The government remains Singapore’s most trusted institution

02 May 2023 4 min. read
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Singapore’s government has remained the country’s most trusted organisation, according to research by public relations and communications firm Edelman.

The 2023 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer asked people from around the world to share the ‘trust’ they have in various institutions, such as government, business, media, and non-profits. 33,000+ respondents from 28 countries participated in the survey.

In Singapore, the government has yet again come out on top as the country’s must trusted institution, with its approval rating up 2% on the year previous. At 76% (a record for Singapore) the country ranks fourth worldwide, behind just the China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The government remains Singapore’s most trusted institution

As per the report, the all-time high score indicates a strong belief in the current leadership’s ability to guide Singapore through the current global economic and geopolitical headwinds.

The city-state of Singapore has a unique political landscape, with a strong emphasis on economic development and a close relationship between the government and private businesses. The government has traditionally played an active role in promoting economic growth, implementing policies such as investment in education and infrastructure, tax incentives and support for key industries.

All such policies proposed by politicians have led the public to have a rising positive outlook of government leaders.

The government remains Singapore’s most trusted institution

The government has been implementing measures aimed at promoting greater transparency and accountability, such as requiring government officials to declare their assets and investments, and creating an independent commission to oversee government procurement.

The state has also been proactive in attracting foreign investment and promoting Singapore as a business-friendly destination, which heralded the growth of a thriving private sector. Many large multinational corporations have – attracted by a sound business landscape – established regional headquarters in Singapore, which has helped to create jobs and boost the economy.

A growing trust gap

Beyond the government, the researchers note that there is a growing gap in trust between the government and the private sector, which has widened by 14 points. Furthermore, trust in business and NGOs has been declining over the past two years, indicating that the institutions have more work to do in order to meet the public's expectations as Singapore emerges from the pandemic, facing both economic and societal challenges.

The government remains Singapore’s most trusted institution

“By an overwhelming margin, respondents want more societal involvement by business on issues such as healthcare access, climate change and improving economic inequality. Respondents also believe that CEOs are obligated to ensure our home community is safe and thriving, and it is up to them to rise to the challenge,” said Julia Wei, the CEO of Edelman in Singapore.

Wei added that respondents view public-private collaboration as beneficial to progress, with 43% noting that government and businesses working together in cohesion will most likely result in constructive action

“Across a wide range of societal issues, people believe that government and business working in partnership will achieve the best results – on average, four times more than if business were to work alone,” Wei said.

Global optimism drops

The Trust Barometer further found that overall economic optimism has dropped considerably over the past year amid an economic slowdown, high inflation, and a mounting risks landscape, with 24 of the 28 countries studied seeing their optimism score drop to an all-time low.

In more than half of the countries, respondents said that their families will not be better off in the next five years, with Singapore ranking mid-table with a score of 36%.

The government remains Singapore’s most trusted institution

According to the most recent data from the Singapore government, the economy grew by 3.6% in 2022, and is set for growth this year (bucking the global trend). The government has also taken steps to address concerns regarding the high costs of living and doing business, with a budget of $2.6 billion allocated (equivalent to 0.4% of GDP) for special transfers to households, which aims to mitigate the effects of increased prices.

The Edelman Trust Barometer has been conducted since 2001, over the years becoming a valuable source of information on trust levels and trends. The report is used by businesses, governments, and non-profits to understand how they can build trust with their stakeholders and improve their reputation.