When Singapore attained self-government in 1959 and
subsequently independence in 1965, it was dotted with
squatter settlements, backyard industries, street hawkers and
rural farms. Overrun with congested slums, the city centre was
in desperate need of renewal.
Over the next three decades, large-scale clearance and
resettlement initiatives were carried out. The process was not
without its challenges. While clearance and resettlement were
carried out with a firm hand guided by clear and fair policies
and processes, it was also tempered with due consideration
for the impact on those displaced. The government provided
resettlement benefits tailored for farmers, residential occupants
and businesses, and offered a wide range of resettlement
facilities. These resettlement policies and benefits were revised
periodically to be kept up to date.
Successful clearance and resettlement enabled Singapore’s
physical and economic transformation, paving the way for
the development of HDB new towns, industrial estates,
infrastructure projects, and a rejuvenated city centre.