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  DRAFT

MARCH 5, 2009
SPECIAL VERSION FOR
MOC CLASS 3/9/09 
 

MICHAEL E. PORTER 

BOON SIONG NEO 

CHRISTIAN KETELS 

Remaking Singapore
Singapore had achieved impressive economic performance since gaining independence in 1965. In
the first two decades the country had moved from $500 GDP per capita to $10,000 in 1989.1 By 2007,
GDP per capita had reached $36,384. While Singapore had continued to grow in the 2003-2007 time
period, however, competitive challenges were becoming increasingly evident. China and India, in
particular, continued to grow their exports and soak up foreign investment. Closer Asian neighbors,
such as Vietnam and the Philippines, had joined Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia in aggressive
efforts to enhance competitiveness.

Most Singaporeans were resigned to continued change as the only way to sustain prosperity. A
visible example was two casino complexes underway in 2007 in downtown Marina Bay and Sentosa
Island, reversing a long-standing policy against gambling as corrosive to the country’s vaunted work
ethic. Singapore’s leaders were contemplating other steps to maintain and enhance Singapore’s
competitiveness.2

Origins of Modern Singapore


Singapore was an important trading center and port as early as the seventh century A.D. By the
fourteenth century Chinese immigrants had established a small community on the island, and the
name Singapura, a word of Sanskrit origin meaning Lion City, was in common use. After Portugal
wrested control of the region from Malaccan and Malay rulers in the sixteenth and early seventeenth
centuries, Singapore fell into obscurity.3 Modern Singapore dated from the discovery of the island’s
superb natural port in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles, an officer of the British East India Company.

The East India Company, seeking to forestall colonial advances by Holland and France, was in
search of a base at the strategic southern tip of the Malay Peninsula that would complement the
nearby British posts at Penang and Malacca (see Exhibit 1). Raffles instantly recognized the trading
potential of the site, which he predicted would become “a place of considerable magnitude and
importance”4 and “the emporium of the seven seas.”5 He settled a treaty the next day with a local
sultan and established an outpost.

Singapore’s location at one end of the Straits of Malacca and its policy of duty-free trade proved
beneficial. It was earning revenue within a year as a center for trade and transshipment. Population
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 
 
Professor Michael E. Porter, Professor Boon Siong Neo, and Dr. Christian Ketels prepared this case with the assistance of Research Fellow Susan
Chang (Asia Competitiveness Institute, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy) and Research Associate G. Alexander Muggah. This case draws
heavily on an earlier HBS case, “Singapore” (March 31, 1993), # 9-793-096, which was prepared by Research Associate Edward Prewitt and
Professor Forest L. Reinhardt.This case was developed from published sources. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion.
Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management.
DRAFT Remaking Singapore

grew from about 150 at Raffles’s arrival to 10,700 within five years. The three British posts on the
Malay Peninsula were incorporated as the Straits Settlements in 1826, under the control of British
India. In 1867 the Straits Settlements became a Crown Colony, controlled directly from London, and
the British colonial civil service system was implemented. Population had reached almost 81,000 in
1860, including perhaps 7,000 Europeans.

Singapore developed a classic entrepôt economy, one which funnels exports out of and imports
into a surrounding area. An entrepôt typically attracted shipping, communications, banking, and
insurance services and facilities to support the importing and exporting; and retailing and other
service enterprises to provide for the needs of the shippers and bankers. The advent of the steamship
and the opening of the Suez Canal in the 1860s dramatically increased traffic through the Malacca
Straits. Singapore became one of the region’s major ports of call. The development of commercial
rubber tree plantations in the region was particularly important. The island became that commodity’s
central sorting and export center. In so doing, Singapore added processing and light manufacturing
capabilities to its trade function.

Prosperity continued to grow on entrepôt trade in rubber and tin from Malaya and the Dutch East
Indies. The island’s importance was accentuated by a sizable British military presence, which
increased gradually after 1867 and culminated with the construction of a large complex in 1923–41.
By the beginning of the second world war, Singapore had become Britain’s principal naval and air
base in Asia.

As Britain was pressed to the limits in Europe during World War II, however, it was unable to
commit sufficient forces to defend the base. The “Gibraltar of the East” fell to Japanese troops after six
days of fighting. Renamed Syonan (“Light of the South”), Singapore was the capital of Japan’s
wartime southern region for three and a half years.

The British returned in 1945 to find the island’s housing and infrastructure in shambles, and
unrest among the populace and work force.6 Reconstruction took four years, and by 1949 trade, labor
productivity, and basic social services such as electricity and sewerage had returned to their pre-war
levels. Entrepôt trade in rubber and tin boomed during the Korean War (1950–53), accounting for
20% of GDP.

It was becoming clear, though, that traditional entrepôt trade was threatened. Newly independent
Indonesia—half of Singapore’s trade hinterland—had embarked on its own program of industrial
development, lessening the need for Singapore as a trade hub. At the same time, politics began to
take precedence over trade for many residents. The Malayan Communist Party, centered in
Singapore, agitated for independence from Britain and gained many adherents, despite repression of
the party by colonial administrators.7

The End of British Rule: 1958-1964


In 1946 the Colonial Office dissolved the Straits Settlements and combined the states of the Malay
peninsula into a Malayan Union. Singapore was excluded, however, and remained a Crown Colony.
Strikes and repeated calls for self-rule in Singapore led Britain to agree to gradually increase
Singapore’s self-governance. In 1948, the first elections in Singapore’s history were held, for six of
Singapore’s 25 Legislative Council seats. Throughout the next decade, a Singaporean government
began to form alongside the weakening colonial administration. However, in response to communist
protests in Singapore and an armed communist insurgency in Malaya, the British imposed the 1948

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Remaking Singapore DRAFT

Internal Security Act, which allowed detention without trial for persons suspected of being ‘threats to
security.’ Protests continued until full sovereignty was granted in 1958, one year after the Malayan
Union had become the independent Federation of Malaya. A new constitution established a
unicameral parliamentary democracy.

The results of the subsequent election in Singapore, held the following year, surprised almost
everyone.8 The People’s Action Party (PAP), a fledgling pro-communist party headed by 30-year-old
Lee Kuan Yew, won easily. The party soon split, though, over Lee’s ardent desire to merge Singapore
with the Federation of Malaya. Communists took two-thirds of the party organization with them,
leaving the comparatively moderate Lee in a precarious position. After the citizenry supported
merger in a referendum, Lee arrested the communist leadership.

In 1963 Lee and the leaders of Malaya, North Borneo (later Sabah), and Sarawak signed an
agreement to form the Federation of Malaysia. The new nation fulfilled a condition that Lee believed
was necessary for Singapore’s survival. “Nobody in his senses believes that Singapore alone, in
isolation, can be independent,” stated an official government publication of the time.9

The marriage soon ended. Political strains between Chinese-dominated Singapore and the Malay
majority in the rest of Malaysia erupted in riots. The economic promise of the federation never
materialized; the separate territories were unable to agree on a common market. In addition,
Indonesia objected strongly to the merger. Indonesian agents bombed a Singaporean hotel and seized
fishing boats as part of its “Konfrontasi” with Malaysia.10 Singapore’s GDP declined by 4% in 1964. In
1965, little more than a year after the formation of the federation, Malaysia ejected Singapore.

Lee wept as he announced the separation, saying “all my life, my whole adult life, I have believed
in merger and unity of the two territories.”11 His distress might have been due equally to his nation’s
prospects. “With the link to the natural riches of Malaysia . . . severed, Singapore was doomed to live
on the wits of its people. They were not a promising mix,” wrote the Economist.12 The newly
sovereign nation’s situation was dire.

Creating an independent Singapore: 1965 to 1970


Lee Kuan Yew became Singapore’s first Prime Minister and his People’s Action Party (PAP) easily
won the first elections after independence and came to dominate the political system. Singapore was
a representative parliamentary democracy. The single-chamber parliament was elected for four-year
terms and in turn elected the Prime Minister that led the executive. The head of state was the
President who, elected up till 1993 by parliament and since then through popular vote, had a largely
ceremonial role. The PAP had won between 60% and 85% of the popular vote in all elections since
independence. Opposition parties were free to campaign and won individual seats. But the PAP ran
un-opposed in many constituencies. The PAP had held 66% to 95% of all seats in parliament in all
elections since independence. In an international assessment of political rights and civil liberties
Singapore was regularly classified as ‘partly free’,13 and foreign observers criticized the use of strict
defamation and libel laws to bar some from running. Despite these controversies, independent
surveys left little doubt that the great majority of Singaporeans saw the election process as fair.14

Lee’s government quickly moved to create the foundations for a viable country. Priority was on
job creation and the provision of decent housing, both of which were in short supply. Two statutory
boards, answering to government ministries, were created: the Housing Development Board (HDB)

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DRAFT Remaking Singapore

and the Economic Development Board (EDB). They would come to play major roles in the nation’s
development.

With a budget of S$10 million in 1960, the HDB set out to build 10,000 low- and middle-income
housing units per year, many in “new towns” in undeveloped parts of the island. (The colonial
housing authority had built 23,000 units in 32 years.) The HDB soon exceeded its goal. Faced with an
unemployment rate estimated at 13.5% in 1959, the EDB sought to attract and encourage investment.
One of its first projects was the giant Jurong Industrial Estate, created on filled land at the western
end of the island. Given the unstable political climate of the early 1960s, however, Jurong failed to
attract much investment and won the epithet of “white elephant.” But the expansion of construction
jobs and EDB’s other efforts resulted in a reduction of unemployment, to just over 10% in 1967.

