The People of Singapore, Social Issues
Since Singapore became an independent state in 1965, government policies have brought orderliness and efficiency to the country. Examples are supplanting slum and squatter areas with high-rise public housing projects, and strict controls on air and water pollution to ensure a healthier environment. While these policies draw few objections, other aspects of Singapore's social engineering are occasionally considered extreme, such as one campaign that urged well-educated couples to produce children. The government has discontinued this particular campaign, but it remains committed to defining and promoting—either by law or through official campaigns—the appropriate public and private behavior of its citizens. Outsiders sometimes also consider Singapore's criminal punishments severe. Singapore stresses, however, that its strict laws and sentences have made the nation one of the safest places in the world.