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.
According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Singapore include Independence Day (August 9) and New Year (January 1). 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.