Friday 10 February 2012

Singapore Government most trusted: Edelman Trust Barometer survey

by Amir Hussain, TODAY, 8 Feb 2012

The Government registered the highest amount of trust than the media, businesses and non-governmental organisations, according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer survey of 1,000 citizens.

Some 73 per cent of Singaporeans polled between October and November last year said they trusted the Government, compared with the global average of 43 per cent.

Amid declining trust levels globally, Singapore's steady scores across its key institutions saw it ranked third among 25 countries ,behind China and the United Arab Emirates.

Singapore was ranked seventh in the previous survey.

Edelman president and chief executive officer (Asia Pacific) David Brain suggested that the continued high trust in the Singapore Government "to do what is right" has a direct correlation to public perception of government performance. 

"Even though Singaporeans may not be happy with the Government at times and on specific issues, there is an overall trust in the Government to get them through tough times," he said.

The Singaporeans polled were also the most trusting globally of government leaders to tell the truth. Some 15 per cent said they do not trust Government leaders here to tell the truth, compared with the Asia Pacific average of 35 per cent and a global average of 46 per cent.

In terms of confidence in the future, three in four respondents agreed that "things in your country are going in the right direction" compared with 35 per cent in the European Union and 24 per cent in the United States.

Edelman's findings also showed an overall steady trust level in Singapore's media. While trust in newspapers increased from 35 to 48 per cent, trust in social networking sites doubled to 18 per cent. But they also appeared sceptical: seven in 10 respondents needed to hear information three to five times in order to believe it to be true.

Singapore ranked fifth in its steady trust level in business, amid drops in business trust in several mature economies. But the gap between public expectations of business and its performance in Singapore is amongst the widest in Asia.

Industry-wise, technology ranked as the most trusted, followed by food and beverage and telecommunications. Despite being more trusted than the previous year, financial services ranked last.

CEO credibility fell behind "a person like me", which trailed only academics and technical experts, while financial/industry analysts fell to the bottom of the credible spokespeople list.Moving ahead, Mr Brain suggested that "CEOs have to recognise that they are accountable" in rebuilding credibility. 

Edelman Southeast Asia managing director Bob Grove said: "In Singapore, there has been an obsession in business to drive operational success and efficiency." But he added that future business success would be "underpinned by the marriage of operational success, societal interest and customer engagement".

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