Singaporeans Fret Most Over High Costs, Wages in Latest Survey

(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s high living cost is by far the most important issue facing the city-state, according to a new survey of residents, signaling that pressure remains on the government to address key issues including wages and housing affordability.

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In a poll of more than 1,500 residents ranking 25 community issues published by Blackbox Research, 59% selected cost of living as their first or second choice, with salaries taking the second spot overall at 17%. While 73% view current national economic conditions positively, most were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the wealth gap, wages and the prices of homes and cars.

The People’s Action Party, which has ruled Singapore since independence in 1965, got a boost last month after former senior minister scored a landslide victory in the presidential election. It came after the government sustained a series of political scandals, including a graft probe involving a senior minister, that put its clean reputation to test.

While observers say the result in the non-partisan contest can largely be attributed to Tharman’s own popularity, what’s less clear is how they will impact the timing of a general election that must be called by 2025.

A good governance meter tracked by Blackbox returned a score of 63%, indicating broad satisfaction in the community on the government’s functioning.

While an ongoing money laundering probe was among the top three issues that caught people’s attention in the past few months, it was second only to the presidential election, the survey showed. Shifts in the property market was the third.

The Blackbox results released as part of a new data platform shows that just 36% of those surveyed expect economic improvement at the national level in the next year, while 37% anticipate further deterioration. Nevertheless, nearly four in five believe Singapore is heading in the right direction.

–With assistance from Low De Wei.

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