Learning from Singapore: Dissecting the Success of Southeast Asia's Only Developed Country

Learning from Singapore: Dissecting the Success of Southeast Asia's Only Developed Country

Did you know that before reaching this point, Singapore was a country with many problems?

From its inception, Singapore faced many problems to solve, including mass unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, rampant gambling, and other issues that plagued the new nation. Singapore's first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, had to address a number of complex and challenging issues.

Despite Singapore's limited natural resources, small population, and narrow territory, the country had a vision of becoming a globally competitive world trade center and had a high availability of intellectual capital. Nonetheless, Singapore today has successfully achieved its goal and is an important world trade center, benefiting from its strategic position in the region.

Lee Kuan Yew started with an initial strategy of developing the industrial sector and establishing a new body of institutions when Singapore was founded. For the industrial sector, Singapore attracted labor and investment by promoting through the Singapore Tourism Promotion Board (STPB). Singapore also hired foreign nationals to fill strategic positions in parliament and other positions. With this strategy, Singapore managed to increase its GDP by 5.3% within 5 years. Singapore also implemented a mutually beneficial Employment Act and sent experts abroad to study as part of the strategy to advance its economy.

Singapore began its struggle to achieve its current success by implementing strict law enforcement and implementing clear, measurable, and highly disciplined national policies. In addition, strong industrial, infrastructure and defense development also contributed to its success. In developing its service sector, Singapore has been able to capitalize on its competitive advantages to generate higher per capita income. 

In addition to restructuring the economy in various sectors such as manufacturing, services and exports, Singapore also focuses on improving entrepreneurial capabilities and developing world-class human resources. All these measures are part of Singapore's efforts to build a sustainable economy and business and attract foreign investors around the world.

Lee Kuan Yew blended authoritarian and democratic leadership styles that were successfully used to maintain Singapore's political and economic stability. Despite Singapore's limited resources, its political elite sought to find solutions to change the country's fortunes. With the help of funds from the UK, Singapore decided to take risks by attracting a lot of foreign investment and borrowing from abroad to build infrastructure in Singapore. The combination of effective leadership and the right policies managed to bring Singapore into a developed country in a relatively short time.

Finally, there are geopolitical factors that accelerate change in Singapore. As a country with ethnic minorities around the Malay neighborhood, Singapore must have a strong force so as not to be taken advantage of by other countries. Under this pressure, Singapore was forced to move quickly and was eventually able to become a major player in the ASEAN economy.

When viewed from the perspective of its history to date, Singapore as a multi-racial country had a bad experience in dealing with racial issues in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Singapore sought to build harmony and cohesion between races, which was then realized through the improvement of the economic sector. Singapore was able to change the situation of heterogeneity in the country for the better. 

Singapore's economic progress is driven by a clean and competent government, which is able to make clear economic and business policies. Singapore also always prioritizes transparency, efficiency, and responsiveness to changing consumer needs in the market. In addition, Singapore has always strived to be an attractive transportation, financial and health center. This success has also allowed Singapore to avoid the Asian crisis, as the country is always innovating and looking for loopholes to continue to grow.

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