The government had created the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a social security plan introduced
in the last years of British rule, which involved mandatory contributions from employers and
employees (5% of salary from the employee and 5% from the employer). Over the next 30 years the
required rate of contribution increased almost yearly, reaching 16% in 1970, 38% in 1980, and peaking
at 50% in 1984–85 (see Exhibit 4). In 1986, the rate was scaled back to 35%, when it was argued that the
accumulated savings was depressing domestic demand and making it increasingly difficult to find
productive areas for investment because CPF and other taxes on employers made employment costs
very high by the standards of the region. The rate rose again to 40% by 1991. The CPF and other taxes
on employers made employment costs very high by the standards of the region.

Beginning in 1968, low-income citizens were allowed to use the entirety of their CPF balances to
buy low-cost HDB flats. By 1992, 80% of Singaporeans owned their own homes. During the 1980s,
CPF uses were gradually expanded. Withdrawals were allowed for medical and educational
expenses, the purchase of blue-chip stock, and the transfer of money from children to elderly parents.
From a negative rate in 1960, Singapore’s domestic savings grew to 18% of GDP in 1970.

During the federation period and immediately afterward, Lee’s government initially pursued an
import substitution strategy, the policy most often recommended for less-developed countries by the
International Monetary Fund and other advisers during that period. But the alienation from
Malaysia, with its much larger market, rendered the strategy impractical.

Singapore’s economic prospects were dealt a second blow in 1967, when Britain announced it
would pull out its troops in the early 1970s. At the time, British expenditures on their several military
bases accounted for 18% of Singaporean GDP and 20% of employment. Contemporary “speeches by
Singaporean policymakers convey[ed] a . . . sense of desperation,”15 wrote the New York Times. “The
90,000 to 100,000 jobs that will be lost with the British pullout will be added to an already high
unemployment figure. . . .”16

Lee and his team decided to replace import substitution with a strategy of aggressive export
promotion. Because Singaporeans lacked the skills and capital to develop enterprises of the necessary
size and sophistication on their own, Singapore looked outside and welcomed foreign direct
investment at a time when many nations in the region viewed the presence of Western multinational
firms as a vestige of colonialism.

To attract foreign firms, the government undertook measures to improve the investment climate.
New laws moderated labor costs by limiting some tactics of trade unions, which had been prone to
strikes in the pre-independence era. Exchange rates were managed close to market rates, and
convertibility of the Singapore dollar was sustained. Tariffs and duties on imports and exports were
set at low rates.

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Remaking Singapore DRAFT

World trade and investment flows were booming, and American and European firms were
seeking sites for off-shore assembly plants. The EDB opened its first foreign offices in Hong Kong,
New York, and San Francisco, pursuing multinational companies that sold to worldwide markets.
Within months the campaign began attracting factories, beginning with the electronics industry. By
late 1969, seven major firms, of the likes of National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments, had
located plants in Jurong and newer industrial estates. The plants made components mostly for
shipping back to the parent companies in America.

The government also greatly expanded investment in the economy, especially the manufacturing
sector. In 1968 the Development Bank of Singapore, which was owned by the EDB, launched a huge
wave of investment into local firms. By 1970 its holdings amounted to a quarter of all equity
investments in the economy,17 enabling the government to channel large amounts of capital into a
variety of sectors. Chief among these were the electrical machinery, petroleum products, and
construction industries. The last soon became Singapore’s largest domestically owned industry, and
an important source of growth for GDP and employment.

During these first years of independence, the government also focused on creating a Singaporean
identity that would unite the country’s diverse ethnical groups. At independence, Chinese accounted
for 62% of the population, Indians 16%, Malays 14%, and Europeans and others 8%. That profile
roughly endured into the 1990s; in 1991 Chinese formed 78% of the total population, Malays 14%,
Indians 7%, and Europeans and others 1%. Singapore’s population (including foreign workers)
reached one million around 1950, two million around 1970, and three million in 1990.

Five major languages and approximately 20 dialects made communication difficult. At


independence, government policy directed schools to teach four official languages: English
(designated the language of administration), Malay (designated the national language), Mandarin
Chinese, and Tamil.

Urban renewal projects had razed most of the sites that Western tourists tended to find appealing
in Singapore, such as the old Chinatown. The government was pragmatic in the extreme. In the mid-
1980s, for example, the government founded a matchmaking service that aimed to find husbands for
well-educated Chinese women, who were threatening the racial balance by marrying later and
having fewer babies.

Orderliness and cleanliness were hallmarks of modern Singaporean society, and were strictly
enforced by the government. Private ownership of cars was limited through high taxes to avert traffic
congestion and air pollution, for example. Taxis were fitted with outside lights and internal buzzers
that were triggered if they exceeded the speed limit. Fines for littering, smoking in public places, and
failing to flush public toilets were stiff and exercised with alacrity.18 Long hair on men was prohibited
for a time among government workers and tourists. Fearful of its security in a hostile region,
government retained the colonial-era Internal Security Act (ISA), which allowed indefinite detention
of suspected criminals. In the 44 years between 1963 and 2007, the ISA was invoked twelve times.

All Singaporean newspapers and television stations routinely supported the government. Foreign
publications publishing unfavorable assessments would sometimes find themselves under pressure
to publish official responses by the Singaporean government or face the prospect of having their
distribution temporarily suspended. In practice, suspensions had been almost non-existent.
International assessment ranked Singapore lower than other advanced economies.19 Commenting on
these rankings, Lee Boon Yang, Singapore’s Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts,
characterized the rankings as “based largely on a different media model 'which favors the advocacy

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DRAFT Remaking Singapore

and adversarial role of the press' [while Singapore’s] model is that of a free and responsible press
whose role is to report news accurately and objectively to Singaporeans.”20

The political and business elite formed a rigorous meritocracy, granting advancement only to
those with high test scores and educational achievement. According to observers, the governing style
was not totalitarianism, “but rather . . . a paternalistic, ordered, and planned approach to society,
based on the government’s belief that it knows best.”21 “Big Brother in Singapore is less a tyrant than
an authoritarian father worried that his family will one day disappear,” observed another critic.22 The
governing elite comprised only a few hundred people, who tended to see each other frequently in
different forums. “Because of the small size [of the society], each official wears many hats,” a senior
EDB official said in an interview. “This eases informal communication and makes it easier to have a
shared vision.”

At independence, trade unions were an unlikely ally of the government, but had communist
leanings and frequently struck for better wages and working conditions. Upon taking power, Lee
banned antagonistic unions outright. The successor union, the National Trades Union Congress
(NTUC), was cooperative with government, officially sharing the doctrines and policies of the PAP.
Union membership began a long decline, from 75% of the work force in the late 1960s to 25% in 1988.

The governmental National Wages Council set economy-wide guidelines for wages, wage
increases, and fringe benefits. To improve the investment climate for foreign corporations, Parliament
barred unions from negotiating promotion, transfers, firings, and working conditions after 1968.

Becoming an Asian tiger


From a rate of 5.8% (compounded annually) during 1960–65, Singapore’s real GDP growth
accelerated to 12.9% in 1966–73—probably the highest rate in the world. Foreign investment inflows,
export-oriented manufacturing, and external trade all grew rapidly. Economic success earned
Singapore and several other east Asian nations the appellation of “little dragon”.

The government maintained the convertibility of the Singapore dollar and from 1973 the currency
was allowed to float. Singapore’s reserves of foreign currency reached S$59 billion in 1991, exceeding
those of most other countries on a per-capita basis. The current account in the balance of payments
turned positive in the mid-1980s, despite a perpetual merchandise trade deficit. Positive net flows in
services and investment income offset the negative trade balance. Government revenue exceeded
spending, resulting in large budget surpluses (see Exhibit 5). Monetary policy since independence
emphasized maintenance of very low inflation.

As the historically high unemployment rate evaporated during the 1970s and 1980s, work rules
were gradually relaxed. During the same period, the functional composition of the labor force
altered. A large contingent of foreign workers was admitted to Singapore beginning in the early
1970s, when labor shortages began to appear. They fell into two categories: skilled workers and
professionals with long-term employment passes, and unskilled workers with biannual work
permits, hired largely in the construction, manufacturing, and domestic service sectors. The
government controlled the numbers of the unskilled group to regulate wages. In 1973, at the peak of
an economic boom, “guest workers” constituted approximately 13% of the labor force, up from 3%
around 1970. By 1980 their number dropped to 7%, as the government began discouraging labor-
intensive operations. The fraction rose to 18% in 1991. Rules on the permitted percentages of foreign
workers changed frequently. Guest workers came at first largely from Malaysia, and then as that

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Remaking Singapore DRAFT

nation’s job market tightened, from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, and Sri
Lanka.

“Sitting right on the main Europe-Far East shipping route, Singapore became the natural
converging point of some 50 maritime nations and more than 200 shipping lines. . . . [It] became, in
one of the catch-phrases of the time, the world’s fourth busiest port.”23 The government viewed the
port as its lifeline, devoting as much capital to the facilities as it could afford. The result was a
perpetual state of expansion and upgrading. Singapore built the region’s first container freight
terminal in 1972, and introduced 24-hour berthing service. The busyness of the port meant that the
British naval dockyards were not idle after 1971. They were converted into a ship-repair center, and
for the next several years, that industry grew by 30% annually.

In addition to low skilled assembly work, capital-intensive industries also grew. Singapore
promoted the development and expansion of the former British Navy refueling facilities by
multinational oil companies interested in developing oil deposits in Indonesia, and soon became the
largest petroleum refining center in Asia. Petrochemicals also benefited from the war in Vietnam. U.S.
warships and supply ships found the facilities to their liking, and Singapore’s importance as a port
increased.

