Who Really Owns Singapore? Unveiling The Power Structure Behind The Country’s Governance

Who Really Owns Singapore Unveiling The Power Structure Behind The Country's Governance 129826104

Often, we marvel at Singapore’s success but wonder who holds the reins? Fact is, behind the gleaming skyscrapers and first-class infrastructure, there lies a complex power structure.

This blog post will take you on a journey to discover how historical events have shaped its governance style and reveal who truly controls this powerhouse nation. Get ready for an eye-opening trip through Singapore’s political labyrinth!

History of Singapore

History of Singapore 129826825

Singapore has a rich history that includes ancient origins, British colonization, World War II and Japanese occupation, as well as its post-war period leading to independence.

Why is Singapore So Rich And Developed - A History of Singapore

Ancient Singapore

Ancient Singapore 129826326

Years ago, Singapore was just a coastal city. Fishermen and pirates lived here first. The big empire of Srīvijaya in Sumatra used it as an outpost. This made Singapore a busy trading port.

The history of old-time Singapore takes us to 1867. That year, the British set up the Strait Settlements. In 1946, it got its own rulers from Britain’s royal family. It also played a key part in making the Federation of Malaya four years later.

British colonization

British colonization 129826231

The British came to Singapore in 1824. The East India Company took control. They saw it as a very strong place that no one could hurt.

In 1867, the Straits Settlements became its own Crown Colony. This meant that Singapore was under direct rule from the British government. The Dutch also agreed that Britain had full power over Singapore.

For many years, the British made big changes in Singapore’s story and how it is run today. The mark left by their rules can still be seen now.

World War II and Japanese occupation

World War II and Japanese occupation 129826398

In 1942, World War II reached Singapore. The Japanese took over the land on February 15 of that year. They made Singapore a part of their empire and gave it a new name, “Syonan-to”.

Life was tough during these years.

The Japanese occupation caused lots of problems. There were not enough things people need like food or clothes. This went on for three long years until 1945. After the war, there were changes in trading and lifestyle all over Southeast Asia.

The impact of this dark time did not end when the war did. It changed how things worked in places that were ruled by other countries before the war started, including Singapore.

Post-war period and independence

Post war period and independence 129826693

Singapore’s post-war period and independence marked a significant turning point in its history. After World War II, Singapore experienced the same economic boom and depression as the rest of the world.

Despite remaining under British control, the island gradually gained more self-government. This paved the way for Singapore to become an independent republic on 9 August 1965. The immediate post-war and post-independence periods are crucial in understanding the power structure behind Singapore’s governance.

Government and Politics

Government and Politics 129826897

The government of Singapore operates under a unitary parliamentary republic system, with a unicameral parliamentary government. Learn more about the political system and key figures in the country’s governance.

Read More.

Political system of Singapore

Political system of Singapore 129826169

Singapore has a political system that is often described as a single-party dominance. The government in Singapore follows the Westminster system, which means it has three separate branches: the Legislature, President, and Parliament.

Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament. Singapore adopted a parliamentary democracy system after gaining independence in 1965.

The President of Singapore is largely ceremonial but does have some powers, such as approving budgets and appointing key public officials. The Parliament plays a crucial role in making laws and policies for the country.

However, it’s important to note that the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has been in power since 1959 and holds an overwhelming majority of seats in Parliament.

Another notable aspect of Singapore’s political landscape is its state-controlled media. Domestic newspapers, radio stations, and television channels are owned by companies linked to the government.

This can sometimes limit freedom of expression and independent journalism.

Leaders and key figures

Leaders and key figures 129826776

The government of Singapore is currently led by the Prime Minister, who holds significant power and responsibility in shaping the country’s policies and direction. The cabinet, which consists of various ministers, plays a crucial role in decision-making and overseeing different aspects of governance.

These leaders are chosen based on their competence and achievements through a meritocratic system that emphasizes qualifications and capabilities. The ideology of good governance has been deeply ingrained in Singapore’s leadership approach, with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy promoting this principle to ensure the success of the country.

Over time, Singapore has witnessed ideological shifts in its governance, particularly regarding issues such as meritocracy and elitism, which have shaped the composition of its key figures and leadership positions.

Foreign Relations

Foreign Relations 129826776

Singapore has fostered strong relationships with its neighboring countries, leading to mutually beneficial trade agreements and partnerships. Discover how these foreign relations contribute to Singapore’s growth and stability.

