New healthcare, housing and education measures welcomed by S'poreans

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his 10th National Day Rally speech at the Institute of Technical Education's (ITE) new Ang Mo Kio campus on 18 August 2013.

SINGAPORE - More than 7 in 10 people felt that this year's National Day Rally (NDR) 2013 announcements boosted their confidence in Singapore's future, and believed that together, Singaporeans will be able to deal with the challenges ahead.

These were the responses in a REACH telephone poll carried out from 20 to 29 August 2013 to gauge Singaporeans' sentiments towards the Rally. 853 respondents aged 20 and above, who had heard or read the NDR speech and have some knowledge of the issues raised in the speech, were randomly selected and polled.

In a statement to the media, REACH revealed that the policy shifts for healthcare, housing and education in the Rally were warmly welcomed, with the majority agreeing that the various measures will ensure that healthcare and housing remain affordable, and that our children can develop to their maximum potential.

Overall, 73% of poll respondents felt that the Rally announcements boosted their confidence in Singapore's future, while 75% believed that together, Singaporeans will be able to deal with the challenges ahead.

On Healthcare announcements

Overall, 81% agreed that the new healthcare measures will ensure the affordability of public healthcare, especially for older and lower income Singaporeans.

86% supported the introduction of MediShield Life, which will cover all Singaporeans, including those with pre-existing conditions.

The removal of the age limit for the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) received the strongest support, with 90% supporting the measure.

On Housing measures

Overall, 76% agreed that the new housing measures will better ensure that public housing is affordable for those in the lower- and middle-income groups.

84% supported the move to keep the prices of Build-To-Order flats stable to ensure that public housing is more affordable for first time home buyers.

Significantly, more than 8 in 10 (81%) supported the extension of the Special CPF Housing Grant to include middle-income first-time home buyers.

On Education announcements

On the whole, 65% felt that the new education-related measures will better help children develop their potential to the maximum.

76% supported the move to set aside 40 Primary 1 places in each school for students without any connections to that school.

Almost 60% supported the move to change the current PSLE grading system to one that is more similar to that of the "O" and "A" Levels.

In response to the poll results, REACH Chairman Dr Amy Khor said, "The findings of the National Day Rally 2013 telephone poll is heartening, as it reflects Singaporeans' broad agreement with what the Government is doing to boost confidence in Singapore's future and ensure that it continues to thrive without compromising core values such as effort and meritocracy.

"These sentiments correspond with the feedback that REACH has received so far, with many voicing their strong support especially for the healthcare and housing initiatives. On education, while there is support and consensus on the need to keep our system open and rigorous, it is understandable that Singaporeans have expressed some uncertainties about how the policy changes will be implemented and how these will impact their children. As more details are announced, I hope that Singaporeans will continue to be assured that the Government, together with the community, will support individuals who may be more vulnerable and ensure that they have every opportunity to improve their lives."

"The policy shifts announced in the Rally are in response to the rapidly changing world that we live in and the feedback gathered through the 'Our Singapore Conversation' as well as other channels of feedback. Singaporeans have been forthcoming in sharing their feedback on the Rally. I hope that this spirit of active participation in policy debate and empathy towards diverse viewpoints of fellow Singaporeans will continue. REACH remains totally committed to engaging Singaporeans on policy-making, and to better understand the ground sentiments of Singaporeans on key issues."

Details of REACH Telephone Poll on NDR 2013

The REACH telephone poll on National Day Rally (NDR) 2013 was carried out from 20 to 29 August 2013 among 853 Singapore residents, to gauge Singaporeans' sentiments towards the key announcements in the Rally speech.

Respondents aged 20 and above who had at least read or heard about the issues raised in the NDR speech and have some knowledge of the issues raised in the speech were randomly selected. The sample is largely demographically representative of the Singapore population. The margin of error is 3.36 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level.

Healthcare

In the area of healthcare, 86 per cent supported the introduction of MediShield Life, which will cover all Singaporeans, including those with pre-existing conditions. 40.2 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 45.8 per cent agree, 6.4 per cent are neutral, 2.8 per cent disagree while 1.1 per cent strongly disagree.

90 per cent supported the removal of the age limit for the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), to allow younger Singaporeans from lower income families to benefit from the scheme. 41.7 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 48.2 per cent agree, 5.3 per cent are neutral, 1.7 per cent disagree while 0.5 per cent strongly disagree.

Overall, 81 per cent agreed that the new healthcare measures will ensure that public healthcare is more affordable, especially for older and lower income Singaporeans. 33.5 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 47.2 per cent agree, 11.1 per cent are neutral, 3.6 per cent disagree while 0.7 per cent strongly disagree.

Housing

Looking at the policy shifts related to public housing, 84 per cent supported the move to keep the prices of Build-To-Order flats stable to ensure that public housing is more affordable for first time home buyers. 35.2 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 48.3 per cent agree, 8 per cent are neutral, 3.6 per cent disagree while 0.7 per cent strongly disagree.

81 per cent supported extending the Special CPF Housing Grant to include middle-income first-time home buyers. 29.4 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 51.3 per cent agree, 10.9 per cent are neutral, 3.3 per cent disagree while 0.5 per cent strongly disagree.

Overall, 76 per cent agreed that the new housing measures will better ensure that public housing is affordable for those in the lower- and middle-income groups. 24.6 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 51.1 per cent agree, 14 per cent are neutral, 4.6 per cent disagree while 1.3 per cent strongly disagree.

Education

In the area of education, 76 per cent of respondents supported the move to set aside 40 Primary 1 places in each school for students without any connections to that school. 32.6 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 43.4 per cent agree, 12.3 per cent are neutral, 3.9 per cent disagree while 1.5 per cent strongly disagree.

59 per cent supported the move to change the the current PSLE grading system to one that is more similar to that of the "O" and "A" Levels. 21.1 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 38.2 per cent agree, 17.6 per cent are neutral, 8.8 per cent disagree while 3.3 per cent strongly disagree.

Overall, 65 per cent felt that the new education-related measures will better help children develop their potential to the maximum. 17.9 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 47.1 per cent agree, 20.9 per cent are neutral, 4.9 per cent disagree while 1.3 per cent strongly disagree.

Overall

Overall, 75 per cent of respondents felt that together, Singaporeans will be able to deal with the challenges ahead. 18.3 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 56.5 per cent agree, 18.3 per cent are neutral, 4.2 per cent disagree while 0.9 per cent strongly disagree.

Overall, 73 per cent of respondents felt that the NDR announcements boosted their confidence in Singapore's future. 19 per cent of respondents strongly agree, 53.8 per cent agree, 19.2 per cent are neutral, 5.2 per cent disagree while 1.2 per cent strongly disagree.

VIDEOS TO WATCH

SERVICES