Singapore

Most Singaporeans polled support Merdeka Generation Package

More than 80 per cent of Singaporeans polled on this year's Budget supported the Merdeka Generation Package, but support was lower for the Government's efforts to gradually reduce the number of foreigners in the service sector.

Government feedback and engagement agency Reach yesterday announced results from the Budget 2019 Feedback Exercise, which saw more than 4,500 Singaporeans providing feedback across 14 platforms.

Reach engaged 2,601 of these respondents through face-to-face engagement at Listening Points, and another 1,449 through telephone polls.

The rest gave feedback through dialogues, online feedback and messaging apps.

Results showed that support was higher for social measures, as respondents noted the Government's efforts to provide stronger social safety nets.

The Merdeka Generation Package was supported by 85 per cent of respondents from the telephone poll, and 83 per cent of those at Listening Points.

While they agreed that the enhancement of Community Health Assist Scheme subsidies would help more Singaporeans cope with their healthcare expenses, some respondents reiterated the need for healthcare costs to be kept affordable in the long term.

On employment, Reach said around 84 per cent of those engaged at its Listening Points and 71 per cent of those who responded to its telephone polls agreed that efforts to transform industries and deepen workers' capabilities would improve job opportunities for Singaporeans in the new economy.

Eight in 10 welcomed the move to raise the maximum salary criteria for the Workfare Income Supplement, which would allow more workers to receive payouts.

When it came to reducing the number of foreigners in the service sector, however, only 66 per cent of those from the Listening Points and 58 per cent of respondents from the telephone poll supported the reduction of the dependency ratio ceiling.

Many cited the importance of long-term manpower sustainability and unlocking potential employment opportunities for Singaporeans.

The Bicentennial Bonus was welcomed by 76 per cent of respondents from the Listening Points and 66 per cent of respondents from the telephone poll, who viewed it as a good way to share budget surpluses with Singaporeans.

Reach chairman Sam Tan said the findings show most Singaporeans understand that the Budget 2019 announcements address both short- and long-term needs of Singapore, as well as those of Singaporeans.

"It is heartening that more Singaporeans are coming forward to share their views candidly," he said.

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