After being told that a majority of 52% of Singaporeans do not support a cashless society, Senior Minister of State for propaganda Janil Puthucheary said that the government Reach survey asked the wrong questions:
“The question wasn’t correctly framed. The issue is not about a push for cashless … what we’re pushing for is an integrated, increasingly convenient, secure e-payments process. In Singapore, there is already a very large proportion of e-payments options, such as credit cards, NETS, ez-link cards and PayNow. The question is how we can make the e-payments ecosystem more convenient and more seamless and interact better. This is not something that can be solved overnight.”
The Minister who is an ex-Malaysian new citizen and never served a day of National Service also rebutted critics that elderly are unaccustomed to the use of cashless payment. Minister Janil Puthucheary claimed that every elderly he met told him they are “ok” with cashless payment:
“I think they should speak to a few more elderly people first, certainly the elderly in my constituency (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC). When I explain to them: ‘Auntie, are you OK using NETS? Are you OK with a credit card? Are you OK with ez-link? Would you prefer if your NETS, credit card and ez-link were in one device?’ They all said: ‘Yes’. So, it’s a question of how you phrase it, how you explain it and how you empower the elderly.”
Most Singaporeans are against cashless payments in Singapore because of the inconvenience and unreliability of current e-payment systems. The elderly and the poor who have no bank card are the hardest hit as they have to pay more for food prices in the new hawker centres which charge a higher rate when paying through cash.
Regardless of the inconvenience, dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued his directive during this year’s National Day Rally saying that he wants to emulate China.