Tag Archives: singapore

Singapore, Democracy, and Economic Development

Jasper WongBy Jasper Wong, honorable mention in the CIPE 2013 Blog Competition. Read the rest of the winning entries here.

In this decade, perhaps the defining story of global significance is the rise of China in the global economy as it displaces Japan to become the world’s second biggest economy. It is no coincidence then that the prevailing view that democracy should go hand-in-hand with development was seriously challenged at the time as China’s economic success overshadowed U.S. culpability in the Global Financial Crisis (some say, Western Financial Crisis),  which saw the “largest and sharpest drop in economic activity of the modern era.”

Yet China’s development wasn’t the first to challenge the link between economic and political freedom, as it sits fittingly in the context of East Asia’s developmental trajectory, most exemplified by the phenomenon of the Four Asian Tigers during the 1970s and 1980s. Similarly, the accompanying story to their remarkable growth was the political environment in which growth took place under authoritarian leaders like Park Chung Hee and Lee Kuan Yew.

While South Korea and Taiwan have gained strides in being more democratic, Singapore appears to be stuck in limbo, classified as a “hybrid regime” and  ranked at 81st position, well below countries like Indonesia and Malaysia in the latest 2012 Democracy Index published by the EIU.

In global surveys, Singapore has consistently ranked top in governance as its zero-tolerance for corruption, coupled with meritocratic efficiency, are the usual suspects in explanation. Yet ironically, recent times have not bode well for the ruling party of the Singapore government, having just emerged from the latest election with its lowest support ever since independence (60.14 percent of total votes) and facing an increasingly critical electorate.

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Development without democracy?

Almas Kusherbayev is a Kazakh journalist working in Central Asia.

The debate on whether a market economy can exist without democracy is ongoing, and many think that at least two countries in the world are good examples of how the former can exist without the latter: China and Singapore. The question is whether such systems can be models for development without democracy in other countries. But a closer look at the nature of China’s and Singapore’s economic transformation highlights some important political and social factors as well that hardly make their models universal.

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Singapore Exchange Ltd Strengthening Corporate Governance Mechanism

Effective risk management through continued strengthening of corporate governance mechanism is badly needed in the current economic recession where corporations are experiencing liquidity crunch and shrinking profits. Recently, Singapore Exchange Ltd issued a consultation paper on proposed new measures and rule amendments to strengthen corporate governance practices. Salient proposed changes are:

  • Disclosure of Audit Committee’s assessments on adequacy of internal control and risk management policies and systems in the annual report.
  • Introduction of the role of a Governance Advisor to help newly listed issuers make certain that they have the framework and practices of good corporate governance as befits a listed company.
  • Improvements in the role of board of directors, key executive officers and auditors.
  • Restriction on Share Transfers during trading suspension.
  • Disclosure of pledging arrangements.