Political and social environment
Singapore is known for its stable political climate. The government believes in being pro-active and thinking for the future. PAP’s governance and intellectual policy decisions has contributed to Singapore’s political stability, social harmony and economic prosperity. Good infrastructure in all aspects was built and favourable conditions for investment were cultivated. Law and order were also strictly adhered to in the nation.
Singapore was ranked first in the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy’s 2014 Report on Corruption in Asia, a position it has held since 1995,”
Singapore boasts of a competitive, corruption-free, open business environment. The Port of Singapore is one of the busiest in the world as the country focuses on electronics and chemical exports to richer industrialised nations. Over the years, Singapore has become a research & development hub, bio-medical hub, banking and finance centre of Asia. Singapore’s open trade policies, social stability, world-class infrastructure and international communication links, have attracted foreign investors.
According to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015‘, Singapore is the second most competitive economy in the world. The country is well-known for its low tax system. Personal income tax rates start from 0% and are capped at 20% for residents. The corporate income tax rate in Singapore is approximately 8.5% for profits up to S$300,000 and a flat 17% above S$300,000. The GST or VAT rate is only 7%. There is no dividend tax, no estate duty, and no capital gains tax, which is rare in most countries.
Singapore‘s labour force is highly educated, qualified and skilled. Singapore retained its top position for the ease of doing business in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ survey
Singapore population consists of Malays, Chinese, Indians and expats from all over the world. People are sociable and polite to each other. Communal and racial harmony is observed throughout the nation. There is respect for seniority, authority and social norms. Racism is strictly frowned upon.
Singapore has some of the strictest laws in the world. With heavy fines and caning as some of the punishments, Singapore is one of the most stable and secure place in the world. The residents of Singapore feel safe as Singapore has one of the lowest crime rate in the world. No cases of mass shooting and terrorist bomb attacks have been reported in Singapore. According to HSBC’s ‘2014 Expat Experience Report’, Singapore is ranked 2nd in the world for expat life experience. Gallup’s ‘2014 Potential Net Migration Index’ ranked Singapore in the third position.
Schools and education
Singapore’s education system is renowned in the world. Students in Singapore are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in a globally competitive environment. National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University internationally renowned local Universities. Singapore houses several internationally renowned world-class institutions like INSEAD. Collaboration between renowned universities such as Duke medical school and MIT are also testimonies to the nation world class education. Many International or Foreign System schools have also been established in Singapore to meet the demands of the foreigners residing in Singapore. These schools are registered with the Ministry of Education and follow a curriculum identical to those in their home country. The education syllabus is updated to stay relevant to the changing times and a highly competitive global environment.
In the recent ranking by London-based education consultancy Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) released for year 2015, NUS was ranked 12th and NTU was placed 13th.
Public services and transportation
Residents in Singapore are envied by people all over the world for their access to good water, clean energy, clean air, lack of traffic congestion. All these feats are achieved by the government initiatives to water conservation, reliable energy supply and good urban planning. Since the founding of the nation, the government has built Singapore to become a ‘Garden City’ well known to the world. Residents have access to well-planned parks and nature reserves.
Singapore has an efficient, hassle-free and affordable public transportation system. The government spends an average of $4billions a year on transport infrastructure and subsidies. Public transport options includes taxis, buses, the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) rail system and car-pooling portal such as Uber. These modes of transport are well-maintained and ensure that transition within the cities are smooth and comfortable. They are safe, clean and efficient. Bus and rail fares are relatively cheap when compared to other countries and cost anything between S$0.70 to S$2.50 per trip. To meet the needs of the population and extend its reach throughout residential areas across the island, the train network will grow to approximately 280km by around 2020, up from 178km today. Many residents have also taken up cycling as a mode of transport in Singapore. The aim of the government is to build the cycling network to more than 700km. Building on the existing and planned cycling paths and park connectors, The National Cycling Plan aims to develop cycling routes for recreational and short commuting purposes, which will be integrated into a comprehensive network throughout Singapore.
Dining and shopping are the two most popular activities favoured by residents in Singapore. Singapore have one of the longest shopping road in the world. Singapore is also touted by most as a food paradise. Residents in Singapore are able to savour authentic cuisine from over the world without travelling out of the country.
Singapore does not have volcanoes, earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes and other natural disasters. As Singapore is located near the equator, there is no 4 seasons. Singapore has a typically tropical climate, with abundant rainfall, high and uniform temperatures, and high humidity all year round.
Access to Consumer goods
Many consumer durables have become basic necessities in Singapore. Hyper-marts like Giants and Cold Storage have everything under one roof. There are convenient stores like 7-Eleven and mini-marts located in the vicinity of the housing estates. As Singapore is an importing economy, practically everything can be found in the country. Prices are competitive and reasonable.
In comparisons to Hong Kong or Japan, housing is still affordable in Singapore. Housing falls under two main categories – public HDB flats (built by the Housing Development Board) and private condos/bungalows. The choice of housing largely depends on one budget, preferences to location, facilities/amenities, proximity to transportation options such as train stations.