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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Poll: Transport still a big problem

As the Government prepares its agenda for the second half of its term, The Straits Times presents a survey of over 500 Singaporeans to get a sense of how they think of key issues since the 2011 general election.

A large majority of Singaporeans say the Government’s handling of issues related to the elderly, poor, healthcare and housing has improved since 2011, but not so when it comes to transport and foreign workers.

About seven in 10 Singaporeans say the Government has done better in handling issues related to the elderly and the poor since 2011, according to a Straits Times poll of 500 Singaporeans in March.

But on issues related to transport and foreign workers, that figure was much lower.

On transport, 35% said the Government has done worse, and 26% said that of its handling of foreign worker and immigration issues.

When asked about Singaporean’s current level of satisfaction with government policies, 60% said they would put it at satisfactory or very satisfactory.

Since the 2011 general election, the Government has shifted its approach to social policies, and sought to rectify many of the problems that appeared to cause unhappiness among voters.

More is being done to provide healthcare to the elderly and the poor, housing prices have moderated after successive rounds of cooling, and measures are being taken to tighten the inflow of foreign workers to Singapore and to boost wages at the bottom.

These are all part of what the Prime Minister has pledged as a new way forward for Singapore.

The survey found that social issues, namely, policies to do with the elderly, the poor and healthcare ranked among the highest in importance among the Singaporeans polled.

And seven in 10 said that they had confidence in Singapore’s future relating to these three issues. That was higher than for any other national policy issues such as education, housing or transport.

Perhaps unsurprisingly though, there was the least confidence in how transport and the foreign worker policy will be handled going forward.

Transport was named overwhelmingly as the Government’s “worst failure” since 2011 – a question with an open-ended answer.

About 45% of those polled, put down transport-related concerns, whether they were MRT breakdowns and delays, or rising transport fares and Certificate of Entitlement prices.

Foreign worker and immigration issues, also were given a thumbs down as some 16% put down “too many foreign workers”, “immigration policy” or “Little India riot” as a worst failure.

Another hot election issue in 2011 – housing – also threw up some interesting findings.

With property prices starting to moderate, 66% of Singaporeans polled said they had confidence in how housing issues will be handled by the Government going forward.

Overall, it appears that Singaporeans are generally moderately more satisfied with government policies today than in 2011.

When asked to rate how satisfied they think Singaporeans are with government policies today, 59% said they think Singaporeans are satisfied or very satisfied.

And when asked how they rated Singaporeans’s level of satisfaction in 2011, 53% said they thought Singaporeans were satisfied then.

These findings would seem to vindicate the Government’s aggressive rollout of new policies over the last few years.

At the halfway mark, it appears that the majority of concerns of Singaporeans have been listened to and are beginning to be addressed. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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