• The political system of Singapore functions in a parliamentary representative democratic republic where the President of Singapore serves as head of state and the PM serves as
the head of government and a multi-party system.
• The cabinet, which has the common direction and control of the Government and is jointly responsible for Parliament, exercises executive power.
• Like many other nations, Singapore has three separate branches of government: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, even though this does not necessarily mean a
separation of power exists.
• Legislative power is bestowed in both the government and Singapore’s parliament.
• The legislature is the parliament, which is made up of the president and its head, and a solo chamber whose members are elected by means of popular vote.
• The president’s role as the head of state has, traditionally, been principally formal, but the constitution was revised in 1991 to grant the president some veto powers in some
important decisions, including the use of the national reserves and the nomination of key judiciary, Civil Service, and Singapore Armed Forces posts.
• The president additionally exercises powers above civil service nominations and internal security concerns.
MAJOR LEADERS OF SINGAPORE
Major leaders of Singapore
• Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
• President: Tony Tan Keng Yam
• Prime Minister: Lee Hsien Loong
• Speaker of Parliament: Halimah Yacob
• Chief Justice: Sundaresh Menon
• Legislature: Parliament
Parliament of Singapore
• The People’s Action Party (PAP) have dominated the politics of Singapore since the 1959 general election, during which Lee Kuan Yew became the first PM of Singapore (an
autonomous entity of the British Empire at the time).
• The PAP has been the governing party since then, winning every general election since 1959.
• In 1963, Singapore left the Commonwealth to join the Federation of Malaysia, only to be dismissed in 1965 after Lee Kuan Yew’s disagreement with Kuala Lumpur.
• Foreign political experts and numerous opposition parties, like the Workers’ Party of Singapore and the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) have alleged that Singapore is a de facto
• The Economic Intelligence Unit categorizes Singapore as a “hybrid” nation with a mix of authoritarian and democratic components.
• Freedom House does not categorize Singapore as an “electoral democracy” and ranks the nation as “partly free”.
• Reporters Without Borders ranked Singapore 140th out of 167th in its 2005 Press Freedom Index.
• There are also assertions that the PAP uses censorship, gerrymandering, and the filing of civil suits against the opposition for denigration or to hinder their success.
• A number of members of the opposition, both former and current, such as Francis Seow, J. B. Jeyaretnam, and Chee Soon Juan, see the Singaporean courts as favoring the
government and the PAP because of a separation of powers.
• There nonetheless are three cases where opposition leader Chiam See Tong took legal action against PAP ministers for defamation and, with success, acquired damages before
• The government, despite its transparency in its activities, has a clean image free of corruption.
• Singapore consistently has been ranked the least corrupt country in Asia among the top ten cleanest in the world by Transparency International.
• Singapore has also ranked highly with respect to rule of law, control of corruption, and government efficiency by the World Bank’s governance indicators.
• It nevertheless is commonly believed that some characteristics of the political process, civil liberties, and political and human rights are missing.
• Even though the laws of Singapore are modeled on British and British Indian laws, such as numerous characteristics of English common law, the PAP has also constantly
overlooked liberal democratic values, which it characterizes as Western, and believes that there should be no “one size fits all” answer to a democracy.
• Laws that limit free speech are defended by assertions that they are meant to forbid speech that may raise ill will or lead to conflict within Singapore’s multiracial, multi-religious
• In September 2005, for instance, three bloggers were found guilty of treason for posting racist statements against Singapore’s minorities.
• Some crimes may be subject to heavy fines or caning, and there exist laws in Singapore that permit capital punishment for first degree murder and drug trafficking.
• Amnesty International has condemned Singapore for having “possibly the highest execution rate in the world“.
• The Government of Singapore responded to this criticism by claiming it is entitled, as a sovereign nation, to carry out the death penalty for severe misdemeanors.
PARTIES REPRESENTED IN PARLIAMENT
Parties represented in parliament
• People’s Action Party (80)
• Workers’ Party (7+2*)
• Singapore People’s Party (0+1*)
• *The MPs of the Workers’ Party and the Singapore People’s Party
include Non-Constituency MPs
Interior of Singapore’s parliament
PARTIES NOT REPRESENTED IN PARLIAMENT
• Democratic Progressive Party
• National Solidarity Party
• People’s Liberal Democratic Party
• Reform Party
• Singapore Democratic Alliance (PKMS, SJP)
• Singapore Democratic Party
• Singaporeans First Party
• Socialist Front
• United Singapore Democrats
• Barisan Sosialis
• Labour Front
TONY TAN KENG YAM
Tony Tan Keng Yam
• Born 7 February 1940.
