Category: Current Affairs
Published on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 00:00
Housing issues are largely solved according to Singaporeans so why aren't we completely happy with the G yet?
ST pulled out all stops in it's April 19th edition to talk about the mid term report on Singaporeans' satisfaction with this current government. The news paper's four page spread broke down the report's findings on healthcare, transport and housing and went on to talk about why some dissatisfaction still lingers within the Singaporean zeitgeist.
The overall survey results were reported to be generally favorable to the G, with Singaporeans feeling higher levels of satisfaction over the recent G attempts to slay the housing and healthcare bugbears that were plaguing the citizenry. Also well received were the moves by this G to assuage the predicaments of our working poor and elderly.
It seems that the wake up call that was handed out to the G in the last election has had it's intended effect. The same piece also pointed out that the disaffected and the agnostic (who's ranks seem to be swelling if you went by the noise online) will continue to say that the G's measures were too piecemeal and are still resultant of bad policy decisions that still demand correction. Don't be surprised if there's chatter that claim that the survey was an attempt by the pro G cheerleaders to spin the survey findings as the sentiment of the majority of the population.
That being said, the survey results are unsurprising. Singaporeans have always been a pragmatic bunch and they have always placed their highest priority on bread and butter issues. People are happy with the fact that runaway housing prices have been halted by MND's dual usage of cooling measures and increasing supply.
It seems that the G's pivot towards the left with regards to social policies is having the intended effect of showing the populace that this G cares about them. The Pioneer Generation package despite a small group of naysayers, is generally well received and appreciated. The move towards universal healthcare has been receiving murmurs of approval since PM announced it last year at NDR. The need to provide medical coverage for those at risk through the CPF scheme and Medisave has been thoroughly welcomed, although experts have warned that we still need to know the full details about Medishield Life before we start celebrating.
It's looking like the Singaporean dream: the one where we have a home and good health is slowly inching backwards our grasp. Now if only the G could make it so our train system runs on time and incident free. The survey findings revealed that transport is currently "the source of most angst since the last elections." Poor Mr. Lui Tuck Yew doesn't have much leverage to work with besides the LTA, road building and infrastructure because public transportation are essentially in the realm of private business operators. And even the infrastructure end of the transportation authority is a source of headaches for the ministry thanks to the setback delays in the new MRT line construction.
So how will this survey's findings translate into voting patterns during the next election? The ST spread had a chart that discussed what the survey respondents looked out for when picking their elected representatives. Of the six factors highlighted, national policies and their impact on the individual was rated as the most important factor. A majority of respondents also thought that it was important to have checks and balances on the G.
It seem that the report basically states the obvious: The PAP can never go back to the days of a one party Parliament despite whatever it does to satisfy the people. The electorate is increasingly supportive of the idea of having a more diverse Parliament instead of a homogenous one. Despite pro opposition supporters expressing lamentations at being disappointed by the parliamentary performance of the Workers' Party, there will be a large segment of the electorate who will attribute the G's improved performance to the presence of more opposition MPs within the house. This might lead some to think that more opposition within parliament would bring about a better government for all of us. The problem with this logic: Do we have a proper opposition that we need. Or do we have an opposition that we deserve?
There's also the possibility that the opposite could happen. Those who voted against the G might feel that it has at last seen the error of its ways and that it has at long last done right by Singaporeans - and will continue to do right by Singapore now that the G has finally woken up from it's stupor.
The G will have to use the time it has left to consolidate its gains and figure out how it can tap into the nation's 50th anniversary feel good tide. It has do more to tackle the pressures of the rising cost of living while managing the numbers of foreign workers in Singapore. The G has between 2-3 years left to show Singaporeans that it can deliver on Singaporeans' impossibly high expectations. So here's a question for you: How many of you think that the G will be able to satisfy Singaporeans to win at the next polling day?