The Republic of Singapore (SIngapore) is a small, urbanized island country located off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Singapore has a land area of 715.8 square kilometers accommodating a population of 5.3 million. A multiracial and multi-religious society with a secular government, the ethnic majority are Chinese (approximately 75%), with Malays and Indians comprising the other two major ethnic groups. Some 44% of the population identify with either Buddhism or Taoism. Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism make up the remaining major religions in Singapore.
The national language is Malay, which is used for the national emblems and anthem, and the government recognizes four official languages: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. The predominant languages spoken are English and Mandarin.
Singapore is a republic with an elected President as its head of state. Singapore’s legislature comprises of a single house of parliament modeled after the British Westminster system. Members of Parliament consist of elected and appointed representatives. Elections are held every five years and anyone over the age of 21 is eligible to vote. The appointed Members of Parliament include opposition party members and members appointed by the President.
The Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister and comprising of Ministers appointed from amongst the Members of Parliament oversees the day-to-day running of government. Since Singapore secured self-governance from the British in 1959, the dominant People’s Action Party has repeatedly been returned to power.
Singapore has the highest per capita gross domestic product of the ASEAN Member States, in front of Brunei Darussalam that takes second place.
In 1965, Singapore became the 117th member state of the United Nations (UN) after leaving the Federation of Malaya to become an independent state. Singapore is also a member of international organizations like the Commonwealth, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Health Organization (WHO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Finance Cooperation (IFC), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Singapore is not a member of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).