A Conversation With Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Relations with neighboring countries

Relations with neighboring countries 129826916

Singapore maintains diplomatic relations with 189 UN member states, excluding the Central African Republic, Monaco, and South Sudan. Despite being a small country that heavily relies on trade, Singapore holds influence in regional and global affairs.

The United States has a longstanding relationship with Singapore based on mutual economic interests. Additionally, there are other neighboring countries like China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand that have achieved higher growth rates than Singapore in East Asia.

These relationships with neighboring countries can be examined through the lens of ownership and governance within Singapore.

Singapore’s relations with its neighboring countries play a crucial role in shaping its foreign policy. The country focuses on diplomatically engaging with others through trade agreements and partnerships while promoting economic cooperation and regional stability.

Bilateral relations are prioritized to ensure cross-border collaboration benefits both parties involved. Geopolitics is also an important consideration for Singapore as it navigates its position among larger powers.

Trade agreements and partnerships

Trade agreements and partnerships 129826222

Singapore has established itself as a key player in international trade, entering into several trade agreements and partnerships. These agreements open up opportunities for businesses to engage in crossborder commerce and expand their reach globally.

Singapore’s trade policies, negotiations, and economic cooperation with other countries have contributed to its thriving economy. For example, the United States and Singapore enjoy a close and cooperative trade relationship supported by the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

This agreement enables U.S. companies to take advantage of export opportunities while adhering to import regulations set by both countries. With its strong ties in global trade, Singapore continues to attract foreign investments and foster economic growth.

Singapore’s participation in trade agreements demonstrates its commitment to fostering stronger economic ties with neighboring countries and beyond. By engaging in these agreements, Singapore can tap into new markets and benefit from increased access to goods and services from partner nations.

The country’s international trade relationships drive economic development as it facilitates the flow of goods, capital, technology, and expertise across borders. Some examples of these agreements include bilateral agreements with Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan among others which provide frameworks for streamlined customs procedures that facilitate smoother cross-border transactions for businesses operating between these countries.


Military 129826238

The Singapore Armed Forces is known for its strong defense capabilities and the mandatory National Service program. Read on to discover how their military plays a crucial role in Singapore’s governance.

Singapore Armed Forces

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is responsible for protecting and defending the security interests and sovereignty of Singapore. With the largest air force in Southeast Asia, they play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the nation.

The SAF has also formed military relationships with other nations, showing its commitment to regional security and cooperation. As a guardian and national institution, the SAF actively contributes to forging national interests and maintaining Singapore’s sovereignty.

In line with this, Singapore is gradually unveiling its military modernization plans for the SAF, emphasizing their dedication to staying on top of defense capabilities in an ever-changing world.

National Service

National Service is a compulsory duty for all male Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, unless exempted. The government believes that having a strong military is very important to protect the country’s sovereignty.

National Service has expanded beyond just military training to include civil defense and community service as well. The Enlistment Act makes it mandatory for individuals to fulfill their National Service obligation.

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) plays a significant role in shaping national values through NSmen (National Servicemen).


Economy 129826301

Singapore’s economy has flourished into a global financial hub, attracting major industries and companies. Discover how this growth contributes to the country’s power structure. Read more to unveil who really owns Singapore.

Thriving global financial hub

Singapore is widely recognized as a thriving global financial hub. Its strong economy and advanced infrastructure have led to a high standard of living for its residents. The country has become a major financial center in the Asia Pacific region, attracting both local and international businesses.

One key factor contributing to Singapore’s success as a financial hub is its business-friendly environment. The government has implemented policies that promote economic development and attract foreign investment.

Additionally, Singapore has a strong regulatory framework that ensures transparency and stability in the financial sector.

Technological innovation also plays a crucial role in Singapore’s status as a global financial hub. The country has embraced digitalization and employs cutting-edge technology to provide efficient financial services.

This commitment to technological advancement has helped Singapore maintain its competitiveness on the global stage.

Major industries and companies

Singapore is home to a diverse range of major industries that contribute to its thriving economy. One key sector is semiconductor manufacturing, with companies like NXP Semiconductors and GlobalFoundries operating in Singapore.

Another important industry is precision engineering, which involves the production of high-precision components for various sectors such as aerospace and electronics. Companies like ST Engineering and Flextronics are prominent players in this field.