Government was the country’s largest single employer into the 1990s. More than 450 public-sector
firms, such as Singapore Airlines and Singapore Telecom, accounted for 20% of GDP in 1992.
Government owned firms were managed differently than in most other countries, with professional
boards of directors and expectations that they make a profit. The government owned equity positions
in domestic and foreign firms through development banks. It held three-quarters of the country’s
land, which it retained when selling HDB flats to their occupants. The results of these policies seemed
positive; according to one observer, “Singapore . . . has been a major exception to the central tenet of
Economics 101 that government participation is bad for the economy.”24

The first international oil shock in 1973 brought about the end of two-digit growth in Singapore.
Economic conditions in developed countries, on which Singapore was dependent, worsened. Real
GDP growth fell from 11.2 % in 1973 to 6.1 % the following year.25 Still, the economy grew at a rate of
7.1% (compounded annually) in 1973–79, far exceeding the world average. During the second
international oil shock, which induced recession in many countries in 1979–80, real GDP grew by
more than 9% in both years.

The high unemployment that had plagued the country through the mid-1960s had long since
disappeared. In the tightening labor market, real wages began rising more rapidly relative to labor
productivity (see Exhibit 6). Other less-developed Asian countries with cheaper labor, such as
Malaysia and Thailand, had emerged as important manufacturers of labor-intensive products.

The Lee government responded by initiating a large wage increase in 1979.26 The government
hoped the policy would encourage Singapore’s factories to shift to higher technology. Following this
logic, employers (both foreign and local) would no longer find it as profitable to produce low-wage,
low-value products, and so would switch to the manufacture of higher-wage, higher-productivity
products. The key element of the policy was a belief that manufacturers would not relocate all
operations to other countries that retained their low labor costs, but would recognize enough value in
Singapore’s infrastructure, hardworking labor force, and pro-business government to stay on the
island. The total impact on wages ranged between 14% and 20%.

“Our strategy is to induce entrepreneurs and managers of capital to increase efficiency of


production by restructuring, automation and rationalisation,” said Goh Chok Tong, then the Minister

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DRAFT Remaking Singapore

of Trade and Industry. “We also encourage them to upgrade into higher-technology industries that
can generate more value-added products.” The new policy would “allow . . . wages to rise to a level
reflecting the scarcity value of labour in Singapore. This way employers will no longer find it
profitable to produce more low-wage, low-skill, and low-value-added products by simply employing
more men on the production line.”27 Government ministers spoke “with relish of inefficient firms
going bankrupt, releasing skilled workers to successful companies that can make better use of
them.”28

For several years the strategy appeared to work, or at least not to harm the economy. Real GDP
grew 8.4% (compounded annually) from 1980 to 1984.29 Fully a quarter of GDP growth in 1983–84
came from the construction sector, which rapidly expanded to work on several large infrastructural
development projects, rather than from high-technology sectors. Financial services, transportation,
and communication also grew rapidly.

During the 1980s, CPF uses were gradually expanded. Allowances were made for housing
purchase, medical and educational expenses, the purchase of blue-chip stock, and the transfer of
money from children to elderly parents.

Recession and Reform


In 1985 a deep recession was accompanied by a sharp rise in unemployment, weak external
demand, low profits, and much lower investment in manufacturing. Real GDP declined by 1.4%—the
first contraction since independence. The recession was partly explained by the depressed
international market for oil. But a high-level Economic Committee, composed of top public and
private sector managers, blamed structural deficiencies in the economy for a larger portion of the
decline. It deemed the 1979 wage policy overambitious; growth of labor productivity had not kept
pace with the higher wages, which had seriously eroded the nation’s competitive position in relation
to rival Asian economies. The committee (which was chaired by Lee’s son, Lee Hsien Loong, a top
candidate to succeed Goh as Prime Minister) pointed to the heavy payroll taxes levied for the CPF,
which pushed up labor costs while external demand was slowing. Lastly, the committee blamed a
dependence on the construction boom. When the boom ended, the economy collapsed.30

The Economic Committee recommended that the government lessen its extensive managerial and
development role to allow the private sector more freedom. Specifically, it advocated flexibility in
wage-setting, and reduction of the forced savings rate in order to stimulate domestic demand. The
corrective measures were instituted in early 1986, including scaling back the mandatory contributions
to the social security fund to 35%.

By the end of that year a recovery had begun, which was sustained in 1987, when the real GDP
growth rate of 9.8% exceeded the predicted figure of 6%. In 1988 high export growth and domestic
demand led to 11.5% real growth, the highest rate in 15 years. “Strong world trade growth assisted
this impressive performance, but it owed much to the adoption of the corrective measures
recommended by the Economic Committee,” wrote one observer.31

Fast growth continued in 1989 and 1990, despite a slowdown in Singapore’s major export market,
the United States. The manufacturing sector, led by electronic components (particularly disk drives),
grew by 9.5% in 1990, but was eclipsed by the financial services sector. The latter had grown
dramatically in importance, despite having rattled investors when the stock exchange closed at one
point during the 1985 recession. With 15% growth in financial services in both 1989 and 1990—the

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Remaking Singapore DRAFT

best performance of any sector—Singapore had become Asia’s third most important financial center,
behind Tokyo and Hong Kong. By the end of the decade financial services accounted for 28% of GDP
and employed 11% of the labor force. (See Exhibit 7 for Singapore’s cluster portfolio measured by
exports.)

While attractive to unskilled workers, Singapore had trouble attracting skilled workers from
elsewhere and retaining its own. A net 4,700 families left the country in 1989. 32 This brain drain was
prevalent particularly among Singaporeans of Malay and Indian descent. In 1989, the Lee
government announced it would relax the stringent resident status criteria for up to 25,000 skilled
workers from Hong Kong and their dependents but the plan had limited success.

In 1991 growth slowed to 6.6%33, as the U.S. recession deepened. The spread of recession to other
OECD countries led to forecasts of a slowdown in the Singaporean economy in 1992, to “only” 5% to
6%. Even so, “Singapore Inc.,” as many citizens referred to their nation, continued to claim an
impressive set of economic superlatives. Its port, the world’s busiest for the fifth consecutive year and
the most efficient, overtook Hong Kong to become the world’s biggest container port (in terms of the
number of containers handled). Its oil installations were third in the world in refining capacity, and
Singapore was the the world’s third largest oil-trading center. Changi Airport was voted the world’s
best airport for the third straight year in a survey of business travelers. The government-owned
Singapore Airlines, regularly named the best airline in the world, was also the most profitable. The
CPF Board registered 137 foreign visitors who wished to study the CPF. Euromoney magazine named
Singapore the second-least risky country in Asia and the second-best economic performer in the
world. The World Competitiveness Report ranked Singapore as the most competitive of the world’s
newly industrialized countries, and scored its telecommunications infrastructure as the best in the
world. BERI, a Washington-based business information analyst, named Singapore the third-best low-
risk country for investment (behind Japan and Switzerland and tied with Germany). Business
Environment Risk Intelligence (BERI) rated Singapore’s work force the best in the world for the tenth
year running.34

Singapore’s tensions with Indonesia and Malaysia had receded enough by the late 1980s for the
three countries to announce establishment of a “growth triangle” comprising Singapore, the
Malaysian state of Johore to the north (connected to Singapore by a causeway, with a second
planned), and the Riau Islands of Indonesia to the south (30 minutes by ferry). Singapore would
provide the management expertise, technology, telecommunications, and transportation, while
Johore and Riau offered land and low-cost labor. Malaysia and Indonesia were to retain sovereignty,
but Singapore had substantial freedom to administer the development as it saw fit. Development
proceeded rapidly, mostly on the Indonesian island of Batam. At the beginning of 1990 Batam was
rainforest with few human inhabitants. Two years later several companies had begun manufacturing
and 35 more had signed up to occupy its industrial park. In 1992 a second island, Bintan, was added
to the scheme, as a planned resort.

As 1992 progressed, however, the economy worsened. The forecast for the growth rate was
downgraded to between 4.5% and 5.5%—a fifth of which came from a construction boom.
Singaporeans wondered nervously if the 1985 recession was about to be repeated.

Official and unofficial commentators did not attempted to pin all the blame for the country’s
slowing economic growth on the international situation. Instead there was a relatively frank and
public debate on whether the main problems were created nearer to home. The major argument was
over whether Singapore’s virtuous cycle of saving had again become vicious. Some thought over-

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DRAFT Remaking Singapore

saving, in large part through the government’s forced savings schemes, served to depress private
consumption and returns on investment.35

In-early 1991 Goh Chok Tong’s new government issued a long-range plan called the Next Lap.
The plan plotted social and economic goals in general terms. Its introduction sounded the familiar
Singaporean insecurity of a small island in a big and hostile world: “External events can shake us, as
they have in the past. Nothing is certain. We have to keep trying to stay ahead in the race of nations.
We must never forget the basics: We have to stay united, work hard, save, look after each other, be
quick to seize opportunities and be vigilant. …No one owes us a living—we have to earn it.”36 The
plan set the goal of achieving a U.S.-level per-capita standard of living by 2030.

Singapore maturing: 1992 to 2007


During the 1990s, the Singaporean government implemented a number of policy initiatives
motivated by the experience of the recession of the mid 1980s and following up on the vision set out
by “Next Lap”.

EDB was given the mandate to attract new investments in high-value-added industries like
electronics, information technology, communications and petrochemicals. Manufacturing firms
already operating in Singapore were given financial incentives to engage in activities beyond merely
manufacturing. To boost advanced services, EDB set itself the goal of attracting 500 world-class
companies to carry out a substantial part of their HQ activities in Singapore by 2010. By 2006, more
than 385 performed some HQ functions in Singapore. While multinationals remained at the core of
Singapore’s economic strategy, the government also aimed to improve the conditions for local
companies. In 1996, the Productivity and Standards Board (PSB) was formed to identify and nurture
promising SMEs to become Asian MNCs.

