Sang Nila Utama
Sang Nila Utama was a Srivijayan prince from Palembang and is the founder of the Kingdom of Singapura in 1299. His official title adopted upon his coronation was Sri Tri Buana, which can be translated as "Lord of Three Worlds"; this title is attested to elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Sang Nila Utama died in 1347 and his son, Sri Wikrama Wira succeeded him; the account of his life and those of his successors is given in the Malay Annals. So, as De Jong argued in his article The Character of Malay Annals, the stories of the Malay Annals could have been realistically mixed with the historical figures and events. Sang Nila Utama was a Prince of Palembang, the capital of the Srivijaya Empire, born to King Sang Sapurba, supposed descendant of Alexander the Great through his interpretation in Islamic legend as Iskandar Zulkairnan and the pseudo-mythical ancestor to many monarchs and chiefs of the Malay world, he was wed to Wan Sri Bini, daughter of the widowed Queen Parameswari Iskandar Shah of Bintan Island and received high honours comprising a golden crown studded with precious stones and a royal signet ring indicating his authority.
According to the Malay Annals, the emporium of Singapore was founded in 1299 by Sang Nila Utama. While hunting on Bintan, he spotted a stag and started chasing it up a small hill but, when he reached the top, the stag vanished, he came to a large rock and decided to climb it. When he stood on top of the rock, he looked across the sea and saw another island with a white sandy beach which had the appearance of a white sheet of cloth. Asking his chief minister what island it was, he was told that it was the island of Temasek now known as Singapore. While his ship was out at sea, a great storm erupted and the ship was tossed about in the huge waves and began to take in water. To prevent it from sinking, his men threw all the heavy things on board into the sea to lighten the ship, but still water kept entering the ship. On the advice of the ship's captain, he threw his crown overboard as a gift to the sea. At once, the storm died down and he reached Temasek safely, he landed safely on the beach, went to hunt wild animals near the river mouth on a patch of open ground now referred to as the Padang.
He saw a strange animal with a red body, black head and a white breast, which swiftly disappeared into the jungle. Impressed by this beast's beauty, he asked his chief minister Demang Lebar Duan what animal it was and was informed that it was a lion. Pleased with this as he believed it to be a good omen, he decided to build his new city in Temasek, he and his men stayed on the island and founded a city, renaming the island to Singapura, which in Sanskrit means "Lion City". Sang Nila Utama fathered two sons with Wan Sri Bini, born Raja Kechil-Muda. After ruling Singapura for 48 years, Sang Nila Utama passed away in 1347 and Raja Kechil-Besar ascended to the throne as Sri Wikrama Wira, becoming the second Raja of Singapura. Sang Nila Utama was buried on Bukit Larangan, now known as Fort Canning Hill; the events in the tale of Sang Nila Utama are symbolic and are unlikely to be sober retellings of historical events. The casting of the crown into the sea, an action imbued with symbolic meaning as "sovereignty" in the Malay world relied on ceremony and attire, could represent the shift of power from Palembang and Srivijaya to Singapura as the new centre of power for the Malay kings.
It has been pointed out that lions have never lived in Singapore, the beast seen by Sang Nila Utama was therefore suggested to be a tiger, most to be the Malayan tiger. Another candidate for the beast mentioned in the Malay Annals is mythical beast called janggi told in Minangkabau legends as a guardian of gold mines. Dark red hair called rambut janggi, said to be of this mythical beast but actually from orangutans, adorn lances that were kept by the Minangkabaus as heirlooms. Regardless of the exact species of animal, the symbolism of the Asiatic lion as an emblem of power was established through the spread of Buddhist culture in Southeast Asia. There are however a number of other theories about the origin of the name Singapura, it has been suggested that the "lion" refers to the lion throne set up by Parameswara in Palembang as a challenge to the Majapahit Empire, while others believed that the "lion" refers to a Majapahit Buddhist sect. With regards to the historicity of settlement on Singapore itself, a 3rd-century Chinese account describes it as the "island at the end of a peninsula" or Pulau Ujong, with its settlement known as Temasek.
