Singaporeans split over Smart Nation’s ability to create more jobs, push to cashless society

Singaporeans split over Smart Nation’s ability to create more jobs, push to cashless society

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans are divided over whether the Government’s initiatives towards a Smart Nation will create more jobs and they have mixed feelings over the push towards a cashless society, according to Government outreach portal REACH. 

Only 53 per cent agreed that the Smart Nation initiative would create more jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans, REACH said in a press release on Wednesday (Sep 27).

Additionally, only 48 per cent of Singaporeans polled said they supported the push towards a cashless society, while 24 per cent disagreed with the move.  

REACH said that some Singaporeans shared their concerns about whether the country’s transformation into a Smart Nation might inadvertently leave behind older Singaporeans who cannot catch up.

There were also some who were resistant to adopting e-payment methods, citing overspending, lack of confidence in digital modes of payment and the inability to acquire new technology due to age, REACH added.

In his National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged seniors to embrace and master information technology.

Mr Lee also pointed out that efforts to simplify and integrate e-payment systems in Singapore are underway, including making such methods possible at hawker centres.

While the respondents were divided about whether Smart Nation will bring about increased job opportunities, 72 per cent said they largely identified with PM Lee’s vision of a Smart Nation.

Seven out of 10 respondents were "mostly convinced" that it would improve the quality of life for Singaporeans and 85 per cent said it was acceptable for the Government to use data from sensor networks to detect and counter terrorist threats.

DIABETES ISSUE RESONATES MOST 

The poll results reflected that the war on diabetes was the issue that resonated most with Singaporeans.

A whopping 91 per cent of those surveyed agreed that diabetes was a serious issue that deserved national attention while 86 per cent of the respondents said that they would adopt PM Lee’s suggestions to prevent or manage diabetes, such as replacing white rice with brown or mixed grain rice.

On the issue of pre-school education, 77 per cent of the respondents said they were optimistic that efforts to improve pre-school education would ensure children have the best start in life.

In his speech, PM Lee said the Government would double its annual spending on pre-school education within the next five years so that every child in Singapore, regardless of family background, will have a good start to their learning.

NOT EVERY CITIZEN MAY APPRECIATE FULLY WHAT SMART NATION IS ABOUT: SAM TAN 

Commenting on the survey results, REACH Chairman Sam Tan said: “The results of the poll showed that Singaporeans largely recognised that the initiatives and the announcements that were made during National Day Rally 2017 would be beneficial for them and for our future generations.”

While Mr Tan noted “strong support” for PM’s vision to make Singapore a Smart Nation, not every citizen may appreciate fully what it is about, he said.

“Therefore, society as a whole has a role to play to step in to educate Singaporeans on Smart Nation and supporting them, including our senior citizens, in embracing IT to ensure that no one is left behind,” said Mr Tan, who is also Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office, Manpower and Foreign Affairs. 

A total of 1,710 Singapore citizens aged 15 and above were surveyed by REACH about the National Day Rally 2017 initiatives via a computer-assisted phone interview from Aug 22 to Aug 31.

Source: CNA/am

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