In 1997 “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation” was launched to transform the education system to
concentrate on creativity, the ability to think independently and to find solutions to problems they
face. Comprehensive reforms in school management processes, systems and structures paved the
way for subsequent changes in curricula and pedagogy. Transformation, however, took many years.
The old system had delivered high scores in international comparisons and there was hesitance to
change what had been a successful approach.37 Research centers and advanced training programs
were launched in the areas EDB targeted. The governmental National Computer Board announced a
sub-plan for the development of information technology (IT), “IT2000.” Significant investments were
made in new ISDN (integrated services digital network) technology and fiber-optics networks to
enable the use of advance information and communication technology.

During the first half of the 1990s, the economy grew at a brisk pace. The global economy was
picking up, and Singapore was able to participate in its growth. Exports of high-tech products grew
by 23% from 1990 (US$13 billion) to 1995 (US$38 billion).38 By 1997, GDP per capita levels in
Singapore had reached a level of US$25,269, 78% of the U.S. level compared to 61% at the beginning
of the decade.

Dealing with external shocks: 1997 - 2003


The Asian financial crisis in 1997-98 was the first of a number of severe external shocks that hit the
Singaporean economy. In the early 1990s, global liquidity and low interest rates in industrialized
countries coincided with a liberalization of cross-border capital transactions and deregulation of

10
Remaking Singapore DRAFT

Asian financial markets had led a flood of foreign capital flows into Asia. The sharp expansion in
domestic credit had in many Asian countries been invested in cyclical and speculative sectors like
property and equity markets. Short-term foreign currency-denominated loans were used to finance
longer-term infrastructural projects. Export revenues and foreign direct investment inflows were
softening as local currencies appreciated. Current account deficits were mounting in many countries
in the region. When the global electronics industry slowed down in 1997, exports plunged further
and current account deficits ballooned. Massive capital flight ensued, forcing many regional
currencies to devalue while stock markets plummeted.

Singapore had much stronger economic fundamentals than its neighbors but was affected by the
crisis as well. Its exchange rate and stock market fell by 16% and 54% between July 1997 and October
1998.39 While the Singaporean currency devalued against the US-dollar, it appreciated against the
currencies of its much harder hit neighbors, increasing Singapore’s relative cost position in the
region. Foreign direct investments (FDI) into Singapore which peaked at US$13.8 million in 1997 fell
to US$7.3 million in 1998. Unemployment rose from an average of 1.7% (1990-1997) to 2.5% in 1998.
Weak regional demand for Singapore’s exports and services was partly offset by the relatively stable
OECD markets. Almost 80% of Singapore’s domestic exports to the region were intermediate
components whose final products go to the OECD markets.40

The Asian financial crisis had exposed the structural rigidities and weaknesses of countries in the
region, many of which were forced to restructure, liberalize and reform their economies. Singapore’s
leadership viewed the situation as an economic slowdown caused by a sharp fall in external demand
rather than structural issues in the economy.41 The Committee on Singapore’s Competitiveness
recommended that Singapore reduced its business costs, maintained investor confidence and
continued to build up the people’s capabilities to ride out the economic storm. The government was
urged to ensure that the financial system remained robust, to diversify the economy by developing
new markets for exports and to form strategic alliances with regional economies to speed up the
recovery process. In 1999, the National Computer Board was privatized and government
computerization was opened up to private sector IT services providers on a competitive basis.

While the Southeast Asian economies were still working through the political and economic
turmoil left behind by the Asian financial crisis. The aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist
attack in New York sent shockwaves throughout the world. Singapore which supported the US
stance against terrorism was considered a “prized target”.42 In December 2001, Singapore applied the
Internal Security Act to arrest 15 people belonging to a radical Islamic group called Jemaah Islamiah
who were plotting to attack American and other Western interests. In August 2002, another 21
members from this group were arrested. These arrests not only heightened the insecurity that
Singaporeans were already feeling, but also strained the social cohesion that multiracial Singapore
had worked so hard to forge since independence.

Against this backdrop of political and security uncertainty, the Internet and telecommunications
industries crashed, and the US economy slipped into a recession in the fourth quarter of 2001. The
combined GDP of the original five Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) members was
still almost US$150 billion lower in 2001 compared to 1997 and growth rates were anemic.
Singapore’s GDP growth declined from 8.3% in 1997 to negative 2.4% in 2001, the worst GDP decline
ever recorded, overshadowing the 1985 recession (-1.4%) and 1997 Asian financial crisis (-1.4%).

In March 2003, the spread of the deadly SARS virus worldwide created public anxiety and took a
heavy toll on business. Tourism, which accounted for about 5% of Singapore’s GDP43, and transport-
related industries were the worst hit. Visitor arrivals fell sharply, and international events,

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DRAFT Remaking Singapore

conventions and exhibitions were cancelled. The National Association of Travel Agents Singapore
estimated that inbound business fell by 70% while outbound business fell by 80%. In April 2003, the
airport handled 11% fewer flights and 50% fewer passenger movements. Regional headquarters
services were affected as companies imposed travel bans on their staff. Foreign patients seeking
medical help in Singapore and foreign student arrivals also saw a dip. Singapore Airlines suffered its
first quarterly loss and had to lay-off 414 of its staff in 2003.44

Even government agency HDB shed 3,000 of its 8,000 staff as part of a restructuring exercise.
Although retrenchment cut across all segments, it was especially severe among production and low
skilled workers. As low-cost production relocated to China and service jobs were outsourced to India,
many low-skilled workers in Singapore were made redundant. Unemployment doubled from 1.4% in
1997 to 3.1% in 2005. Maersk and Evergreen, two global shipping lines, moved their container
business from Singapore to the port of Tanjong Pelapas in the southern Malaysian state of Johor,
reducing the Port of Singapore’s (PSA) handling volume by more than 20% and forcing PSA to cut
staff by 14%.45 As restructuring swept across numerous industries, many workers found that the
skills they possessed were no longer in demand. Though new jobs were created, many remained
unfilled, even during the 2001 recession.

The Economic Review Committee


The Singaporean government had initially viewed the external shocks as a temporary cyclical
problem, but signs were mounting that more fundamental economic restructuring was needed.

In December 2001, Singapore created the Economic Review Committee (ERC), chaired by then
Deputy Prime Minister (and Finance Minister) Lee Hsien Loong, the nearly 20-member Committee
included several ministers, chairman of the Economic Development Board, Secretary-General of the
National Trade Union Congress, Chairman of the Singapore National Employers Federation, and
prominent CEOs from the private sector. Sub-committees worked on i) taxation, central provident
fund, wages and land; ii) entrepreneurship and internationalization; iii) human capital; iv) the
manufacturing sector; v) service industries; vi) domestic enterprises; and vii) the impact of economic
restructuring. In total, more than 1,000 people from all parts of Singaporean economy and society
were involved.

In 2003, the ERC’s report established that Singapore’s successful growth model of the past twenty
years was not going to be sufficient in the future. The Committee presented its short- and long-term
recommendations on Singapore’s economic strategy, based on a vision for Singapore as a dynamic
global city with an entrepreneurial and diversified economy.

The ERC recommended short-term adjustments to improve the relative cost position of companies
located in Singapore. The employer’s contribution to the CPF was cut to 13%, with an even lower
rate of 9% for older workers aged between 50 and 55. The monthly salary cap for computing
contributions was reduced from S$6,000 to $4,500. Rental rates for government-owned industrial
space were lowered. Government-related fees were frozen and fee increases deferred. In 2003, the
income tax rate was reduced from 26% to 22% and further to 21% in 2006. The tax burden was shifted
to the goods and services tax, similar to VAT in other countries, which moved from 3% to 5%, and
subsequently to 7% in 2007. In 2004, foreign-sourced income and domestic investment income from
financial instruments were exempted from tax. In 2005, the corporate tax rate was reduced to 20%.

12
Remaking Singapore DRAFT

For the longer-term transformation of the Singaporean economy, the ERC’s recommendations
were wide-ranging, including expanding economic ties with countries within seven hours of flying
time radius from Singapore (spanning India, China, Japan and Australia) to enhance Singapore’s
regional hub status, promoting new exportable service industries in education, healthcare and
professional services, building stronger private companies through promoting entrepreneurship,
attracting global talent, and facilitating economic restructuring through worker education and skills
retraining.

The ERC report triggered a range of activities across different parts of the Singaporean
government. In some areas, it underlined policies already under way. In 2003, for example, Singapore
signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.46 While most of the tariffs on trade in
goods from the two countries have already been eliminated, the remaining tariffs were to be
abolished over a span of 10 years under the FTA rules. The agreement also covered government
procurement, competition and intellectual property protection. After the US-Singapore FTA was
implemented in 2004, bilateral trade between the two countries rose by 8.7% by 2006.47 Between 2004
and 2006 US exports to Singapore rose 25.9% to US$24.7 billion, while that from Singapore to US
went up by 15.6% to US$17.8 billion. By 2007 Singapore had established 13 FTAs to improve the
trading environment between partners.

In other areas, new efforts were launched. The Workforce Development Agency was established
in 2003 to lead and coordinate existing efforts to upgrade workers’ skills. Even during the economic
downturn, some industries, such as shipbuilding and repair industry, could not find enough
Singaporean workers with the right skills and experience.48 The Skills Redevelopment Program (SRP)
subsidized employers’ cost of sending their workers for training. More than 25,000 workers from
more than 15 industries and 500 companies benefited annually from these courses.49 These efforts
build on schemes that had been previously developed, including the Skills Development Fund (SDF),
the Manpower Development Assistance Scheme, the Life-Long Learning Fund and the National Skills
Recognition System.

In science policy, a National Research Foundation was set up in 2006, and new efforts – iN2015
and i-Gov2010 – were launched to further develop the country’s IT infrastructure and the use of e-
services by government. A new online business licensing service was launched to simplify
administrative routines for companies.

The Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) mounted a plan to transform
Singapore into a “vibrant global city for information and the arts”.50 The Singapore Film Commission
nurtured local talent and facilitated co-productions with international film-makers, and attracted
regional film-makers to produce in Singapore. To support local film makers, the Singapore Media
Academy (SMA) was set up in 2006 to help media professionals take advantage of new technologies.
An increasing number of international media organizations have also set up operations in Singapore,
including CNBC and MTV. The drive to preserve and showcase its heritage, headed by the National
Heritage Board, attracted more than 1 million visitors in 2006 to its 5 museums, and should be
enhanced by the reopening in December 2006 of the 119-year-old National Museum of Singapore,
which was upgraded at a cost of S$132.6 million.

The ambitious plan to turn the entire downtown Marina Bay area into an exciting lifestyle place,
for business, tourists and residents by 2010 became one of the most visible symbols of the economic
transformation. New developments on reclaimed land included a new business and financial center,
three new linked waterfront gardens, museums, art galleries, a giant Ferris wheel that is similar to the
London Eye, several high-end condominiums, hotels, retail and entertainment facilities, the new

13
DRAFT Remaking Singapore

Marina Barrage reservoir, water-sport zones and the Sands Integrated Resort. International events
such as a world-class horticultural show, the International Pink Dragon Boat Council World
Championships, and a marathon were attracted to the Marina Bay. Besides the bay area, the old
central business district, Chinatown, Little India, the Singapore River, Tanjong Pagar, Bugis and the
Orchard Road shopping belt were also to be upgraded over the next 5 to 10 years.

Between 2003 and 2007, Singapore grew strongly, taking advantage of a buoyant world economy.
Average real GDP growth over the period was 7.1%, less than China (10.8%) and Vietnam (8.0%),
though faster than Hong Kong (6.4%) and the average growth rate registered by the 10 ASEAN
countries (6.4%). Labor productivity (measured as real GDP per employee, adjusted for purchasing
power parity) grew at a compound rate of 3.0%51 while total factor productivity averaged growth of
3.6% over the same period. At the same time, Singapore’ trade grew strongly to $303 billion in
exports (2007 data, increase of 87% relative to 2003) and $254 billion imports (92%). Inward foreign
direct investment flows more than doubled between 2003 and 2007 to reach $24.1 billion.52

In 2006, Prime Minister Lee Hsien won his first general election with a wide margin. He had called
an early election after having taking over the position in August 2004 as part of a long-planned
succession process.

Singapore in 2007
By 2007, Singapore was ranked 21st in the prosperity league of countries, just behind Italy but
ahead of countries like Spain, New Zealand and South Korea.53

The ratio of people in working age (15 to 64 years) to pensioners (65 and older) had dropped from
15 to 1 in the 1980s to 10 to 1 in 2000 and was going to drop to 5 to 1 by 2020. Singapore’s fertility rate
(births per women) was at 1.3, far below the replacement level of 2.1 and the rates of all other
advanced economies.54 The number of Singaporeans living abroad, many of them high-skilled, had
grown from 36,000 in 1990 to 143,000 in 2006. A survey among 2,548 teenagers found that 53% of
Singaporean teens would consider emigrating compared to 28% of Malaysians and 39% of Indians.55

Labor productivity stood at 96% of the OECD average, and had at 1.55% per year grown slightly
faster than in the average of this group of advanced economies (1.46%). The speed of labor
productivity growth had slowed since 2005 and became negative in 2007, while wage growth
continued at higher rates.56 56% of the population was part of the labor force, almost 10% higher than
in the OECD. Looking more narrowly at the working-age population, Singapore’s labor participation
rate was similar to most OECD countries. The picture was different for female workforce
participation, where Singapore’s labor participation rate of 40% was lower than in most other OECD
countries, especially in the age groups above 50.57 A study carried out by the Ministry of Manpower
revealed that the most commonly cited reasons given for women’s reluctance to join the work force
were lack of part-time/flexible working arrangements (61%), inability to find jobs near home (45%),
jobs with a reasonable pay (28%).

Singapore’s trade (exports plus imports) accounted by 2007 for 434 % of GDP. The 2007 trade
balance registered a surplus of USD$33.3 billion or 20.7% of GDP.58 Foreign investment inflows and
outflows had reached historic heights (see Exhibits 8 and 9). Domestic fixed investment rates stood at
23.9%, compared to 20.0% in the average of OECD countries and 23.9% in ASEAN.59 In 2007,
Singapore based inventors had registered a total of 393 patents in the U.S., compared to 301 in the
overall period between 1965 and 1995 (see Exhibits 10).60

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Remaking Singapore DRAFT

In 2007, Singapore received high marks from several institutions comparing business environment
conditions across countries. According to the World Bank, Singapore had the world’s best
environment in terms of rules and regulations for conducting business.61 Other strengths were in
areas like physical infrastructure, skills, the absence of corruption, and low trade barriers (See Exhibits
11 and 12 for more details). On economic freedom, a general measure of the openness of the economy
and the freedom for private business activity, Singapore consistently ranked among the top countries
in the world.62

The quality of the education system in Singapore received high marks, with Singaporean 4th
graders ranking 1st on science and 2nd on mathematics in the international TIMSS assessment of
education systems. Students at secondary level achieved similarly high rankings.63 BERI’s 2005
Global Labor Force study rated Singapore as having the best workforce. 59.4%64 of the workforce had
secondary education or higher although the average years of schooling of workers still lagged behind
other Asian countries.65

Singapore had had also become one of the countries with the highest spending on R&D (12th rank
globally) and the highest share of researchers in the workforce (3rd rank). The National University of
Singapore (NUS) was ranked 33rd globally, behind four Australian and two Asian regional
competitors. In the disciplines associated with Life Sciences and Technology, NUS ranked 12th and
10th respectively66 International companies had become significant patentors from their operations in
Singapore (see Exhibit 13).

An area in which Singapore had over the years received weaker scores was the intensity of local
competition, where its GCR rank had dropped from 20 to 32 between 2002 and 2007. Since 2005, a
number of steps, including the creation of watchdog Competitive Commission of Singapore (CCS)
had been taken to create a more open playing field on the Singaporean market. However, ten sectors
that had played an important role in the development of the Singaporean economy, including
telecommunications, postal, media, transport and parts of banking, remained outside the jurisdiction
of the competition law.

Companies located in Singapore tended to get somewhat lower marks for their sophistication than
the business environment, ranked lower on indicators related to innovation and losing some ground
in terms of controlling their distribution channels abroad. Government-linked companies continued
to play a significant role in the Singaporean economy. Temasek Holdings, a fully government-owned
entity, made investments in strategic sectors which played a significant role in the development of
Singapore. While Temasek was government-owned it was professional run and had delivered an
annual return of 18% since its inception. Exhibit 14 lists Temasek’s local investments in 2007.

Singaporean Clusters
The Singaporean economy was dominated by a portfolio of clusters that had evolved over time.
Traditionally strengths were in areas like petrochemicals, transportation and logistics, finance,
information technology, and biopharmaceuticals. Government policy aimed to develop these clusters
further, in some cases significantly changing the nature of their core activities. There were also efforts
to develop new clusters like tourism and education.

The petrochemical cluster had been a major part of the Singapore economy since Shell built the
country’s first oil refinery on Bukom Island in 1961. By 2007, Singapore was one of the top three oil
refining centers in the world. The petrochemical industry accounted for 3.8% of Singaporean GDP

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DRAFT Remaking Singapore

and was the third largest manufacturing sector in Singapore, after electronics and biomedical
sciences. Over the past ten years, output had quadrupled to S$66.5 billion in 2005.67 The heart of the
cluster was on Jurong Island, reclaimed from the sea in the late 1980s and provided with dedicated
infrastructure at a cost of more than $5.14 billion to the EDB. More than 80 of the world’s biggest
petroleum and petrochemical companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil, BASF, and Mitsui Chemical
were located on the island. The Chemical Process Technology Centre (CPTC) and the Institute of
Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES) had been set up to provide staff training and research
expertise. Investments had recently been made in the Banyan logistic hub, an upgraded Jurong Port,
and a new underground storage for petroleum and petrochemical products.

The financial services cluster contributed about 12% to Singapore’s GDP by 2006 and registered
growth rates ahead of the overall economy. The cluster had become important during the 1980s and
1990s. In 1997/98, Singapore undertook a strategic review of financial services and launched several
initiatives to liberalize previously heavily regulated activities like local insurance and retail banking
as well as stock trading. The 2003 Economic Review Committee triggered a new wave of activities to
move Singapore beyond its traditional strengths in foreign exchange trading and cross-border
lending towards wealth management and other activities with were perceived to have higher value-
added potential.68 By 2006, Singapore-based institutions had strong positions in currency trading,
asset management, private banking, and insurance. There were also growing attempts to tap into the
emerging market for Islamic finance, based on specific tax advantages for such instruments69 and a
joint venture between DBS Bank, a leading local bank, and a group of Middle East investors. While
Singapore had a strong position in Asia, it remained behind the leading global financial clusters. In
foreign exchange trading, daily trading volumes in the UK were 3 times higher and had grown faster
than in Singapore. With the cluster growing, skilled personal was in increasingly short supply and
local government-linked banks were facing increasing competition for skilled employees from
international peers. Scholarship programs for finance training were launched70 and the Institute of
Banking & Finance worked with the industry to launch the Financial Industry Competency Standards
(FICS) in two phases in September 2005 and June 2006. 71 The government also focused on ensuring a
high quality of life to attract and retain local and international talent. In late 2006, the government
brokered a ‘voluntary’ freeze on poaching by foreign banks from their Singaporean peers.72

