I refer to the Corporate Communications, Ministry of Finance’s reply Govt more open in sharing data” (Straits Times, Dec 15) to the article S’pore can afford to be more open in sharing data” (Dec 11) by Asit K. Biswas and Kris Hartley.

It states that “As part of our Smart Nation journey, we continue to share data to improve services to citizens, create economic value, and promote research and the co-creation of solutions between government and society.

We will continue to make more data available in ways that are consistent with the need to protect individuals, enterprises and the public interest.”

The reply from the writers of the article, from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy said “For any country to advance, data should be readily available to the public and academics for independent scrutiny and research. In recent years, we have seen perceptible improvements in data availability.

We believe open discussions can only facilitate more and more availability of data that academics need for research. This will enable us to put forward regularly new and innovative policy alternatives for public consideration and discussion. Hopefully, many of these can eventually become government policies”.

Disappearing statistics?

What’s the point of being more transparent when some statistics seem to disappear, when they used to be published in the past? For example,

Applications & success rate statistics disappeared?

The ComCare annual report’s statistics did not give the number of applications for financial assistance and the success rate like in the past – which apparently has disappeared from this year’s report.


What is the breakdown of the costs (construction, land) to build HDB flats?


What is the median gross wage (excluding employer CPF contribution) for all Singaporean workers (full-time and part-time), instead of just “full-time employed residents”?

“Significant” data missing?

What’s the point of being more transparent when there may still be a lacking in transparency on the data which arguably impact Singaporeans’ lives significantly – which many Singaporeans have been asking repeatedly over the years?

For example,


What is the negative real increase in the median basic gross wage of low-wage occupations like cleaners, service and sales workers, security guards, etc, over the last 15 years? – negative over 15 years!

What is the real wage growth for the above, for the median and 20th percentile of workers, for the last 5, 10 years, etc?


What is the breakdown of the “locals” statistics into Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) for total employment, employment change, long-term unemployed, etc?

University students

How many non-Singaporean students are there in the total enrollment of the local universities?


What is the Government Investment Corporation (GIC)’s nominal and real rates of return in S$ for the past 5, 10, 20 years and from inception?

What is the historical weighted average interest rate on all our CPF accounts?

How many Singaporeans (including inactive CPF members) were able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum (currently at $161,000) entirely in cash at age 55, without pledging property?


What is the total sum of subsidies given to public hospitals and community hospitals’ patients, relative to the total sum of the subsidies shown in patients’ bills?

What is the Medifund rejection rates for patients – not number of applications?


How many Singaporean families have ever received financial assistance under ComCare, and how many have ever applied for ComCare?

Why can’t the ComCare annual report disclose the average amount of monthly financial assistance per household?

Reciprocate trust with more transparency?

Since the people have given their trust and mandate – shouldn’t we reciprocate by being more transparent?


Leong Sze Hian

A.S.S. Contributor

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