Excerpted from the US State Dept website. Released on the 25th of Feb 2009.
Singapore is a parliamentary republic in which the People’s Action Party (PAP), in power since 1959, overwhelmingly dominates politics. The population was approximately 4.6 million, with foreign workers accounting for nearly one fifth of the total. Opposition parties exist, and the May 2006 parliamentary elections were generally fair and free of tampering; however, the PAP placed formidable obstacles in the path of political opponents. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces.
The government has broad powers to limit citizens’ rights and to handicap political opposition, which it used. Caning is an allowable punishment for numerous offenses. The following human rights problems also were reported: preventive detention, executive influence over the judiciary, infringement of citizens’ privacy rights, restriction of speech and press freedom and the practice of self-censorship by journalists, restriction of freedoms of assembly and association, limited restriction of freedom of religion, and some trafficking in persons.
Read the full report here.