In logistics, historically a key cluster of the Singaporean economy, the ports of Singapore remained
in a leading global position, despite stronger growth in some Chinese ports, Shanghai in particular.
By 2007, Singapore remained the largest container port in the world and the second largest by total
cargo volume.73 NOL, formed by the Singaporean government in 1968, was among the largest
shipping lines in the world, with a market share of 3.6%. In 2002, the government had set up a
number of programs to strengthen skill development, achieve operational achievements, assist SMEs
in the use of IT, and support entrepreneurship in the cluster. Foreign analysts commented that
Singapore “hampers itself by protectionist policies in the legal services sector and that the corporatist
approach does little to engender a risk-taking commercial culture.”74 In air transport, Changi airport
ranked close to the top twenty airports in the world by passenger volume.75 Changi was perceived to
be particularly strong on service quality.76

Information technology had for many decades been a leading pillar of the Singaporean economy
and accounted for 10.7% of GDP and employed more than 90,900 workers in 2007.77 The cluster was
traditionally concentrated on efficient production of advanced IT hardware and had remained
resilient throughout the Asian financial crisis and the burst of the dot.com bubble. In 2006, the
National Research Foundation had set out the ambition to develop the cluster towards interactive
digital media (IDM). An IDM R&D Program Office was established with a five-year budget of S$500
million for research in animation, video games and special effects.78 Two new agencies, the Infocomm

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Remaking Singapore DRAFT

Development Authority (IDA) regulating telecommunications and promoting ICT usage and the
Media Development Authority (MDA) supporting content development across different media
platforms, promoted investments in digital media products, services and content. Local polytechnics
and universities started offering digital media and animation courses, and in 2007 the DigiPen
Institute of Technology opened a campus for animators and game developers. Singapore attracted
animation studios and electronic game developers such as Koel, Lucas films and Electronic Arts.79
International media companies like BBC International and academic publishing houses like Elsevier
set up operations. Many of them used Singapore as a regional headquarters for South East Asia or
talked about using Singapore as a base to blend Asian- and American-styles.80 By 2008, the size of the
media sector was estimated at roughly $15 billion.81

Biopharmaceuticals, especially pharmaceutical production, had been another important


Singaporean cluster since the 1990s. In 2000, the government had started to develop biomedical
science as a new growth area in the cluster. Singapore’s vision was to become an “advanced
biomedical sciences hub with world-class capabilities across the entire value chain from basic
research to healthcare delivery.”82 Within a year, the Tuas Biomedical Park provided up-to-date R&D
space, equipment, laboratories, incubators, a medical library, laboratory support services and legal
services to facilitate the growth of research in biomedical sciences. Companies like GlaxoSmithKline,
Merck, Pfizer, Aventis, and Wyeth subsequently invested millions of dollars in manufacturing
facilities and a total of 15 R&D labs close by. A*STAR, the restructured national research and
development agency, recruited globally renowned researchers to Singapore and by 2007 more than
2,000 scientists and professionals were working in Biopolis. More than 500 Singaporean scholars
received grants for doing their PhDs in leading universities in the US and Europe. Five biomedical
research institutes83 were created in Biopolis by 2007. A Bioethics Advisory Committee, a National
Advisory Committee for Laboratory Animals Research, and Biosafety legislation were set up to
provide a sound regulatory framework. The annual research spending by pharmaceutical companies
“almost tripled from S$88 million in 2001 to S$238 million in 2004.”84 Production output tripled from
S$6 billion in 2000 to S$18 billion in 2005. In 2007, disagreements about the future course in
developing the cluster became public when Philip Yeo, head of A*STAR was criticized by Lee Wei
Ling, head of the National Neuroscience Institute and daughter of Lee Kuan Yew.85 Dr. Lee argued
that Singapore should focus on building research capabilities in narrow areas related to Asian
diseases, while Mr Yeo,  , chairman of the EDB and the Singaporean Agency for Science, Technology,
and Research, saw a broader opportunity in drug research based on Singapore’s existing
biopharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities.

Tourism was a cluster that had gained importance over time. S$100 million had been committed in
2003 to enhance tourism infrastructure and market Singapore to the rapidly growing Asian middle
class, especially in China and India. A record 8.9 million tourists visited Singapore in 2005 and spent
S$10.8 billion. Medical tourism was a part of the cluster that was expected to have particular
potential. In 2003, the Health Ministry launched the Singapore Medicine project with the intent to
attract a million foreign patients to Singapore. In 2005, 374,000 foreigners came to Singapore to seek
medical treatment, a 17% increase over 2004. The majority came for medical check-ups and minor
treatments, but more complex treatments for cancer, heart problems, gynecological and orthopedic
problems were gaining importance.

Singapore was also hoping to become a global education hub. In 2004, the Singapore Education
Services Centre, the equivalent of British Council, was set up as a one-stop center for foreign students
in Singapore. More than a dozen foreign universities, including MIT, Cornell, Wharton, University of
Chicago and INSEAD, had opened campuses or alliances in Singapore by 2007, offering mainly post-
graduate courses and research units. Australia’s University of New South Wales was the first to offer

17
DRAFT Remaking Singapore

undergraduate courses in engineering, business, science and international studies, but later pulled
out off the Singaporean market. Warwick University (U.K.) had voted down a proposal to establish a
Singapore campus, with faculty citing the lack of “academic freedom and freedom of expression.”86

Singapore Beyond 2007


In 2008 Singapore was the first Asian country to enter into a recession as the result of the global
financial crisis. The financial services cluster was shaken by the announcement of lay-offs, the port
was bracing itself for a slump in global trade, and there were rumors about Sands, the lead developer
behind the Marina Bay casino complex, facing financial trouble. Singapore had taken advantage of
the benevolent global economic climate since 2003 to prepare for a new future. Implementing the
recommendations of the 2003 Economic Review Committee, the country had taken steps across many
clusters and many parts of the business environment with the aim to enable Singapore to compete on
innovation and ideas rather than on efficiency and productivity. Singapore had successfully made
bold moves into new directions in the past – would it be able to do so again?

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Remaking Singapore DRAFT

Exhibit 1 Map of the Southeast Asia Region  
 

 
Source: www.phukhao.com 
 

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DRAFT Remaking Singapore

Exhibit 2 Basic economic indicators, selected Asian countries, 2007 

   Singapore  Malaysia   Indonesia  Thailand   South Korea  Hong Kong 


Population 
Population (in millions)  4.6   26.5   225.6   63.8    48.5   6.9  
Population growth (annual 2003–2004)  4.2%  1.7%  1.2%  0.6%  0.2%  1.0% 
Urban population (in millions)   4.6   18.4   113.6   21.1    39.4   6.9  
  
Economy 
GDP at market prices (current U.S.$ in millions)   161,347  180,714  432,817  245,818  969,795  206,706 
GNI per capita, PPP (current U.S. $)  50,304  13,380  3,728  8,138  24,712  42,322 
Agriculture, value added (in % of GDP)  0.1%  8.5%  13.8%  10.8%  3.0%  0.1% (a) 
Industry, value added (in % of GDP)  31.1%  50.6%  46.7%  43.8%  39.4%  8.8% (a) 
Services, value added (in % of GDP)  68.81%  40.86%  39.43%  45.31%  57.60%  91.1% (a) 
Gross capital formation (% of GDP)  22.56%  23.12%  24.86%  29.85%  29.37%  21.38% 
Goods exports (BoP, current U.S.$ in millions)  299,272 (d)  176,403  118,014  151,130  378,982  345,979 
Goods imports (BoP, current U.S.$ in millions)  263,155 (d)  139,075  84,930  125,170  349,573  365,679 
Exports of goods and services (% of GDP)  227.2%  112.0%  29.4%  68.1%  45.6%  207.4% 
Imports of goods and services (% of GDP)  206.6%  98.0%  25.3%  64.5%  44.8%  196.7% 
  
Health and Education 
Life expectancy at birth (years) (a)   79.9   74.0   68.2   70.2    78.5   81.6  
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)   2.3   9.8   26.4   7.2    4.5    N/A  
Health expenditure, public (% of GDP) (b)  1.1%  1.9%  1.0%  2.2%  3.1%  N/A 
Public education spending (% of GDP)  3.7% (c)  6.2% (c)  3.6% (a)  4.2% (b)  4.6% (c)  3.9% (a) 

Information Technology 
Personal computers (per 100 people) (a)  72.2  23.1  2.0  7.0 (b)   54.0   65.4  
Cell phone subscribers (per 100 people)  122.5   87.9   36.3   80.5    89.6   152.3  
Telephone mainlines (per 100 people)  40.5   16.4   7.9   11.0    48.0   55.9  

Finance 
Inflation (GDP deflator annual %)  4.0%  2.6%  11.5%  3.4%  1.2%  2.7% 
Tax revenues (% of GDP)  12.4% (b)  17.6% (c)  12.3% (c)  16.8% (a)  15.7% (b)  N/A 
Present value of debt (% of GNI)  N/A  39.4%  44.6%  30.3%  N/A  N/A 
External debt (current U.S.$ in millions)   N/A  36.0%  37.5%  27.3%  N/A  N/A 
Stock market capitalization (% of GDP)   219.09%  180.21%  48.91%  79.75%  115.86%  562.43% 

Note: (a) 2006, (b) 2005, and (c) 2004 

Source: Compiled from World Development Indicators, 2008, and Singapore trade data from the WTO. 

