Are citizens getting more unhappy and openly critical towards PAP?

On Thursday (12 Jul),  there were 2 photos which have gone viral on social media.

First, a photo emerged whereby a middle-aged man was seen at a provision store wearing a T-shirt with the words “F*** PAP”. On the same day, another picture emerged with a man on the MRT wearing a T-shirt which asked for the return of his CPF monies.

A tongue-in-cheek message accompanied the latter T-shirt, where the demands to return the CPF were passed from Lee Kuan Yew to Goh Chock Tong to Lee Hsien Loong. The caption accompanying Lee Hsien Loong’s image was “you ask me, I ask who. You wait long long lah”.

According to an opinion piece by socio-political commentator Devadas Krishnadas, “the fundamental source of unhappiness of CPF members… is the perception that the ‘goalposts’ are arbitrarily being changed by Government”.

Earlier this year, the CPF minimum sum was increased to $181,000 for those turning 55 in 2020 while monthly annuity pay-outs now start at 70 unless one requests to receive the monies at 65. More recently, Careshield was introduced as a compulsory disability insurance even though the criteria for pay-outs has been too stringent.

Besides the CPF issues, it also appears that residents are unhappy at the general price hikes and costs of living.

Starting 1 July, prices of water and electricity tariffs have increased by 15% and 6.9% respectively even though the PUB has been making a profit of close to $1 billion a year on average for the past 13 years. As a result, many Singaporeans are looking to tighten their belts over utility bills increase.

For example, 56-year-old fruit seller Anna Chan now recycles water from her washing machine to clean the toilets and uses water from washing vegetables to water her plants. "Knowing that it’s now going to be (more expensive), we definitely have to cut down our usage… If not it’s very heart pain."

Separately, Yahoo News reported recently (31 May) that according to a regular survey conducted by 2 NUS dons, Singaporeans are now less satisfied with their overall quality of life compared to previous surveys conducted in  1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011.

The 2016/17 survey, funded by NUS, is the fifth in a series of studies which were previously conducted in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011. A total of 1,503 Singaporean respondents – aged 15 years old and above – across a nationally-representative sample took part in the survey from October 2016 to February last year.

The quality of political leaders and policies could also be a factor that causes resentments towards the PAP.

While the previous PAP leadership promised HDB flats as an “asset enhancement” tool to compensate for the low CPF rates, incumbent MND Minister Lawrence Wong now reveals that HDBs will have $0 values as their lease expires. This resulted in the value of older HDB flats seeing a sharp plunge in value.

Separately, potential Prime Minister Ong Ye Kung imposes parking charges for teachers as a matter of “self-discipline” despite the generally held views that teachers have contributed intangibles to their jobs. Yet hypocritically, elected MPs pay a mere $365 a year for parking at Parliament and HDB carparks.

What do you think?