A Sneak Peak into Singapore’s Government
Many Singaporeans look at their forefathers with eyes beaming with admiration. They consider the nation’s success as an evidence of early leaders’ ability to manage what little resources they have in order to make the country a sustainable place for all of its citizens. Singapore’s financial standing came with a heavy price and many Singaporeans know that if it wasn’t for leaders like Lee Kuan Yew, the nation could still be suffering from the great Asian financial crisis or the housing shortage they experienced back in the 1950s to early 1970s.
The economic sustainability and excellent living conditions being enjoyed by people in Singapore now are always being attributed to meritocracy. Meritocracy is the kind of government where people holding the power are selected on the basis of their ability. Unlike many countries in the world, Singaporeans don’t choose their leaders just because they are from the ruling class or because they have connections with other leaders in the country. Singaporeans hate red tape and corruption and the government does all that it can to fight people who attempt to ruin the country’s reputation by doing fraudulent activities and dodgy businesses.
How does the Singapore Government operate?
With their national and local government being one and the same, Singapore has only one level of government. Their executive branch consists of the President, the Prime Minister, and the Cabinet. The President serves as the head of the state and performs a ceremonial role. Currently, the presidency is determined by election and the President usually serves six-year terms. One of his main task is to appoint the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
Singaporeans over 21 years of age are required to vote and elect 84 members of the Parliament. Another six members may be nominated to Parliament with speaking rights and voting rights on all resolutions except those related to finances or the constitution.
As patterned with the British political system, the government is headed by a Prime Minister who is tasked to lead a Cabinet of Ministers comprised of 15 members. The Parliament has three key roles: making laws and amending provisions in the Constitution, controlling the state’s finances, and performing checks on the actions of the governing party and the Ministries.
What makes the Singapore Government unique?
Singapore has been governed by People’s Action Party (PAP) ever since it gained its freedom from the UK in 1965. The party is known to have a socialist democracy type of approach rooting from an authoritarian, rational, and legalistic kind of political culture.
As mentioned above, the Singapore Government has been known for their clean, corruption free image. This may be attributed to their consensual mode of decision making and a leadership style that is collective. Their power structure is considered to be of a top-down style, putting more emphasis on appointment rather than election for most offices. It’s safe to say then that Singapore is not reigned by politicians but by bureaucrats who gained their power through skill, performance, and their loyalty to the nation and the policies.
How does the Singapore Government help their citizens?
Being deemed as one of the best cities in Asia to live in, Singapore has always ranked high in most world rankings when it comes to quality of living. The government implements a whole lot of programs and schemes where their citizens can benefit from.
Singaporean citizens, over 21 years of age, are entitled to buy and rent apartments from the Housing & Development Board (HDB). They can also buy subsidized executive condos and studio apartments that are developed as well by the HDB.
- Central Provident Fund (CPF)
This is the compulsory social security savings plan for citizens and permanent residents (PRs). The government encourages you to save so you may be responsible for your own medical bills, education and property investment. The CPF covers the person’s retirement, healthcare, home ownership, and asset enhancement, among others.
- Education: The Edusave Scheme
This government initiative aims to give all young Singaporean citizens a chance to maximize their opportunities. All government and government-aided primary and secondary schools can benefit from the Edusave Scheme. Through Edusave, schools are granted with resources that they can use in order to gain holistic development and to encourage students to excel in both academic and non-academic areas.
A donation fund called Medifund is set up by the Government to help finance the medical expenses of impoverished Singaporeans. The funds can be used by low income Singapore citizens when they get confined on approved hospitals and medical institutions.
- Parenthood Perks
The government has a Baby Bonus Scheme that shows support for the parents’ decision to have more children. A cash gift of up to SGD 8,000 may be given to the family who have just had their first and second child. Meanwhile, parents who have just had their third and fourth child can get up to SGD 10,000. There is also a Children Development Account that serve as a special savings account for kids under the age of six.
These are just some of the benefits that the Singapore Government provides for its citizens. Even if it looks like everything is fine and dandy, the Singapore government does have pitfalls too for there is no such thing as a perfect government. But seeing how developed and reputable Singapore is, there is no doubt that their approach and principles in governance is definitely on the right track – bringing forth success and good life for the many.