It means a country picks its best citizens, not the relatives of the ruling class, to run a country. 2. Pragmatism: It means that a country does not try to reinvent the wheel. Dr. Goh Keng Swee would say,
“No matter what problem Singapore encounters somebody. Somewhere has solved it. Let us copy the solution and adapt it to Singapore”.
Copying best practices is something any country can do.
3. Honesty: Corruption is the single biggest reason why most third world countries have failed. The greatest strength of Singapore’s founding fathers is that they were ruthlessly honest.
According to home affairs and law minister K. Sharmugam four key challenges confront Singapore in the next 50 years are:
1. Balancing financial prudence with higher social spending
2. A rapidly ageing population that does not replace it self
3. Competition from abroad and
In spite of living in an area accused of human trafficking, Singapore expresses its firm determination to work for humanity and establish global integrity.
The following article reflects the view and opinion of the writer only. It doesn't, by any means, reflects the view or opinion of NDIURC, Notre Dame College or any other affiliated organization/organizations.