Post-independence Singapore was eager to grow and spread its wings.
Massive industrialisation took place across the island, with the extension of the Jurong industrial estate and the creation of smaller estates in Kallang Park, Tanjong Rhu, Redhill, Tiong Bahru and Tanglin Halt.
The Employment Act and the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act were passed in 1968 to promote industrial peace and discipline in the workforce.
The Economic Development Board was reorganised in 1968 and the Jurong Town Corporation and the Development Bank of Singapore were set up in the same year.
In 1970, the Monetary Authority of Singapore was established to formulate and implement Singapore's monetary policies.
In 1979, after the shock of two oil crises, the government started a programme of economic restructuring. This was achieved by modifying education policies, expanding technology and computer education, offering financial incentives to industrial enterprises, and launching a productivity campaign.
Public housing was given top priority. New towns sprang up and Housing and Development Board apartments were sold at low cost. To encourage home ownership, Singaporeans were allowed to use their Central Provident Fund (social security) savings to pay for these apartments.
The steps to progress have seen much success. In the World Bank’s annual World Development Report 2009, Singapore was held up as a model of development and “effective urbanisation”, turning its rural slums into “one of the cleanest and most welcoming cities in the world” in just 40 years.
Building up Defence Capabilities
With the British Government's sudden decision in 1967 to withdraw its armed forces from Singapore by the end of 1971, Singapore set out to build up its own defence forces - the Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute was established in 1966 and compulsory national service was introduced in 1967.
In August 1967, Singapore joined Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand to form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, which today comprises 10 countries, to include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam). Two years later, the Singapore Air Defence Command and the Singapore Maritime Command were formed.
Singapore entered the 1970s with high economic growth and political stability. The one-party Parliament that emerged from the 1968 general election became the pattern of government, with the PAP winning all seats in 1972, 1976 and 1980. In the 1984 and 1988 general elections, the PAP won all but two seats and one seat respectively.
50 Years of Self-Governance
2009 marks the 50th year of Singapore's self-governance. From the nation's first fully democratic elections, Singapore has continued to advance and emerge as a sustainable and efficient nation, and is now one of the world's busiest ports and a major tourist destination with a high standard of living.
Read more about Singapore's journey to self-governance.
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