Although the archaeology of Singapore has lain rest to the idea that its 14th-century history is wholly fictional, it has been suggested that the figure of Sang Nila Utama himself, with his illustrious genealogy and fantastic deeds
Southeast Asian haze
Southeast Asian haze is a fire-related large-scale air pollution problem that occurs regularly. These haze events have caused adverse health and economic impact on Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, to a lesser degree, the Philippines and Thailand; the problem flares up every dry season, in varying degrees. Transboundary haze in Southeast Asia has been recorded since 1972; the haze is caused by illegal agricultural fires due to industrial-scale slash-and-burn practices in Indonesia from the provinces of South Sumatra and Riau in Indonesia's Sumatra island, Kalimantan on Indonesian Borneo. Burned land can be sold at a higher price illegally, used for activities including oil palm and pulpwood production. Burning is cheaper and faster compared to cutting and clearing using excavators or other machines. Most haze events have resulted from smoke from fires that occurred on peatlands in Sumatra and the Kalimantan region of Borneo island. Undisturbed humid tropical forests are considered to be resistant to fire, experiencing rare fires only during extraordinary dry periods.
A study published in 2005 concluded that there is no single dominant cause of fire in a particular site and there are wide differences in the causes of fires in different sites. The study identified the following direct and indirect causes of fire: Direct causes of fire Fire as a tool in land clearing Fire as a weapon in land tenure or land use disputes Accidental or escaped fires Fire connected with resource extraction Indirect causes of fire Land tenure and land use allocation conflicts and competition Forest degrading practices Economic incentives/disincentives Population growth and migration Inadequate fire fighting and management capacity Fire is the cheapest and fastest method to clear land in preparation for planting. Fire is used to clear the plant material left over from old crops. Mechanically raking the plant material into long piles and letting them rot over time, is expensive and slow, could harbour pests. Clearing land with machines and chemicals can cost up to US$200 per hectare while using fire costs US$5 per hectare.
After a peat swamp forest has been cleared and drained, the peat soil is still unsuitable for agriculture, because peat soil is nutrient-poor and acidic. To make the soil suitable for agriculture, the pH has to be neutralised and nutrients added. Pests and plant diseases have to be removed. One method is to use chemicals such as limestone to neutralise the acidity, as well as fertilisers and pesticides; this method costs about Rupiah 30 - 40 million per hectare. Alternatively, fire is used to clear the plant material left over from logging; the fire kills the resulting ash serves to fertilise the soil and neutralise the acidity. This method costs Rupiah 2 million per hectare. In Indonesia, the Basic Forestry Law grants the Ministry of Forestry authority over all land classified as forests. 49% of the nation is covered by actual forest, although the government classifies 69% of the land area as forest. The land rights of traditional communities that live on land classified as forest cannot be registered and are unrecognised by the state.
Therefore, these communities do not have the ability to enforce rules at the village level and exclude outsiders such as oil palm plantations, logging companies, residents of other villages, small-scale loggers or transmigrants. Competing claims in turn leads to land conflicts; as the number of new, external actors increases, so does the likelihood that fire will be used as a weapon. A peatland is an area where organic material such as leaves and twigs had accumulated under waterlogged conditions in the last 10,000 years; this layer of organic material, known as peat, can be up to 20m deep. Indonesia has 265,500 km2 of peatland. Malaysia has significant peatland, at 26,685 km2, covering 8.1% of its land area. Although a wetland ecosystem, much of the peatland in Southeast Asia have been drained for human activities such as agriculture and urban development. A report published in 2011 stated that more than 30% of peat swamp forests had been converted to agricultural land and a further 30% had been logged or degraded in the past 20 to 30 years.
Excessive drainage in peat results in the top layer of peat drying out. Due to its high carbon content, dry peat is susceptible to burning during the dry season. Studies have shown. In 2009, around 40% of all fires in Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Java were detected in peatlands though they cover only 10% of the land area studied; the concentration of sulphur in rain falling over Singapore in 1997 correlated with the PM2.5 concentration, which can be attributed to the strong sulphur emission from peat fires. Haze related damages can be attributed to two sources: the haze causing fire and the haze itself; each of the two factors can create significant disruption to people's daily lives and affect people's health. As a whole the recurring haze incidents affected regional economy and generated contention between governments of nations affected. Haze fires can cause many kinds of damage as well as transboundary; these include loss of direct and indirect forest benefits, agricultural products and biodiversity.