The country’s economy also benefits from the presence of several multinational companies in the aerospace manufacturing sector, including Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney. In addition, Singapore has established itself as a leading banking hub, with financial giants such as DBS Bank and OCBC Bank playing a significant role in providing banking services not only domestically but also regionally.

Insurance services are another vital part of Singapore’s economy, with major companies like Great Eastern Holdings contributing to the growth of this industry. The hospitality industry is also flourishing in Singapore due to its status as a popular tourist destination.

Hotel chains like Marina Bay Sands and Pan Pacific Hotels Group cater to both domestic and international visitors.

Furthermore, logistics and transportation play an essential role in facilitating trade within Singapore’s busy seaport – one of the world’s busiest cargo ports – with companies such as PSA International ensuring smooth operations.

The oil and gas refining sector is another significant contributor to Singapore’s economy, thanks to refineries operated by ExxonMobil Asia Pacific and Shell Eastern Petroleum.


Demographics 129826933

Singapore’s demographics reflect its rich cultural diversity, with various religious and ethnic groups living harmoniously. Discover the fascinating makeup of this vibrant nation!

Religious and cultural diversity

Singapore is known for its rich religious and cultural diversity. The country welcomes people from different backgrounds, creating a vibrant multicultural society. The ethnic composition of Singapore includes Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and other religious groups.

For instance, the majority of ethnic Indians in Singapore practice Hinduism, while there are also significant Muslim and Christian communities. Similarly, the ethnic Chinese population in Singapore consists of a large number of Buddhists.

This diversity is a result of Singapore’s history as a hub for immigration. Over the years, people from various countries have settled in Singapore and brought their religions and traditions with them.

This has resulted in a mix of cultures that coexist harmoniously within the country. Religious tolerance is highly valued in Singapore, with interfaith dialogue being promoted to foster understanding among different faiths.

The government recognizes the importance of preserving cultural heritage while promoting social cohesion and integration among diverse communities. Efforts are made to ensure equal opportunities for all residents regardless of their background or beliefs.

Diversity management plays a crucial role in maintaining harmony within society by celebrating different cultures and encouraging mutual respect among individuals from various religious backgrounds.

Ethnic and racial makeup

Singapore is known for its diverse and multicultural society. The ethnic and racial makeup of Singapore’s population plays a significant role in the country’s governance. Around three-fourths of the total population in Singapore are Chinese, making them the largest ethnic group.

Malays and Indians are also major ethnic groups, together making up 98.4% of the citizen population. The remaining 1.6% consists of members from other races. These four main ethnic groups, namely Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Others, shape Singaporean society and contribute to its cultural diversity.

Understanding the ethnic composition is crucial when examining power dynamics within Singapore’s governance structure. It reflects the country’s commitment to promoting harmony among different communities while maintaining a strong national identity.

Education and Healthcare

Education and Healthcare 129826283

Singapore’s education system is known for its rigorous standards and academic excellence. The country places a strong emphasis on education, with government policies that prioritize investment in schools, teachers, and educational resources.

In terms of healthcare, Singapore has a universal healthcare system that provides affordable medical services to all residents. Discover more about Singapore’s education and healthcare systems by reading further!

Education system

The education system in Singapore is known for its high standards and emphasis on academic excellence. Education is mandatory for children between the ages of six and 15, and the government provides subsidized education at all levels.

The system is based on meritocracy, where students are encouraged to excel academically in order to secure good jobs and contribute to the nation’s development.

Primary education lasts for six years, followed by four years of secondary education. At the end of their secondary school journey, students take a national examination called the GCE O-Level.

Depending on their performance, they can choose to continue with two more years of pre-university education or enter vocational institutes.

Universal healthcare

Singapore has achieved universal healthcare, which means that everyone in the country is able to access affordable and quality healthcare services. The government plays a big role in making this possible through its mixed financing system.

One important aspect of Singapore’s healthcare model is the public statutory insurance system called MediShield. It provides basic health coverage for all residents and helps to lower their out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatment.

This ensures that people are protected from high medical costs and can receive the healthcare they need without financial burden.

Unlike some other countries, Singapore’s approach to healthcare relies more on individuals’ personal spending rather than heavy government funding. However, this doesn’t mean that the government isn’t involved or supportive of its citizens’ health needs.

In fact, the government heavily subsidizes certain types of care, such as primary care services and hospital stays in public hospitals, ensuring that these essential services remain affordable for everyone.

