In a survey that was conducted by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and released last Thursday (31 May), Singaporeans felt that they have a decreased sense of achievement, less democratic rights and are less satisfied with their overall quality of life when compared to previous years.
Interviewing 1,503 Singaporeans aged 15 and above, two NUS Associate Professors – Siok Kuan Tambyah and Tan Soo Jiuan – found that there was marked unhappiness over the current wage levels and the cost of living.
Out of 25 aspects about living in Singapore, those surveyed were most unhappy with the affordability of cars, while the affordability of properties, cost of living, ratio of locals to foreigners, and affordability of healthcare ranked as the other key areas of concern.
Separately, respondents were least satisfied with their household income, jobs and the standard of living.
“Increasingly (over the years), they are upset about the affordability of cars and properties, so you can surmise from there that they are concerned with the issue,” said A/P Tan.
Singaporeans felt that they cannot criticize the government and have limited free speech
Singaporeans were also unhappy over their democratic rights.
Respondents felt that they had a limited right to criticise the government and the freedom of speech was lacking. Many believed that they could not influence government policy or action, and government officials did not care about or pay attention to the citizens.
“It could be… a little knowledge is a big danger. People can be more questioning as they are more educated,” said Tan.
This should come as no surprise, given recent events such as the Presidential Elections of 2017 where Halimah Yacob was sworn in without a single vote, while the 4G leadership has also demanded that Sylvia Lim apologize for her comments that the government had “floated test balloons” before increasing GST.
In a Facebook post, former PAP Member of Parliament Tan Cheng Bock said that “It is not President Halimah as a person that Singaporeans are unhappy about. It is about the way our government has conducted this whole walkover presidential election”.
A long list of things for the government to improve on
When asked what could be improved, the respondents wanted the government to step up in five main areas:
1) Addressing the needs of the aging population
2) Followed by moderating rising prices
3) Helping the marginalised in society
4) Improving the public transport system
5) Providing more resources for healthcare needs.
What do you think?