Connect with us


3 Unpopular Policies That Creates Unhappy Voters shares on 3 unpopular policies that creates unhappy voters in Singapore and are yet, never resolved.

The rumors we heard is that this might be an election year. If this is true, then there are some policies that the government will need to take caution to tread carefully.

Here are our top 3.


1. Consistent fare hikes on public transport

The annual process of transport companies submitting their proposed fare increment to the Public Transport Council (PTC) have almost become farcical – though none more so than this year.

The significant drop in oil prices from a high of US$120 per barrel to less than US$50 per barrel was assumed by a large majority of Singaporeans (ourselves included) to finally buck the trend; considering that oil prices has always been quoted as one of the main reasons for the consistent increase of public transport fares.

They were wrong – transport companies were given the green light to increase fare by 2.8%.

One of the reasons for that is that the fare adjustment formula is based on a lagging indicator. Diesel cost and electricity tariffs are from last year indices; not current price. What this means is that transport companies are paying less to run their trains and buses, while charging commuters more for it.

The strange effect this has in Singapore is that if you drive a car, your per KM cost of driving is now cheaper – while public transport users end up paying more.

Assuming a person spends $4 on public transport each day, that’s about $40 more per year, per individual. For a company like SMRT who has about 2.6 million commuters each day, that’s about $100 million more revenue each year.

The big winner? Shareholders of SMRT.


Fun Fact: As at end 2014, Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd owns 54% of SMRT.


2. Annual increase in CPF Minimum Basic Retirement sum

With a simple move to change “Minimum Sum (MS)” to “Basic Retirement Sum”, the CPF board hopes to make redundant all the negative views from netizens over the past few years about the MS. The hope of that is that when you Google “Basic Retirement Sum Bad”, Roy Ngerng and Hardwarezone will not be the first few results to pop up.

Constant changes to the CPF system confuse people because of ever-changing parameters. We don’t think any system should always stay the same, but changing it every other year is not the solution. This has led to different people having different understanding of how the CPF system works.

Ironically, the solution now being proposed is that MS should be called a separate name altogether – which will inevitably lead to more confusion.

The next set of questions that people will have would be, will there be more increment or changes to the system in the next couple of years, again?


3. COE quotas going down, COE prices going up.

The growth of our COE quotas is based on the expansion of our road infrastructure in Singapore. With that in mind, here are some statistics for you to mull over.

Year Total Road Length (KM) Population
2003 3165 4,185,000
2013 3425 5,312,000
Total Growth 260 1,127,000
Total Growth (%) 8.2% 26.9%
Growth Per Year (%) 0.82% 2.69%

The growth of road length in Singapore since 2003 has been a total of 260 KM (8.2%). The population growth on the other hand has been 1,127,000 (26.9%).

We will let you put together the link on how this has led to higher COE prices.


What are some other unpopular policies in Singapore? Share it with us on Facebook. aims to provide interesting, bite-sized and relevant financial articles.

Learn together with like-minded Singaporeans at the Personal Finance Discussion SG Facebook Group by discussing a range of personal finance topics.

If you have not done so, subscribe to our free e-newsletter to receive exclusive content not available anywhere else.