Culture and Society

Culture and Society 129826359

Singapore’s culture and society are a vibrant blend of arts, cuisine, and diverse social norms. From bustling hawker centers to world-renowned art festivals, there is something for everyone to explore and enjoy.

Read on to delve deeper into the cultural fabric that makes Singapore so unique.

Arts and cuisine

The arts and cuisine scene in Singapore is a vibrant reflection of its cultural diversity. With a fusion of different backgrounds, traditions, and philosophies, Singapore’s art and culture offer a unique blend of creativity.

Local artists have the freedom to explore their own voice and expression through various mediums such as painting, sculpture, theater, dance, and music.

Not only do the arts provide an avenue for self-expression, but they also contribute to the economy. The cultural and creative sectors have a significant economic impact in Singapore.

They generate income through tourism, employment opportunities for artists and cultural workers, as well as support industries like design, fashion, film production, and culinary arts.

Moreover, art has the power to address important societal issues by provoking thought and initiating conversations. It is relevant to societal preoccupations such as identity formation or social justice concerns.

Artists often use their craft to shed light on various aspects of society that need attention or improvement.

Social norms and values

In Singapore, social norms and values play a crucial role in shaping the culture and society. The country’s governance is built upon these principles, which contribute to its political stability, economic growth, and social harmony.

The interconnectedness of social norms and religious moral values and beliefs adds depth to the cultural fabric of Singapore. People in Singapore adhere to a set of shared beliefs that guide their behavior and interactions with others.

Descriptive norms also come into play as they provide information about prevailing behaviors, helping individuals navigate societal expectations. Research in communication studies has presented measures for developing social norms and related scales, highlighting their significance in managing and influencing behaviors.

Social norms influence various aspects of life in Singapore, including politics and public policies. Other-regarding values are essential for ensuring positive political outcomes for the country as a whole.

By understanding the importance of these values, explicit processes can be utilized to shape them effectively. The power structure behind Singapore’s governance takes into account these social norms and values when formulating policies that promote social cohesion while fostering economic development.

Conclusion: Who Really Owns Singapore?

Conclusion Who Really Owns Singapore 129826728

Uncover the intricate power dynamics and influences that shape Singapore’s governance, from its colonial history to its current government policies. Discover who truly holds control in this bustling city-state.

Analysis of power structure

The power structure in Singapore is important to understand when considering who really owns the country. Political control lies with a small group of individuals who played a key role in Singapore’s independence.

The government, as defined by the country’s Constitution, consists of the President and the Executive. This constitutional structure gives executive authority to make decisions on behalf of the nation.

Additionally, there are government-owned corporations like Singapore Power (SP) that handle electricity distribution throughout the country.

Furthermore, it is crucial to acknowledge that uncertain circumstances, such as the current pandemic crisis, impact how power is managed. Governments at all levels are tasked with managing these uncertain times and their effects on society.

In Singapore, this involves making important decisions and implementing policies for the well-being of its citizens.

Influence of colonial history and current government policies

The influence of colonial history and current government policies plays a significant role in the governance of Singapore. During British rule, the colonial administration had a dominant influence on the formation of the local government.

This legacy has continued even after Singapore gained independence. The British administration is often credited with laying the foundations for Singapore’s economic success by introducing modern infrastructure and promoting trade and commerce.

In present times, the government of Singapore continues to implement strategies inherited from its colonial past. These strategies focus on internationalizing the country’s economy by attracting capital investments and emphasizing management expertise.


1. Who holds the power in governing Singapore?

The power in governing Singapore is held by the ruling political party, People’s Action Party (PAP), which has been in control since independence.

2. Is there a separation of powers between different branches of government in Singapore?

Yes, there is a separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches in Singapore to ensure checks and balances.

3. Are there any other influential entities or individuals involved in governing Singapore?

Besides the government, major corporations and business leaders play a significant role in shaping policies and contributing to decision-making processes.

4. How transparent is the ownership structure behind governance in Singapore?

The ownership structure behind governance in Singapore may not be entirely transparent due to various reasons such as privacy concerns and national security considerations.

5. Does understanding the power structure help explain how policy decisions are made?

Understanding the power structure behind governance can provide insights into how policy decisions are made but it’s important to note that not all factors influencing decision-making may be publicly disclosed or readily apparent.

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