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There's room to handle public expectations better: MP Lily Neo

The Government should set realistic public expectations, and work on communicating its policies better, Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar Lily Neo suggested on Wednesday (May 28).

SINGAPORE: The Government should set realistic public expectations, track and prioritise them, and communicate better, Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar Lily Neo suggested on Wednesday (May 28).

Doing this would help mitigate rising public expectations, especially in an age when unhappy citizens can vent online, she said; by setting realistic expectations, it would create a good reputation that would result in less tolerance for error.

In an age where unhappy citizens are able to vent online, more research should be done, including tracking public values and determining citizens' priorities.

"The final evaluations can then be adopted as a policy going forward," said Dr Neo. "This is to ensure that people can appreciate what each Ministry is doing, rather than finding fault with it."

She noted that the Government's resources are finite and there will be instances where public expectations cannot be met. When there are competing demands, priority should be given to policies that can benefit the majority of the population, or vulnerable groups, she said.

Dr Neo said that sometimes, there is a mismatch between the public's perceptions and what policies have actually achieved. In order to communicate better, there is a need to be clear, persuasive and accessible. 

"The success in communication is politically as important as the success of the policy itself," she said. "Public satisfaction, trust in Government and good governance are not interchangeable concepts. Rather, trust and satisfaction are better conceived of as necessary parts of a set of indicators for good governance."

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