The fires incur significant firefighting costs and carbon release to the atmosphere. Some of the more direct damage caused by haze include damage to people's short term health and regional tourism during haze periods; the haze leads to industrial production losses and airport losses, damage to fisheries, and
1997 Asian financial crisis
The Asian financial crisis was a period of financial crisis that gripped much of East and Southeast Asia beginning in July 1997 and raised fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion. The crisis started in Thailand with the financial collapse of the Thai baht after the Thai government was forced to float the baht due to lack of foreign currency to support its currency peg to the U. S. dollar. At the time, Thailand had acquired a burden of foreign debt that made the country bankrupt before the collapse of its currency; as the crisis spread, most of Southeast Asia and Japan saw slumping currencies, devalued stock markets and other asset prices, a precipitous rise in private debt. Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand were the countries most affected by the crisis. Hong Kong, Laos and the Philippines were hurt by the slump. Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam were less affected, although all suffered from a loss of demand and confidence throughout the region. Japan was affected, though less significantly.
Foreign debt-to-GDP ratios rose from 100% to 167% in the four large Association of Southeast Asian Nations economies in 1993–96 shot up beyond 180% during the worst of the crisis. In South Korea, the ratios rose from 13% to 21% and as high as 40%, while the other northern newly industrialized countries fared much better. Only in Thailand and South Korea did. Although most of the governments of Asia had sound fiscal policies, the International Monetary Fund stepped in to initiate a $40 billion program to stabilize the currencies of South Korea and Indonesia, economies hard hit by the crisis; the efforts to stem a global economic crisis did little to stabilize the domestic situation in Indonesia, however. After 30 years in power, Indonesian President Suharto was forced to step down on 21 May 1998 in the wake of widespread rioting that followed sharp price increases caused by a drastic devaluation of the rupiah; the effects of the crisis lingered through 1998. In 1998, growth in the Philippines dropped to zero.
Only Singapore and Taiwan proved insulated from the shock, but both suffered serious hits in passing, the former due to its size and geographical location between Malaysia and Indonesia. By 1999, analysts saw signs that the economies of Asia were beginning to recover. After the crisis, economies in the region worked toward financial stability and better financial supervision; until 1999, Asia attracted half of the total capital inflow into developing countries. The economies of Southeast Asia in particular maintained high interest rates attractive to foreign investors looking for a high rate of return; as a result, the region's economies received a large inflow of money and experienced a dramatic run-up in asset prices. At the same time, the regional economies of Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea experienced high growth rates, of 8–12% GDP, in the late 1980s and early 1990s; this achievement was acclaimed by financial institutions including IMF and World Bank, was known as part of the "Asian economic miracle".
The cause of the debacle are many and disputed. Thailand's economy developed into an economic bubble fueled by hot money. More and more was required as the size of the bubble grew; the same type of situation happened in Malaysia and Indonesia, which had the added complication of what was called "crony capitalism". The short-term capital flow was expensive and highly conditioned for quick profit. Development money went in a uncontrolled manner to certain people only - not the best suited or most efficient, but those closest to the centers of power. In the mid-1990s, Thailand and South Korea had large private current account deficits, the maintenance of fixed exchange rates encouraged external borrowing and led to excessive exposure to foreign exchange risk in both the financial and corporate sectors. In the mid-1990s, a series of external shocks began to change the economic environment; the devaluation of the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen due to the Plaza Accord of 1985, the raising of U. S. interest rates which led to a strong U.
S. dollar, the sharp decline in semiconductor prices, all adversely affected their growth. As the U. S. economy recovered from a recession in the early 1990s, the U. S. Federal Reserve Bank under Alan Greenspan began to raise U. S. interest rates to head off inflation. This made the United States a more attractive investment destination relative to Southeast Asia, attracting hot money flows through high short-term interest rates, raised the value of the U. S. dollar. For the Southeast Asian nations which had currencies pegged to the U. S. dollar, the higher U. S. dollar caused their own exports to become more expensive and less competitive in the global markets. At the same time, Southeast Asia's export growth slowed in the spring of 1996, deteriorating their current account position; some economists have advanced the growing exports of China as a factor contributing to ASEAN nations' export growth slowdown, though these economists maintain the main cause of their crises was excessive real estate speculation.
