Over the weekend, Singaporeans tuned in to hear Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong give the National Day Rally speech where he announced changes to the housing system locally as well as introduced new support for the aging population and for singles looking for homes.
In his speech, PM Lee talked extensively about existing issues with the classification system of Build-to-Order (BTO) homes, how the housing landscape has evolved over the years and how the government plans to help lower-income "young seniors" in their 50s and 60s to cope with increased costs of living with a SG$7 billion Majulah Package.
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According to a study by market research firm Milieu Insight of 600 Singaporeans ranging across gender and age, it was found that 65% feel positively about Singapore’s economic situation and that four in 10 feel that the economic situation will improve heading into 2024.
This was interesting considering that some of the top concerns among Singaporeans and residents are the rising cost of living at 75% and the aging population at 44%, followed by the potential of an economic recession at 37%. Notably, those above 45 years old expressed concerns about increasing scam cases, with over four in 10 considering it a key issue, according to Milieu Insight.
The study also found that among individuals aged 14 to 34, over four in 10 highlight housing accessibility as a key concern for Singapore right now as compared to the overall Singapore average of 29%. A substantial 74% of Singaporeans also find housing costs in the country unaffordable. Particularly, this sentiment is stronger among those aged 16 to 24 at 84%.
Following the announcements at the National Day Rally speech, it was found that 21% of those surveyed felt hopeful while 19% felt optimistic and 17% were unbothered. This was likely because many concerns were addressed.
For one, nearly seven in 10 or 68% of those surveyed said they support the expansion of eligibility for two-room HDB flats to singles from mid-2024. This will encompass all locations including mature estates.
It was also found that six in 10 believe the Singapore government adequately supports the aging population. Saying that, 52% express concerns about aging with dignity and retiring comfortably.
In PM Lee's Rally speech, he also spoke about leadership renewal and said that his succession plans as back on track following the pandemic and significant issues within the government's ruling party. These include a recent string of scandals with PAP's members of its parliament (MP) that happened over the last few weeks. Most recently, an affair between members of parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and PAP MP Cheng Li Hui was uncovered, forcing the two ministers to resign and step away from duties in the government.
Just days before this was revealed, Singapore's transport minister S Iswaran was arrested and then released on bail after the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) stated that he was assisting with an investigation into an undisclosed case that was uncovered by the agency.
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