IRAS Gallery

The Singapore Tax Story

Audio Guide
William Farquhar & Sir Stamford Raffles

A Free Port
Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore as a free port to attract merchants here. The first British Resident, William Farquhar, had to find revenue to secure and develop it. Farquhar introduced licences for the sale of opium and liquor, and for public gambling. The funds paid for a police force, anti-piracy expeditions, street cleaners and grass-cutters.

Opium taxes became the main source of government revenue after gambling was outlawed.
Audio button
Learn more about the
controversy surrounding taxes