China had begun to compete with other Asian exporters in the 1990s after the implementation of a number of export-oriented reforms. Other economists dispute China's impact, noting that both ASEAN and China experienced simultaneous rapid export growth in the early 1990s. Many economists believe that the Asian crisis was created not by market psychology or technology, but by policies that distorted incentives within the lender–borrower relationship. The
Malays (ethnic group)
Malays are an Austronesian ethnic group and nation native to the Malay Peninsula, eastern Sumatra of Indonesia and coastal Borneo, as well as the smaller islands which lie between these locations — areas that are collectively known as the Malay world. These locations are today part of the nations of Malaysia, Singapore and Southern Thailand. There is considerable genetic, linguistic and social diversity among the many Malay subgroups due to hundreds of years of immigration and assimilation of various regional ethnicity and tribes within Maritime Southeast Asia; the Malay population is descended from the earlier Malayic-speaking Austronesians and Austroasiatic tribes who founded several ancient maritime trading states and kingdoms, notably Brunei, Langkasuka, Gangga Negara, Chi Tu, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pahang and Srivijaya. The advent of the Malacca Sultanate in the 15th century triggered a major revolution in Malay history, the significance of which lies in its far-reaching political and cultural legacy.
Common definitive markers of a Malayness – the religion of Islam, the Malay language and traditions – are thought to have been promulgated during this era, resulting in the ethnogenesis of the Malay as a major ethnoreligious group in the region. In literature, culinary traditions, traditional dress, performing arts, martial arts, royal court traditions, Malacca set a standard that Malay sultanates emulated; the golden age of the Malay sultanates in the Malay Peninsula and Borneo saw many of their inhabitants from various tribal communities like the Batak, Orang Asli and the Orang Laut become subject to Islamisation and Malayisation. Today, some Malays have recent forebears from other parts of Maritime Southeast Asia, termed as anak dagang and who predominantly consist of Banjar, Minangkabau people and Acehnese peoples, while some are descended from more recent immigrants from other countries. Throughout their history, the Malays have been known as a coastal-trading community with fluid cultural characteristics.
They absorbed and transmitted numerous cultural features of other local ethnic groups, such as those of Minang, to some degree Javanese culture. Ethnic Malays are the major source of the ethnocultural development of the related Betawi, Cape Malay, Cocos Malays and Sri Lankan Malay cultures, as well as the development of Malay trade and creole languages like Ambonese Malay, Baba Malay, the Betawi language and Manado Malay; the epic literature, the Malay Annals, associates the etymological origin of "Melayu" to Sungai Melayu in Sumatra, Indonesia. The term is thought to be derived from the Malay word melaju, a combination of the verbal prefix'me' and the root word'laju', meaning "to accelerate", used to describe the accelerating strong current of the river; the word "Melayu" as an ethnonym, to allude to a different ethnological cluster, is assumed to have been made fashionable throughout the integration of the Malacca Sultanate as a regional power in the 15th century. It was applied to report the social partialities of the Malaccans as opposed to foreigners as of the similar area the Javanese and Thais This is evidenced from the early 16th century Malay word-list by Antonio Pigafetta who joined the Magellan's circumnavigation, that made a reference to how the phrase chiara Malaiu was used in the maritime Southeast Asia, to refer to the al parlare de Malaea.
The English term "Malay" was adopted via the Dutch word Malayo, itself derived from Portuguese: Malaio, which originates from the original Malay word, Melayu. Prior to the 15th century, the term "Melayu" and its similar-sounding variants appear to apply as an old toponym to the Strait of Malacca region in general. Malaya Dwipa, "Malaya Dvipa", is described in chapter 48, Vayu Purana as one of the provinces in the eastern sea, full of gold and silver; some scholars equate the term with Sumatra, but several Indian scholars believe the term should refer to the mountainous Malay peninsula, while Sumatra is more associated with Suvarnadvipa. Maleu-kolon – a location in the Golden Chersonese, from Ptolemy's work, Geographia. Mo-lo-yu – mentioned by Yijing, a Tang dynasty Chinese Buddhist monk who visited the Southeast Asia in 688–695. According to Yijing, the Mo-Lo-Yu kingdom was located at a distance of 15 days sailing from Bogha, the capital of Sribhoga, it took a 15-day sail as well to reach Ka-Cha from Mo-lo-yu.
