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Ensuring good governance in Singapore: Is this experience transferable to other Asian countries?

Jon S.T. Quah (Anti‐Corruption Consultant, Singapore and National University of Singapore, Singapore)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 5 July 2013



The purpose of this paper is to attribute Singapore's good governance to the effective policies implemented by the People's Action Party (PAP) government and contend that it will be difficult to transfer Singapore's experience to other countries because of Singapore's unique circumstances and favourable policy context.


The paper analyses four policies initiated by the PAP government: comprehensive reform of the Singapore Civil Service; anti‐corruption measures; decentralization of the Public Service Commission; and payment of competitive salaries to attract and retain the best candidates to the government. The effectiveness of these policies is assessed by referring to Singapore's performance on eight governance indicators.


The four policies are effective, as reflected in Singapore's superior rankings and scores on eight indicators: Global Competitiveness Report's (GCR's) competence of public officials; World Bank's indicator on government effectiveness; Political Economic Risk Consultancy's (PERC's) survey on bureaucratic effectiveness; Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index; PERC's survey on corruption; World Bank's indicator on control of corruption; World Bank's ease of doing business survey; and GCR's public trust of politicians survey. However, as Singapore's good governance is the result of the PAP government's political will and its favourable policy context, it is difficult to transfer Singapore's experience elsewhere because of the limited political will and unfavourable policy contexts in many Asian countries.


This paper will be useful to those interested in learning how Singapore succeeded in promoting good governance.



Quah, J.S.T. (2013), "Ensuring good governance in Singapore: Is this experience transferable to other Asian countries?", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 401-420.



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