Goh Chok Tong
Prime Minister


(pronounced "GO CHUCK TUNG")

"We must seek common ground and forge consensus on major issues. Then we will continue to have political stability, the bedrock of our social harmony and economic prosperity."

The Republic of Singapore is a city-state located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Singapore's total area of 637.5 sq km (246 sq mi) is comprised of a single large island and 50 other islets. The population was estimated at 4.4 million in July 2002, growing at a rate of 3.5% per year. Due to its limited area, Singapore is among the most densely populated countries in the world. The population is ethnically diverse, consisting of 77% Chinese, 14% Malays, 8% Indians and Pakistanis, and a small percentage of other groups. Major religions include Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Islam. Christianity is also a major religion in Singapore due to the controversial activity of evangelical groups. Singapore generally allows religious freedom, but religious groups are subject to government scrutiny, and as a result, some religious sects are restricted or banned.

English, Malay, Tamil, and Mandarin Chinese are all considered to be official languages. English, however, is being promoted by the government as a common language. English is the language of administration and also is widely used in the professions, businesses, and schools. The government has mandated that English be the primary language used at all levels of the school systems.

Singapore originally served as an intermediary center of trade, acting as a site for transshipment of rubber, timber, petroleum, and other regional products. Since the 1960s, its economy has grown at an average rate of 8.5% per year. Due to this rapid industrial development, Singapore is known as one of the four "little dragons" or "little tigers" of Asia, along with South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Major exports include office and data machines, machinery, petroleum products, telecommunications equipment, chemicals, textiles, and garments. Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at us$106.3 billion in 2001, with an average per capita income of US $24,700. The currency is the Singapore dollar.


Prime Minister's Office
Istana Annexe
Orchard Rd.
Singapore 238823

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