A popular theory relates Mo-Lo-Yu with the Jambi in Sumatra, however the geographical location of Jambi contradicts with Yi Jing's description of a "half way sail between Ka-Cha and Bogha". In the Yuan Dynasty and Ming Dynasty, the word Ma-La-Yu was mentioned in Chinese historical texts – with changes in spelling due to the time span between the dynasties – to refer to a nation near the southern sea. Among the terms used was "Bok-la-yu", "Mok-la-yu", Ma-li-yu-er, Oo-lai-yu – traced from the written source of monk Xuanzang), Wu-lai-yu. Malayur – inscribed on the south wall of the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Tamil Nadu, it was described as a kingdom that had "a strong mountain for its rampart" in Malay peninsula, that fell to the Chola invaders during Rajendra Chola I's campaign in the 11th century. Bhūmi Mālayu –, a transcription from Padang Roco I
History of the Republic of Singapore
The history of the Republic of Singapore began when Singapore became an independent republic following an ejection from Malaysia on 9 August 1965. After the separation, the fledgling nation had to become self-sufficient, faced problems including mass unemployment, housing shortages and lack of land and natural resources such as petroleum. During Lee Kuan Yew's term as prime minister from 1959 to 1990, his administration curbed unemployment, raised the standard of living and implemented a large-scale public housing programme; the country's economic infrastructure was developed, racial tension was eliminated and an independent national defence system was created. Singapore evolved from a developing nation to first world status towards the end of the 20th century. In 1990, Goh Chok Tong succeeded Lee as Prime Minister. During his tenure, the country tackled the economic impacts of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2003 SARS outbreak, as well as terrorist threats posed by the Jemaah Islamiah post–11 September and the Bali bombings.
In 2004 Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, became the third prime minister. Singapore became part of Malaysia on 16 September 1963 following a merger with Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak; the merger was thought to benefit the economy by creating a common, free market, to improve Singapore's internal security. However, it was an uneasy union. Disputes between the state government of Singapore and the federal government occurred on different issues the federal policies of affirmative action, which granted special privileges to Malays guaranteed under Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia. Singapore's chief minister, Lee Kuan Yew, other political leaders began advocating for equal treatment of all races in Malaysia, with a rallying cry of "Malaysian Malaysia!"Racial tensions between Chinese and Malays increased resulting in numerous racial riots. The most notorious riots were the 1964 race riots that first took place on the Prophet Muhammad's birthday on 21 July with twenty-three people killed and hundreds injured.
The price of food increased when the transport system was disrupted during the unrest, causing further hardship for the people. The state and federal governments had conflicts on the economic front. UMNO leaders feared that the economic dominance of Singapore would shift political power away from Kuala Lumpur. Despite an earlier agreement to establish a common market, Singapore continued to face restrictions when trading with the rest of Malaysia. In retaliation, Singapore refused to provide Sabah and Sarawak the full extent of the loans agreed to for economic development of the two eastern states; the situation escalated to such intensity that talks soon broke down and abusive speeches and writings became rife on both sides. UMNO extremists called for the arrest of Lee Kuan Yew. Seeing no alternative to avoid further bloodshed, the Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman decided to expel Singapore from the federation; the Parliament of Malaysia voted 126–0, with all Singaporean MPs boycotting the vote, in favour of the expulsion on 9 August 1965.
On that day, a tearful Lee Kuan Yew announced on a televised press conference that Singapore was a sovereign, independent nation. In a remembered quote, he uttered that: "For me, it would be a moment of anguish. I mean for me, it is a moment of anguish because all my life….you see the whole of my adult life…. I have believed in the unity of the two territories. You know it's a people connected by geography and ties of kinship...." The new state became the Republic of Singapore. After gaining independence abruptly, Singapore sensed the need for immediate international recognition of its sovereignty; the Konfrontasi was ongoing and some UMNO factions opposed the separation. With the support of the Malaysian, Republic of China, Indian governments, Singapore became a member of the United Nations on 21 September 1965, the Commonwealth in October that year. A new foreign ministry was established and was headed by Sinnathamby Rajaratnam who helped to assert Singapore's independence and established diplomatic relations with other countries.
The participation in international organizations helped to boost trade through cooperation. Singapore co-founded the ASEAN on 8 August 1967, joined the Non-Aligned Movement in 1970, the World Trade Organization; as a tiny island, Singapore was seen as a nonviable nation state, much of the international media was skeptical of prospects for Singapore's survival. Besides the issue of sovereignty, the pressing problems were unemployment, education, lack of natural resources and lack of land; the unemployment rate ranged between 10–12% and it threatened to create civil unrest. The loss of the access to the Malaysian hinterland market and the lack of natural resources meant that Singapore had no solid traditional sources of income. A large portion of the population lacked formal education when this statistic counted Chinese schools which the British did not recognize. Entrepot trade, the main use of Singapore's port and the original reason for Singapore's success in the 19th century, was no longer sufficient to support the large population.
