SINGAPORE: The latest Edelman Trust Barometer report has suggested that trust in the Singapore Government has improved, even though economic optimism among Singaporeans has dipped to a record low.

Widely recognized as a leading source of insights into the state of trust in governments, businesses, charities and the media around the world, the Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual survey that is based on online interviews with a representative sample of the general population in different countries around the world.

The 2023 report on Singapore, released on Wednesday (15 Mar), was based on interviews with over 1,000 individuals aged 18 or older living in Singapore.

Only 36 per cent of those interviewed said they believe life for their families will improve economically in the next five years. Representing a 7 per cent dip from last year’s results, this is the lowest level of economic optimism in the 23 years Edelman conducted the survey.

Source: Edelman Trust Barometer 2023

Singaporeans were also divided when it came to trusting in each other.

46 per cent of respondents said that the social fabric “that once held this country together has grown too weak to serve as a foundation for unity and common purpose,” while 44 per cent said that the lack of civility and mutual respect today is the “worst” they have ever seen.

Only 30 per cent of respondents said they would willingly help someone they strongly disagreed with if that person was in need.

Some Singaporeans responding to the survey results on social media were not surprised.

One netizen said that the lower levels of trust in Singapore’s social fabric are the “result of competitive society. We compete with each other in our education system and we continue to compete in our job career. We were taught we win when other lose, then what do you expect?”

Another suggested that the Government should do more to better integrate all Singaporeans, especially new citizens: “So many years of kindness movement has gone down the drain. Inevitable when new residents do not try to integrate into local culture and locals do not feel the need to give in to others because they no longer believe in the need to be kind.”

Meanwhile, most Edelman survey respondents also expressed deep-seated concerns about job loss and rising costs.

A whopping 90 per cent of employees said they worried about potential job losses, while about 70 per cent of all respondents expressed concerns about inflation, climate change or nuclear war.

Despite some of the more troubling statistics, the report said that trust in the government had increased by 2 points from last year. 76 per cent of respondents said they trusted the People’s Action Party-dominated government.

Source: Edelman Trust Barometer 2023