Singapore faces growing pains as setbacks pile up

(Reuters, 4 Feb) – Senior officials arrested in a corruption investigation. Subway commuters trapped underground without light or proper ventilation. Flooded roads in the financial district.
It may sound like Indonesia or perhaps the Philippines, but this is Singapore — the wealthy island state that has long been the envy of those neighbours for its ruthless efficiency, clean government and high standard of living.
The city-state remains a relative paragon of good governance but a succession of embarrassing setbacks is damaging its reputation and heaping pressure on the long-ruling government as it faces an unprecedented erosion of public support.
The problems highlight a growing gap between Singaporeans’ expectations of their government and the administration’s ability to deliver as it grapples with an influx of foreigners, a yawning wealth gap and strained infrastructure.
Those are all problems of success, but they have fuelled perceptions that the government is out of touch with Singaporeans’ concerns at a time when public debate is flowering as never before in the tightly controlled state.
That became starkly clear in elections last year when voters handed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s People’s Action Party (PAP) its lowest ever share of the popular vote.
“There is an unleashing of frustration and everything is becoming a focal point of the frustration,” said Bridget Welsh, an associate professor of political science at the Singapore Management University.
“A lot of people in Singapore feel that they have to speak out to make Singapore brighter. This is actually something Singapore needs to go through to become stronger.”
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Rest of the article from Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/05/us-singapore-politics-idUSTRE81402L20120205

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