The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) presented its post-election survey at a forum via Facebook Live yesterday (8 Oct). The study was part of a larger survey which IPS was commissioned by YouGov.
According to IPS, 8 per cent of the respondents said they swung their votes from the PAP to the opposition in the recent GE which was held in Jul, while 3 per cent reported a swing from the opposition to the PAP. Swing voters were defined in the survey as those who voted for one party in 2015 and another party in 2020.
More than 2,000 Singaporeans were polled for the IPS survey. However, the percentage of swing votes from PAP to opposition may have been more than the reported 8%, given that 56 per cent of the respondents did not answer the questions on who they voted for either in 2015 or 2020.
“We had lots of missing data due to refusals,” said an IPS spokesperson.
The survey also shows that there were no significant differences in ethnicity, housing types, age and education in swing voting patterns this year, compared to the proportion of these groups in the Singaporean population.
However, the IPS spokesperson noted about the swing voters from PAP to opposition, “They tended to be males, they were also more active in politics, they trusted newspapers and radio less and they liked to have alternative views in Parliament. That was often in line with our expectations of swing voters in this country.”
After the 2020 GE, the Economist did an article to find out why more Singaporeans voted for opposition this time compared to the last GE (‘Why so many Singaporeans voted for the opposition‘, 18 Jul).
The Economist interviewed Dr Netina Tan, who is an Associate Professor of Political Science from McMaster University, Canada. She noted that many Singaporean voters have viewed the PAP as arrogant and elitist, and complain about immigration, public housing and the cost of living.
Arrogant and elitist
Indeed, one of the infamous incident that has occurred in the recent GE involved PAP candidate Ivan Lim (‘Online comments emerge that PAP new candidate Ivan Lim allegedly a “How Lian” character‘).
Not long after his introduction as a new PAP candidate, netizens began to come forward spewing negative stories of Lim’s past. A Facebook user shared that Lim was allegedly the commanding officer of his battalion and would speak “using a condescending voice” to tell others not to step into the air-conditioned tentage that he was using.
“His action and speech were simply that of an elitist,” the person wrote. “So now he is going into politics to represent the ordinary folks in Parliament. With his character and personality – will he?”
Others commented that Lim’s alleged “bad character” can be found all over on Facebook with negative remarks supposedly coming from his poly classmates, colleagues at Keppel as well as people serving with him during NS and reservist days.
The introduction of Ivan Lim as a new candidate certainly cast a bad light on PAP. Eventually, PAP was forced to withdraw Lim from 2020 GE.
Singaporeans have long been complaining about being replaced by “foreign talents” in the workplace before 2020 GE.
It was until the PAP government lost 2 GRCs in the recent GE that in Aug, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) announced the raising of the minimum salary requirements for foreign PMETs working in Singapore. Foreigners on Employment Pass (EP) will need to have a minimum monthly salary of $4,500, up from $3,900.
For EP holders in the financial sector, they will have to be paid at least $5,000 from 1 December. For mid-skilled foreigners on S Pass, the qualifying salary will be raised from $2,400 to $2,500, starting this month.
In addition, MOM has also increased its scrutiny on companies abusing the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF). Also in Aug, MOM placed 47 companies with suspected discriminatory hiring practices on its watchlist (‘MOM places firms with “high concentration of PMETs from single nationalities” in FCF watchlist‘).
Of the 47 companies, 30 are in the financial and professional services sectors. MOM said that all 30 have a “high concentration of PMETs from single nationalities”. In one financial institution, almost three-quarters of their PMETs are of the same nationality and in another bank, almost two-thirds of the PMETs are also of the same nationality, MOM revealed.
With more retrenched local PMETs driving Grab and doing food deliveries, it’s not difficult to understand why more Singaporean voters have decided to vote for opposition instead.
Cost of living
Then there is the cost of living especially among the retired elderly.
Last year (18 Feb), NCMP Associate Prof Walter Theseira asked Minister Josephine Teo in Parliament about how much on average, the Singapore elderly are getting their CPF payouts after they turned 65. He also asked what percentage of the elderly CPF members are receiving monthly payouts of less than $500.
Thanks to Prof Theseira’s question, Ms Teo was forced to reveal the data. She disclosed that a large percentage of 74% of elderly CPF members had monthly payouts under $500. The average monthly payout for CPF members were as follows as at Dec 2018:
That is to say, these 3 groups of Singapore elderly would receive on average of about $355 per month from CPF Board, with nearly three quarters receiving less than $500.
At the same time, in May last year, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) at NUS published a survey revealing for the first time that an elderly above 65 years old would need $1,379 a month to meet his or her basic needs.
The household budgets necessary to meet basic needs were $1,379 per month for single elderly households, $2,351 per month for elderly couples. For those aged aged 55 to 64 years old, they would need a minimum of $1,721 per month for a person to live in Singapore.
The sums were derived from focus group discussions involving more than 100 participants from diverse backgrounds, and using a consensus-based methodology known as Minimum Income Standards (MIS).
Despite a projected increase in CPF participation and savings with future cohorts, the basic retirement payment of less than $800 is only about half of the household budget for a single elderly person, the study said.