20
Remaking Singapore DRAFT

Exhibit 3 Prosperity growth over time, Singapore 
GDP per capita, PPP
(in 1990 US$)
30,000

25,000 Rank by GDP per


capita, 2007

Hong Kong

20,000 Singapore

Taiwan

South Korea
15,000
Malaysia

Thailand

10,000
Indonesia

5,000

0
1965 1968 1971 1974 1977 1980 1983 1986 1989 1992 1995 1998 2001 2004 2007
 
Source: The Conference Board & Groningen Growth and Development Centre, GDP per capita in 1990 US$ (converted at Geary Khamis PPPs) 

 
Exhibit 4 Domestic Savings and Required Contributions to Singapore Central Provident Fund 
(CPF)  
 
   1965  1970  1975  1980  1985  1990  1995  2000  2001  2002  2003  2004  2005  2006

Required Contributions  $0.0  $0.2  $0.9  $2.3  $6.0  $7.2  $13.5  $14.1  $18.3  $16.2  $15.9  $15.3  $16.1  $16.6
to Singapore CPF in S$bn 
Contribution rate 
10%  16%  30%  38%  50%  39%  40%  32%  36%  36%  35%  33%  33%  33% 
(fraction of wages) 
Gross national saving in 
$0.3  $1.1  $4.0  $8.3  $16.8  $30.4  $61.6  $71.7  $62.1  $59.3  $64.2  $72.0  $84.6  $97.1
S$bn 
Gross national savings 
11.5%  19.5%  29.7%  33.0%  43.0%  45.6%  51.6%  44.9%  40.6%  37.6%  39.9%  39.7%  43.5%  46.3%
(% of GDP) 
Source: Singapore Department of Statistics and Singapore Central Provident Fund Board, 2007 
 
 
 

21
DRAFT Remaking Singapore

Exhibit 5 Singapore Government Budget Balances (1980‐2007) 
10 10%
Debt (% of Debt (% of Debt (% of Debt (% of
GDP) 1980: GDP) 1990: GDP) 2000: GDP) 2007:
58.4% 77.0% 84.1% 96.3%

8 8%

6 6%
Budget Balance (Billions Singapore $)

Budget Balance as % of GDP


4 4%

2 2%

0 0%

-2 -2%

Budget balance (billions)


-4 -4%
Budget balance (% of GDP)

-6 -6%
1980 1983 1986 1989 1992 1995 1998 2001 2004 2007
 
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2008 
 
Exhibit 6 Singapore Monthly Wage vs. Labor Productivity (% annual change) 
  % annual change
  10%

 
8%
 
 
6%
 
  4%
 
  2%

 
0%
 
 
-2%
 
  -4% Wages (% annual change)
  Labor Productivity (% annual
h )
  -6%
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
 
Source: Central Provident Fund Board  

22
Remaking Singapore DRAFT

Exhibit 7 Singapore National Cluster Export Portfolio, 2001 to 2007 
  4.0%
Change In Singapore’s Overall
  World Export Share: -0.03%

Information Technology Transportation


  3.5% (-1.58%, 5.61%) and Logistics Business Services

 
Singapore’s world export market share, 2007

 
3.0% Marine Equipment
 
Chemical Products
 
2.5%
 
Lighting & Electrical Equipment
 
Oil and Gas
  2.0%
Publishing and Printing
Financial Services

  Communications Equipment Plastics Heavy Machinery


Aerospace Engines

  1.5% Power Generation Equipment


Biopharmaceuticals Singapore’s Average
  Analytical Instruments Medical Devices Tobacco
World Export Share:
+1.50%
Light and Electrical Jewelry, Precious Metals and Collectibles
  1.0% Products Construction Services
Entertainment Production Technology
  Heavy Machinery
Hospitality and Tourism
Motor Driven Products Processed Foods
  Communication Services
0.5% Aerospace Vehicles and Defense
Metal, Mining and Manufacturing Forest Products
  Fishing Products Sporting, Recreational and Children's Goods
Building Fixtures and Equipment Agricultural Products
  Apparel Textiles Automotive
0.0%
 
-0.75% -0.50% -0.25% 0.00% 0.25% 0.50% 0.75% 1.00% 1.25% 1.50%
  Change in Singapore’s world export market share, 2001 – 2007
Exports of US$7 Billion =
 
Source: Prof. Michael E. Porter, International Cluster Competitiveness Project, Institute for Strategy 
and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School; Richard Bryden, Project Director. Underlying data 
drawn from the UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database and the IMF BOP statistics.  

23
DRAFT Remaking Singapore

Exhibits 8  Singaporean FDI 
FDI Inflows,
 (USD, millions)
$25,000
 
 
 
$20,000
 
 
  Inward FDI flows
$15,000
 
Outward FDI Flows
 
 
$10,000
 
 
 
$5,000
 
 
 
$0
  1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2007
Source: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Report 2008  
 
Exhibit 9 Foreign Direct Investment Stock and Flows, 2005 to 2007 
  FDI Stock as %
of GDP, 2007
  80% Hong Kong (573%. 113.9%)

 
70%
 
Iceland Singapore
  60% Bahrain
 
  50%

Estonia
  United Kingdom
40% Cambodia
  Netherlands

  30%
Chile

Saudi Arabia Czech Rep.


  Canada
Sweden
Hungary
Croatia
Poland France
Slovakia
  20%
Philippines Russia Laos Thailand Vietnam
  Turkey
Argentina
Brazil Finland
Mexico New Zealand
10% Indonesia Germany Spain
  China
USA
Norway
India
  0% Japan
South Korea Australia

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% 140% 160% 180%


 
Inward FDI flows as % Gross Fixed Capital Formation, average 2005 - 2007
 
Source: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Report 2009 

24
Remaking Singapore DRAFT

Exhibits 10  Level and Growth of U.S. Utility Patents, Selected Countries, 2003 to 2007 
Average U.S. patents per 1
million population, 2003-2007
  
  350

 
  300
United States
  Japan
250 Taiwan
 
 
  200

  Switzerland Finland
Israel
  150 Sweden

  Germany
  100 Singapore Canada Korea
Denmark
  Austria UK
Netherlands

  50 France Norway Australia


Ireland Hong Kong
Belgium China
  Italy
Spain Russia India (26.97%)
Brazil
  0
-10% -5% 0% 5% 10% 15%
  CAGR of US-registered patents, 2003 – 2007
10,000 patents =
Source: USTPO, 2008 
 
Exhibit 11  Doing Business Ranking, Singapore, 2008 
  Ranking, 2008
(of 181 countries)
Favorable Unfavorable
  80
 
70
 
  60
 
  50

 
40
 
  30

 
20
 
  10
 
0
  Ease of Trading Employing Dealing Closing a Protecting Getting Paying Starting a Enforcing Registering
Doing Across Workers with Business Investors Credit Taxes Business Contracts Property
  Business Borders Licences
Median Ranking,
OECD
 
Source: World Bank Doing Business Report, 2008 

25
DRAFT Remaking Singapore

Exhibit 12 Singapore’s Business Competitiveness, 2007 
 
Competitive Advantages  Rank Competitive Disadvantages Rank
Air transport infrastructure quality  1  Centralization of economic policymaking  119 
Government procurement of advanced technology  1  Control of international distribution  51 
Port infrastructure quality  1  Intensity of local competition  32 
Cooperation in labor‐employer relations  2  Effectiveness of antitrust policy  27 
Prevalence of foreign technology licensing  2  Local supplier quality  27 
Quality of math and science education  2  Availability of scientists and engineers  23 
Overall infrastructure quality  3  Capacity for innovation  22 
Quality of public schools  3  Property rights  22 
Laws relating to ICT  4  Buyer sophistication  21 
Reliability of police services  4  Local equity market access  21 
Freedom from corruption  5  Decentralization of corporate activity  19 
Intellectual property protection  5  Local specialized research and training services  18 
Prevalence of trade barriers  5  Presence of demanding regulatory standards  16 
Favoritism in decisions of government officials  6  Reliance on professional management  16 
Telephone/fax infrastructure quality  7  Value chain presence  16 
University/industry research collaboration  7  Extent of incentive compensation  14 
    Extent of regional sales  14 
    Quality of scientific research institutions  13 
    Stringency of environmental regulations  13 
    Venture capital availability  13 
    Efficiency of legal framework  11 
    Financial market sophistication  11 
    Patents per capita  11 
    Breadth of international markets  10 
    Company spending on R&D  10 
    Quality of management schools  10 
    Business costs of corruption  8 
 
Source: Global Competitiveness Report 2007, World Economic Forum 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

26
Remaking Singapore DRAFT

Exhibits 13  U.S. Patent by Singapore‐Based Inventors, 2003 to 2007 
First-Named Assignee 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Total
Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. 92 73 45 56 36 302
Seagate Technology, Llc 40 65 27 27 22 181
Micron Technology, Inc. 21 34 32 35 37 159
National University Of Singapore 28 24 19 14 17 102
Agency For Science, Technology And Research 1 3 14 26 38 82
Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. 14 16 13 14 18 75
St Assembly Test Services, Pte Ltd. 15 18 7 10 4 54
Asm Technology Singapore Pte Ltd 6 10 8 10 10 44
Institute Of Microelectronics 21 12 4 0 0 37
Infineon Technologies Ag 9 5 7 4 11 36
Stmicroelectronics Asia Pacific Pte Limited 3 5 8 14 6 36
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. 3 6 7 14 4 34
Bridge Semiconductor Corporation 6 5 3 11 8 33
Data Storage Institute 7 14 2 1 2 26
Agilent Technologies, Inc. 0 6 10 7 1 24
Nanyang Technological University 5 4 7 5 2 23
Marvell International Ltd. 1 0 2 4 13 20
Kent Ridge Digital Labs 5 10 1 3 1 20
Creative Technology Limited 1 0 6 7 5 19
Avago Technologies Ecbu Ip (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. 0 0 0 2 15 17
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. 3 2 4 3 4 16
Jds Uniphase Corporation 0 2 10 3 0 15
Thomson Licensing S.A. 3 4 3 3 1 14
Osram Opto Semiconductors Gmbh 1 5 4 2 1 13
Stats Chippac Ltd. 0 0 3 3 6 12
Singapore Total 366 389 277 340 331 1703
 