• 7th and current President of Singapore since 1 September 2011.
• Previously served as a member of the Singapore Parliament from 1979-2006, holding numerous
governmental assortments, such as defense, finance, education, trade, and industry.
• Lee Kuan Yew mentioned him as his first choice to be his successor as PM of Singapore, but he
refused the offer.
• Left the Cabinet from 1991-1995 to supervise the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation before
he returned as Deputy PM, a post he held until 2005.
• Was nominated Executive Director and Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore
Investment Corporation (GIC) after he left his post as an MP in 2006.
• Also served as Chairman of Singapore’s National Research Foundation, and as Deputy Chairman
of the Research, Innovation, and Enterprise Council; stepped down from these posts in July 2011
to run in the 2011 presidential election, during which he pulled 35.20% of the votes and won a
0.34% margin over the second placed nominee.
LEE HSIEN LOONG
Lee Hsien Loong
• Born 10 February 1952.
• 3rd and current PM of Singapore since 2004.
• Older son of Lee Kuan Yew, the first PM of Singapore.
• As the Secretary General of the People’s Action Party (PAP), he became PM in August
2004, and succeeded Goh Chok Tong.
• Has been an MP for Teck Ghee since 1984 and a member of the Cabinet since 1987;
was also one of the most important leaders in Singapore’s political transition in the
1980s and the 1990s.
• Served as the Minister for Trade and Industry, Minister for Finance, and Deputy PM
prior to his 2004 election as PM.
• Also served as an officer in the Singapore Armed Forces before his election to
Parliament, rapidly advancing to the rank of Brigadier-General.
• Born 23 August 1954.
• Member of Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP); is currently the 9th Speaker of
Parliament since 14 January 2013.
• First woman in the history of Singapore to serve as Speaker of Parliament.
• Third consecutive Speaker, after Abdullah Tarmugi and Michael Palmer, who belongs to a
minority group (she is Malay).
• Previously served as Minister of State at the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports from May
• Has been an MP representing the Jurong Group Representation Constituency since 2001.
• Was educated at Singapore Chinese Girls’ School and Tanjong Katong Girls’ School prior to
attending the University of Singapore, where she finished her LLB (Hons) degree in 1978.
• Was called to the Singapore Bar in 1981.
• Finished an LLM degree at the National University of Singapore in 2001.
• Born 1962.
• 4th and current Chief Justice of Singapore since 2012, and a former Attorney General of Singapore (the former chief justice
Chan Sek Keong also once served as the Attorney General).
• Graduated with first class honours from the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law in 1986; later earned his Master
of Laws from Harvard Law School.
• Served a one-year term as Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Singapore from 2006-2007.
• Was the managing partner of Rajah & Tann prior to serving as Attorney General.
• Also served as the deputy chairman of the Singapore International Attribution Centre, a member of the Senate of the
Singapore Academy of Law, and Chairman of the Advisory Board for the law faculty of Singapore Management University.
• Was nominated Senior Counsel in 2008.
• Menon resigned from the office of Attorney General on 25 June 2012, assuming his new post of Judge of Appeal on 1 August
• Was sworn in as the 4th Chief of Justice of Singapore at the Istana on 7 November 2012.
• First non-Chinese (Indo-Singaporean) Chief Justice of the Republic of Singapore; also the first Singaporean-born to serve as
PEOPLE’S ACTION PARTY
People’s Action Party
• Founded 1954.
• Has been the governing political party of Singapore since 1959.
• One of Singapore’s two biggest parties; the other is the Workers’ Party.
• Has governed Singapore’s parliamentary democracy since the 1963 general
elections, and has been important to the city-state’s fast political, social, and
• Has nevertheless been condemned for passing laws that censor freedom of speech
and civil liberties.
• Won 81 of 87 constituency-elected (99 total) seats in the Parliament of Singapore
during the 2011 Singapore general election, but only won 60.14% of the total votes
cast, the lowest share gathered since Singapore’s 1965 independence from