betty July 14, 2022

SINGAPORE – About six in 10 Singaporeans trust that Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong is the best possible fourth-generation leader to see the country through a post-Covid-19 world, a study has found.

In particular, 60 per cent say they trust that the Singapore Government has the best possible 4G leader to navigate divisions within the society; 59 per cent trust he is the best person to navigate Singapore’s dealing with other countries; and 57 per cent believe he is the best person to navigate Singapore’s post-Covid-19 recovery.

Mr Wong also had more support from better educated Singaporeans, said the survey.

Released on Thursday (July 14), the study, conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) think-tank, polled 1,000 people across seven weeks from April to May on their trust in leadership and society here.

This was part of a larger study on lessons learnt from the pandemic and where the country is headed that drew on about 2,000 respondents representative of Singapore’s gender and race. About 500 people were polled about once every fortnight from April 2020 to June 2022, with 51 polls used in the study.

In a segment on “trust in 4G leader”, the researchers noted that the pandemic came at a time when succession plans for Singapore’s 4G leader were on the minds of many Singaporeans.

In April 2022, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that Mr Wong – then Finance Minister and since promoted to also be Deputy Prime Minister – would lead the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) 4G team.

Mr Wong, the researchers noted, has been a prominent 4G figure for some time as the co-chairman of the multi-ministry task force on the pandemic.

“We thus asked respondents, after this announcement was made, whether they trusted that the Singapore Government has the best possible 4G leader,” the researchers said.

Respondents who were higher educated were more likely to trust that DPM Wong was the best possible 4G leader, said authors of the study, Dr Mathew Mathews, Dr Mike Hou and Ms Fiona Phoa of the IPS Social Lab.

Less than half of the respondents with a post-secondary education qualification or lower had high trust that Singapore had the best 4G leader, compared with the nearly 60 per cent among those with a degree or higher.

“Higher educated respondents took the lead in terms of expressing their support and confidence in the 4G leader, the 4G leadership. This was interesting to note because this particular demographic tends to be a bit more sceptical of government policies, based on what we have seen so far,” said Dr Hou at a briefing on the study on Thursday.

“We think that it is in particular because DPM Wong has been quite effective in addressing some of the considerations and concerns of this demographic.”