Singapore. An earlier parliamentary election was held on
May 6. The PAP party, which has ruled the country since
independence, won as expected by a wide margin, despite the
opposition running for more constituencies than they did
before. The election system enabled PAP to look forward to
taking home 82 of the 84 seats. However, the distribution of
seats did not reflect the actual election results; In fact,
the opposition took home just over a third of the votes and
PAP's voting share fell by almost nine percent.
CountryAAH, several opposition politicians were sentenced during the
year to heavy fines for defamation or slander of Singapore's
highest ranking politicians, notably Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the so-called mentor and former Prime
Minister Lee Kuan Yew. In any case, the fine resulted in
personal bankruptcy for the convicted. In addition, several
opposition politicians were fined for holding public speech
without permission. Sentencing political opponents to heavy
fines for slander or defamation is a common way in Singapore
for PAP politicians to force opposition to resign, as they
can no longer afford to run political campaigns.
Regime-critical media is also sued in a similar way.
Attempts to conduct demonstrations for increased freedom
of expression were made in connection with Singapore hosting
the World Bank and International Monetary Fund's annual
meeting in September.
Singapore's complicated relationship with neighboring
Malaysia improved slightly during the year. This since
Malaysia in April changed its decision to continue building
a new bridge across the Johor St between the two countries,
despite the fact that Singapore opposed the construction in
its present form due to environmental concerns and
complications of shipping.
The country's already good economy showed further upturn.
In the 2006 budget, the government announced that the
equivalent of just over SEK 11 million would be distributed
to particularly vulnerable groups, eg. poor and retired.