Singapore invested to promote economic growth. The Economic Development Board was set up in 1961 by Goh Keng Swee, with the assistance of Dutch economic advisor Albert Winsemius, national economic strategies were formulated to promote Singapore's manufacturing sector. Industrial estates were set up in the reclaimed swampland of Jurong, government ministers toured the world in order to try to attract foreign inv
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten countries in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, security, military and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia. It regularly engages other countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. A major partner of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered by many as a global powerhouse, the central union for cooperation in Asia-Pacific, a prominent and influential organisation, it is involved in numerous international affairs, hosts diplomatic missions throughout the world. ASEAN was preceded by an organization formed in 31 July 1961 called the Association of Southeast Asia, a group consisting of the Philippines, the Federation of Malaya, Thailand. ASEAN itself was created on 8 August 1967, when the foreign ministers of five countries: Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, signed the ASEAN Declaration.
As set out in the Declaration, the aims and purposes of ASEAN are to accelerate economic growth, social progress, cultural development in the region, to promote regional peace and mutual assistance on matters of common interest, to provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities, to collaborate for better utilisation of agriculture and industry to raise the living standards of the people, to promote Southeast Asian studies and to maintain close, beneficial co-operation with existing international organisations with similar aims and purposes. The creation of ASEAN was motivated by a common fear of communism, ASEAN achieved greater cohesion in the mid-1970s following a change in balance of power after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975; the region's dynamic economic growth during the 1970s strengthened the organization, enabling ASEAN to adopt a unified response to Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia in 1979. ASEAN's first summit meeting, held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976, resulted in an agreement on several industrial projects and the signing of a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, a Declaration of Concord.
The end of the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s allowed ASEAN countries to exercise greater political independence in the region, in the 1990s ASEAN emerged as a leading voice on regional trade and security issues. In 1984, Brunei became ASEAN's sixth member and on 28 July 1995, Vietnam joined as the seventh member. Laos and Myanmar joined two years on 23 July 1997. Cambodia was to have joined at the same time as Laos and Burma, but its entry was delayed due to the country's internal political struggle, it joined on 30 April 1999, following the stabilization of its government. In 1990, Malaysia proposed the creation of an East Asia Economic Caucus composed of the members of ASEAN as well as China and South Korea, with the intention of counterbalancing the growing US influence in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and in Asia as a whole. However, the proposal failed because of heavy opposition from the Japan. Work for further integration continued, the ASEAN Plus Three, consisting of ASEAN, China and South Korea, was created in 1997.
In 1992, the Common Effective Preferential Tariff scheme was adopted as a schedule for phasing out tariffs with the goal to increase the "region's competitive advantage as a production base geared for the world market". This law would act as the framework for the ASEAN Free Trade Area, an agreement by member states concerning local manufacturing in ASEAN, it was signed on 28 January 1992 in Singapore. After the 1997 Asian financial crisis, a revival of the Malaysian proposal, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative, was put forward in Chiang Mai, Thailand, it called for better integration of the economies of ASEAN as well as the ASEAN Plus Three. The bloc focused on peace and stability in the region. On 15 December 1995, the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty was signed with the intention of turning Southeast Asia into a nuclear-weapon-free zone; the treaty took effect on 28 March 1997. It became effective on 21 June 2001 after the Philippines ratified it banning all nuclear weapons in the region.
On 15 December 2008, member states met in Jakarta to launch a charter, signed in November 2007, with the aim of moving closer to "an EU-style community". The charter turned ASEAN into a legal entity and aimed to create a single free-trade area for the region encompassing 500 million people. President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated: "This is a momentous development when ASEAN is consolidating and transforming itself into a community, it is achieved while ASEAN seeks a more vigorous role in Asian and global affairs at a time when the international system is experiencing a seismic shift". Referring to climate change and economic upheaval, he concluded: "Southeast Asia is no longer the bitterly divided, war-torn region it was in the 1960s and 1970s"; the financial crisis of 2007–2008 was seen as a threat to the goals envisioned by the charter, set forth the idea of a proposed human rights body to be discussed at a future summit in February 2009. This proposition caused controversy, as the body would not have the power to impose sanctions or punish countries which violated citizens' rights and would therefore be limited in effectiveness.
