In a recent development, a member of the public has come forward to shed light on a public survey conducted by Rysense, a survey company reportedly commissioned by the Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI).
The survey aimed to gauge the sentiments of Singaporeans regarding the government and its policies.
The individual who participated in the survey on Monday (24 Apr) revealed that he was contacted by Rysense and asked to provide their opinions on various aspects of governance.
The survey, which took approximately half an hour to complete, required respondents to rate their agreement or disagreement on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing total disagreement and 5 indicating full agreement.
The questions posed during the survey covered a range of topics. These questions (paraphrased) include:
- Do you think the govt is managing Singapore well?
- Do you think Singapore is headed in the right direction with the present leadership?
- Are you familiar with the President’s address on 10 April?
- What do you think about the three priorities in the President’s Speech?
- The government lays down the rationale for decisions. How important of parliament debates for you?
- There is some shift in education and reliance on qualification, such as doing away with using certification as means to qualification. What do you think about these initiatives?
- What do you think about the government social transfers?
The participant expressed their dissatisfaction with the survey, as he was unable to share their personal opinions due to the lack of an option for individual input.
Speaking to The Online Citizen Asia (TOC), the individual questioned the purpose of the survey, suggesting that it seemed to be a one-directional conversation rather than a genuine effort to gather diverse perspectives.
This revelation comes in the wake of a parliamentary debate where Mr Leon Perera, a Member of Parliament for the Workers’ Party, called for the publication of every public opinion poll and data collection effort funded by the state.
Mr Perera, during his speech in the debate on the President’s speech, emphasized the need for transparency and access to information to foster informed debates among political parties, civil society groups, and citizens.
He highlighted the fact that outcomes of public consultations and results from government-conducted public opinion surveys are often not made available for public scrutiny and debate.
Rysense, a company run by MCI
Rysense Ltd, which was previously identified as the sole proprietor of the online survey community HappyDot.sg, claims on its website to be a not-for-profit company operating as a Company Limited by Guarantee, set up by MCI.
Read: Rysense declares being established by MCI as not-for-profit company; HappyDot.sg continues to hide its “ultimate owner”
The company drew attention when it was revealed as the parent company behind HappyDot.sg, which conducted surveys on controversial topics such as the high-profile case of Parti Liyani, an Indonesian national acquitted from theft charges. This raised concerns about the independence of the surveys conducted by Rysense and HappyDot.sg.
Given that public resources likely fund these surveys, questions have arisen regarding the transparency of the survey results; it remains a question of whether the government release the survey findings, such as the survey which is now being conducted by Rysense.
The timing and topics of the survey might suggest an ulterior motive, such as assessing public sentiment on whether it is advantageous to hold a general election (GE) for the ruling party. If this is true, then more questions arise as the People’s Action Party (PAP) is using state funds for its party’s political agenda.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent speech during the debate on the President’s address has been seen by many as an indication of the party’s intention to hold an election in the coming months, with no plans for Mr Lee to step down and hand over the reins to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.
According to TOC’s sources, the PAP is still undecided on whether to hold the GE before or after the Presidential Election, which must be held by September this year.
PAP is, nevertheless, said to have the intention of having the GE – which is due in 2025 –this year as Singapore is set for another round of price hikes due to the 1% Goods & Services Tax hike in January next year and an impending recession.