Source: United States Patent and Trademarks Office, 2008 
 
Exhibit 14 Temasek Holdings, Major Singapore Company Investments, March 31, 2008 

 
Source: Temasek Holdings, 2008 

27
DRAFT Remaking Singapore

 
ENDNOTES 
                                                            
1
  Statistics Singapore at http://www.singstat.gov.sg/stats/themes/economy/hist/gdp.html  
2
 Speech by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in Parliament on the proposal to develop integrated resorts on 19 April 2005, 
Singapore Government Press Release, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. 
3
 Ministry of Information and the Arts, Singapore 1992, p. 26. 
4
 Library of Congress, Singapore:  A Country Study (Washington, D.C.:  U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991), p. 14. 
5
 R. S. Milne and Diane K. Mauzy, Singapore:  The Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew (Boulder, Colo.:  Westview Press, 1990), p. 1. 
6
 Library of Congress, p. 124. 
7
 See “Singapore (A),” Harvard Business School case no. 9‐381‐013 (revised June 1981), p. 4. 
8
 Library of Congress, p. 52. 
9
 Quoted in Library of Congress, p. 53. 
10
 Library of Congress, p. 56. 
11
 Library of Congress, p. 57. 
12
 John Andrews, “Lee’s legacy:  A survey of Singapore,” Economist, November 22, 1986, p. 4. 
13
 Freedom in the World – Singapore (2007), Freedom House, 2007.  
14
 A survey by the Institute of Policy Studies after the 2006 election found that: 
•  63% of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that the “whole election system is fair to all political parties”  
•  61% agreed or strongly agreed that there is “no need to change election system” 
•  83% agreed or strongly agreed that it was “important to have elected opposition party members in Parliament” 
•  74% felt that they “had all the necessary information needed to vote”. 
15
 Alwyn Young, “A Tale of Two Cities:  Factor Accumulation and Technical Change in Hong Kong and Singapore” 
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., April 25, 1992, photocopied), p. 12. 
16
 Fred Emery, “Singapore is Afraid That Time is Running Out,” New York Times, April 28, 1968, section 6, p. 28. 
17
 Young, p. 12. 
18
 In 1992, the government banned the import and sale of chewing gum on the grounds that it was difficult and costly to 
clean up. 
19
 Reporters without Borders, Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007, Press release, 16 October 2007. 
20
 Quoted in: No independent media? S'pore model is different, Strait Times, 2004 
21
 Milne and Mauzy, p. 8. 
22
 Buruma, p. 142. 
23
 T. J. S. George, Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore (London:  Andre Deutsch Ltd., 1973), p. 95. 
24
 Mark Magnier, “Hong Kong’s Feisty Entrepreneurs More Adventurous Than Singapore’s,” Journal of Commerce, January 
7, 1993, p. 3A. 
25
 Statistics Singapore at http://www.singstat.gov.sg/stats/themes/economy/hist/gdp1.html  
26
 Although the National Wages Council’s guidelines on wage levels were not mandatory for private firms, those not in 
compliance had to explain themselves before an Industrial Arbitration Court—the judgments of which were binding. 
27
 S. Awanohara, “Singapore Inc.’s Boss on the Republic’s Future,” Far Eastern Economic Review, August 10, 1979, p. 40. 

28
Remaking Singapore DRAFT

                                                                                                                                                                                        
28
 See “Singapore (B),” Harvard Business School case no. 9‐383‐056 (revised August 1987), p. 11. 
29
  Based on data from Statistics Singapore at http://www.singstat.gov.sg/stats/themes/economy/hist/gdp1.html  
30
 The Economic Committee, The Singapore Economy:  New Directions (Ministry of Trade and Industry, February 1986), pp. 
37–46. 
31
 Economist Intelligence Unit, p. 11. 
32
 Selvaraj Velayutham, Responding to Globalization: Nation, Culture, and Identity in Singapore, page 156 
33
 Statistics Singapore at http://www.singstat.gov.sg/stats/themes/economy/hist/gdp1.html  
34
 Compiled from Rajendra S. Sisodia, “Singapore’s Firsts,” Harvard Business Review, May–June 1992, p. 42; Ministry of 
Information and the Arts, Singapore:  Facts and Pictures 1991, p. 175; and Kernial Singh Sandhu and Paul Wheatley, eds., 
Management of Success:  The Moulding of Modern Singapore (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1990), p. vi. 
35
 Economist Intelligence Unit, Singapore: Country Report No. 3 1992 (London), p. 4. 
36
 The Government of Singapore, Singapore: The Next Lap (1991), p. 15. 
37
  “Education Statistics Quarterly”, Vol 3, Issue 1.  See http://nces.ed.gov/programs/quarterly/vol_3/3_1/q3_1.asp  
38
   “High‐tech exports – S’pore ahead of rivals”, The Straits Times, 9 June 1997.  
39
 Committee on Singapore’s Competitiveness, Ministry of Trade & Industry, November 1998, p.24. 
40
 Committee on Singapore’s Competitiveness, Ministry of Trade & Industry, November 1998, p.27. 
41
 Committee on Singapore’s Competitiveness, Ministry of Trade & Industry, November 1998, p.29. 
42
 Straits Times, 3 Sep 2003 
43
 Economic Survey of Singapore First Quarter 2003. 
44
 The Straits Times, 30 December 2003. 
45
 The Straits Times, 20 December 2003. 
46
 An article adapted from “An Anatomy of an FTA Agreement – A Study of the United States‐Singapore FTA” by Ms Kala 
Anandarajah, Partner, Rajah & Tann and Mrs Foo E Lin, Senior Associate, Rajah & Tann, found on the EDB website. 
47
 Straits Times 1 December 2006. 
48
  “New Challenges, Fresh Goals – Towards a Dynamic Global City”, Economic Review Committee, February 2003, p 44. 
49
 Straits Times 14 December 1999 & NTUC website: http://www.ntucworld.org.sg/careertraining/key_customers.asp  
50
 Straits Times 8 October 1999. 
51
 Groningen Total Economy Database, 2008  
52
 Economist Intelligence Unit, 2008 
53
 World Bank Doing Business 2008, Economic characteristics., measured in GNI per capita.  
54
 Singapore Yearbook of Statistics, 2007; The World Bank Group, http://devdata.worldbank.org 
55
 Survey in the Strait Times, 2006. 
56
 Department of Statistics; MTI; CPF Board 
57
 The World Bank Group, 2007, http://devdata.worldbank.org 
58
 World Trade Organization, Statistics Database Trade Profiles, 2009, 
http://stat.wto.org/Home/WSDBHome.aspx?Language=E 

29
DRAFT Remaking Singapore

                                                                                                                                                                                        
59
 Economist Intelligence Unit, 2009. Real Gross Fixed Investment as percent of Real GDP (in 2005 US$) 
60
 United States Patents and Trademarks Office, Utility Patent Count, 1963‐2007 
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/cst_utlh.htm 
61
 World Bank Doing Business Report 2008 
62
 Singapore had ranked 2nd on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom since the measurement started in 
1995. In 2007, Singapore also ranked 2nd in similar rankings by the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute. 
63
 Singaporean Ministry of Education, Singapore Performs Well Again in Latest Trends in International Mathematics and 
Science Study (TIMSS) 2007, Press release, 10 December 2008. 
64
 Census and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower, 2001. 
65
 “Singapore’s Success – Engineering Economic Growth”, Henri Ghesquiere, Singapore, 2007, p 63. 
66
 Times Higher Education, World University Rankings 2007. 
67
 Speech by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports and the 2nd Minister for 
Trade and Industry, at the opening of the Singapore International Symposium, 2006. 
68
 Economic Review Committee, Subcommittee on Services Industries, Working group on Financial Services, Positioning 
Singapore as a Pre‐Eminent Financial Center in Asiia, September 2002. 
69
 Congratulatory Remarks by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Launch of Daiwa 
FTSE Shariah Japan 100 ETF at SGX Centre 
70
 Speech By Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister For Education And Second Minister For Finance, at the Opening 
Ceremony Of New Office For SG Private Banking In Singapore.
71
 Speech by Mr Kola Luu, Executive Director, Financial Markets Strategy Department, Monetary Authority of Singapore at 
the ACI Forum. 
72
 See ”Singapore’s endangered bankers,” by Florian Gimbel, Financial Times, 9 December 2006. 
73
 American Association of Port Authorities 
74
 Fisher Associates, The Future of London’s Maritime Services Cluster: A Call for Action, August 2004, p. 83. 
75
 Airport Council International 
76
 See Sjytrax airport star ranking, http://www.airlinequality.com/AirportRanking/ranking‐intro.htm  
77
 Statistics Singapore, http://www.singstat.gov.sg/stats/themes/economy/ess/aesa93.pdf and 
http://www.singstat.gov.sg/stats/themes/economy/ess/essa11.pdf  
78
 Straits Times, 11 January 2007. 
79
 Straits Times, 4 January 2006. 
80
 Speech by Mr Tharman Shamugaratnam, Minister for Education, at the NTUC Infocommunications and Media Cluster’s 
National Day Observance Ceremony, 23 August 2004. 
81
 Singapore Propels Ahead As The Region's Media Hub, IDA press release, 16 April 2008, 
http://www.ida.gov.sg/News%20and%20Events/20080416112423.aspx?getPagetype=20#note2  
82
 Speech by Mr George Yeo, Minister for Trade & Industry at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Biopolis, 2001. 
83
 The five institutes were the Bioinformatics Institute, the Bioprocessing Technology Institute, the Genome Institute of 
Singapore, the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Institute for Bioengineering and Nano Technology 
84
 Speech by Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, at the A*STAR Scholarship Awards Ceremony, 2006. 
85
 Financial Times, Singapore’s Elite in Biomedical project row, 14 February 2007 

30
Remaking Singapore DRAFT

                                                                                                                                                                                        
86
 Straits Times 21 October 2005. 

31