The body was established in 2009 as the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. In November 2012, the commission adopted the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. The'ASEAN W
Singapore in the Straits Settlements
Singapore in the Straits Settlements refers to a period in the history of Singapore from 1826 to 1942, during which Singapore was part of the Straits Settlements together with Penang and Malacca. From 1830 to 1867, the Straits Settlements was a residency, or subdivision, of the Presidency of Bengal, in British India. In 1867, the Straits Settlements became a separate Crown colony, directly overseen by the Colonial Office in Whitehall in London; the period saw Singapore establish itself as an important trading port and developed into a major city with a rapid increase in population. British rule was suspended in February 1942, when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Singapore during World War II. In 1819, British official Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore to establish a trading port; the island's status as a British outpost was in doubt, as the Dutch government soon issued bitter protests to the British government, arguing that their sphere of influence had been violated. The British government and the East India Company were worried about the potential liability of this new outpost, but, soon overshadowed by Singapore's rapid growth as an important trading post.
By 1822, it was made clear to the Dutch. The status of Singapore as a British possession was cemented by the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, which carved up the Malay archipelago between the two colonial powers; the area north of the Straits of Malacca, including Penang and Singapore, was designated as the British sphere of influence, while the area south of the Straits was assigned to the Dutch. This division had far-reaching consequences for the region: modern-day Malaysia and Singapore correspond to the British area established in the treaty, modern-day Indonesia to the Dutch. In 1826, Singapore was grouped together with Penang and Malacca into a single administrative unit, the Straits Settlements, under the administration of the East India Company. In 1830, the Straits Settlements became a residency, or subdivision, of the Presidency of Bengal, in British India; this status continued until 1867. During the subsequent decades, Singapore grew to become one of the most important ports in the world.
Several events during this period contributed to its success. British intervention in the Malay peninsula from the 1820s onwards culminated, during the 1870s, in the formation of British Malaya. During this period, Malaya became an important producer of natural rubber and tin, much of, shipped out through Singapore. Singapore served as the administrative centre for Malaya until the 1880s, when the capital was shifted to Kuala Lumpur. In 1834, the British government ended the East India Company's monopoly on the China trade, allowing other British companies to enter the market and leading to a surge in shipping traffic; the trade with China was opened with the signing of the Unequal Treaties, beginning in 1842. The advent of ocean-going steamships, which were faster and had a larger capacity than sailing ships, reduced transportation costs and led to a boom in trade. Singapore benefited by acting as a coaling station for the Royal Navy and merchant ships; the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 reduced the travel time from Europe to East Asia, again providing a boost for trade.
By 1880, over 1.5 million tons of goods were passing through Singapore each year, with around 80% of it transported by steamships and trading ships. The main commercial activity was entrepôt trade which flourished under no taxation and little restriction. Many merchant houses were set up in Singapore by European trading firms, but by Jewish, Arab, Armenian and Indian merchants. There were many Chinese middlemen who handled most of the trade between the European and Asian merchants. Despite Singapore's growing importance, the administration set up to govern the island was understaffed, poorly funded and ineffectual. Administrators were posted from India with little or no knowledge of the region, were unfamiliar with local languages and customs of the people; as long as British trade was not affected, the administration was unconcerned with the welfare of the populace. While Singapore's population had quadrupled between 1830 and 1867, the size of the civil service in Singapore had remained unchanged.
In 1850 there were only twelve police officers to keep order in a city of nearly 60,000. Most people had no access to public health services and disease such as cholera and smallpox caused severe health problem in overcrowded working-class areas. Malnutrition and opium smoking were major social woes during this period; as early as 1827, the Chinese had become the largest ethnic group in Singapore. During the earliest years of the settlement, most of the Chinese in Singapore had been Peranakans, the descendants of Chinese who had settled in the archipelago centuries ago, who were well-to-do merchants; as the port developed, much larger numbers of Chinese coolies flocked to Singapore looking for work. These migrant workers were male and uneducated, had left China to escape the political and economic disasters in their country, they aspired to make their fortune in Southeast Asia and return home to China, but most were doomed to a life of low-paying unskilled labour. Until the 20th century, few Chinese ended up settling permanently because wives were in short supply.
The sex ratio in Singapore's Chinese community was around hundred to one due to restrictions that the Chinese government imposed, up till the 1860s, on the migration of women. Malays in Singapore were the second largest ethnic group in Singapore until the 1860s. Although many of the Malays continued to live in kampun