Singapore is an island nation located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It lies 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the Equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. At 704.0 km² (272 sq mi), it is one of the few remaining city-states in the world and the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Despite its small size, Singapore has a population of slightly over 5 million people, of which 2.91 million were born locally.
The British East India Company established a trading post on the island in 1819. The main settlement up to that point was a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people also lived around the coast, rivers and smaller islands. The British used Singapore as a strategic trading post along the spice route. It became one of the most important commercial and military centres of the British Empire. Winston Churchill called it "Britain's greatest defeat" when it was occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Singapore reverted to British rule in 1945. In 1963, it merged with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. Less than two years later it split from the federation and became an independent republic on August 9, 1965. Singapore joined the United Nations on September 21 that same year.
Since independence, Singapore's standard of living has increased. A state-led industrialization drive, aided by foreign direct investment has created a modern economy based on electronics manufacturing, petrochemicals, tourism and financial services alongside the traditional entrepôt trade. Singapore is the 17th wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. The small nation has a foreign reserve of S$222 billion (US$147 billion).
The Pedra Branca dispute
was a territorial dispute
between Singapore and Malaysia over several islets at the eastern entrance to the Singapore Strait
, namely Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge. The dispute began in 1979 when Malaysia published a map claiming Pedra Branca. In 1989, Singapore proposed submitting the dispute to the International Court of Justice
and Malaysia agreed to this in 1994.
The hearing before the ICJ was held over three weeks in November 2007. Eventually, on 23 May 2008, the Court ruled that Pedra Branca is under Singapore's sovereignty, while Middle Rocks belongs to Malaysia. It also ruled that South Ledge belongs to the state in the territorial waters of which it is located, as it is a maritime feature visible only at low tide. Malaysia and Singapore have established what they have named the Joint Technical Committee to delimit the maritime boundary in the area around Pedra Branca and Middle Rocks, and to determine the ownership of South Ledge.
Reginald Hugh Hickling (2 August 1920 – 11 February 2007), who generally went by the name Hugh Hickling, was a British lawyer, colonial civil servant, law academic and author. Educated at the University of Nottingham, Hickling joined the Colonial Legal Service and served in a variety of appointments. One of these was the Commissioner of Law Revision of Malaysia, in which capacity he drafted the Internal Security Act 1960 providing for the detention of persons without trial for, among other things, acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia. Hickling later said that he did not expect the law to be used against political opponents or those dedicated to non-violent activities; however, he stopped short of calling for its repeal. After retiring as a civil servant, Hickling became a law academic, taking up teaching positions in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom, and writing books and law journal articles. Throughout his career he also authored novels and short stories.
The son of Frederick Hickling, a police inspector, and his wife Elsie,of Malvern, Worcestershire, England, Hickling was born on 2 August 1920 in Derby, Derbyshire, in the East Midlands, and was educated at Buxton College. He applied to study at the University of Oxford, but was unsuccessful at his interview when he shocked his examiner by rating the poetry of A. E. Housman over that of William Wordsworth.
- 10 March 1964: The MacDonald House bombing is carried out by Indonesian saboteurs, killing three people.
- 14 March 1967: The National Service bill is passed though the parliament, making it compulsory for all able-bodied Singaporean males above 18 to serve National Service.
- 15 March 1986: The Hotel New World collapses, killing 33 people.
- 20 March 1948: Singapore's first election takes place.
- 26 March 1991: Singapore Airlines Flight 117 is hijacked by four Pakistanis.
- ... that the Presidential Council for Minority Rights, a Singaporean body that ensures laws do not discriminate against racial or religious minorities, has not issued an adverse report since its creation?