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Govt-commissioned survey offers participants $10 NTUC voucher for answering questions like “Is the Prime Minister doing a good job?”




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Facebook user Ervin Tan has revealed on social media that he was offered a $10 NTUC voucher for completing a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

Interestingly, the survey claimed that it aimed to study the news consumption habits of people but asked irrelevant questions like, “Is Singapore headed in the right direction?” and “Is the Prime Minister doing a good job?”

Tan wrote online, yesterday: “I was recently asked to complete a survey by a person engaged by RySense Ltd, which was in turn commissioned by MCI. The survey purported to be a “News Consumption Survey”. On this basis – as well as the fact that the gentleman employed to administer the survey seemed to be in need of hitting his quota – I agreed to assist with the survey.

“The initial questions asked about my newspaper reading, radio-listening habits and social media habits – i.e. the source of my news consumption and the frequency of consumption. The survey also probed my opinion of the reliability of the sources of news I consumed, and segued predictably into a very short segment on fake news and whether I bothered to fact-check.

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“Rather intriguingly, the final questions seemed to have nothing to do with news consumption or even fake news. Instead, I was asked (among other questions), on a scale of one to ten (being strongly disagree or strongly agree): Is Singapore headed in the right direction? Is the Prime Minister doing a good job?”

When Tan pointed out that these questions are not related to news consumption, the person administering the survey did not deny this but assured Tan that all responses will be kept confidential.

The administrator also refused Tan’s request to take a picture of these questions but allowed him to take a picture of the letter of authorisation, before giving Tan a $10 NTUC Voucher.

Tan revealed that he has decided to donate a cash equivalent of the voucher plus extra to HOME: Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics since its “good work is often obstructed by systemic barriers.”

As Tan points out in the comments section, it remains unclear “how much this exercise costs, how households are selected for this survey, and who gets to see the results.”


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