News and views from an unique perspective

U.S. journalist Matt Miller praises Singapore’s public housing and CPF model as ‘policy’s wonk paradise’

Posted by temasektimes on May 4, 2012

Singapore may be one of the smallest country in the world, but its stunning achievements have won it admirers worldwide, including an influential journalist from the United States Matt Miller.

In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post on Wednesday, Miller heaped generous praises on Singapore and urged the United States to learn from its public policy achievements.

“But a few days spent talking with officials, businesspeople, students and government critics in the city-state that now boasts one of the world’s highest per capita income have deepened my admiration for Singapore’s accomplishments,” he began before listing several areas which impressed him.

Describing Singapore as a “policy wonk’s paradise”, Miller praised former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s strict enforcement of anti-corruption practices and his foresight in paying top salaries to attract the brightest talents into the government:

“Top students are offered full rides to places such as Oxford, MIT and Stanford, and then “bonded” to do, say, six years of government service thereafter. Twenty years ago this culture was bolstered by the introduction of the world’s highest public-sector salaries, so that government could compete for the best and brightest.”

Miller was also impressed by Singapore’s public transport system consisting of “gorgeous subways, electronic road pricing that is “every wonk’s dream”, and ample parking spaces in the city.”

On the issue of housing, Miller applauded the Singapore government for helping Singaporeans own their own homes, citing that 80 per cent of people live in public housing and almost everyone owns their homes.

The CPF model was lauded for helping “build up financial assets that can be used to assist locals in buying homes, covering medical expenses and preparing for retirement.”

He ended the article with the conclusion that the Singapore government is a ‘pragmatic problem-solver’ which has improved the lives of Singaporeans in comparison to the United States:

“While Americans fight endlessly about “big government” vs. “small government” yet do nothing to meet our biggest challenges, Singapore has ignored ideological claptrap and focused relentlessly on what works… Singapore thus stands as the leading modern example of how government as pragmatic problem-solver can dramatically improve people’s lives.”

Singapore has been governed by a single ruling party since it attained independence in 1965 which has seen it being transformed from a Third World country into an economic powerhouse with one of the highest standards of living in the world in less than three decades.

*Attached pic: New citizens at the National Integration Council who will form a key pillar of Singapore in the future.


19 Responses to “U.S. journalist Matt Miller praises Singapore’s public housing and CPF model as ‘policy’s wonk paradise’”

  1. Jaded said

    utter rubbish and ignorance! which hole did this guy come from?

  2. NSmen said

    When u don’t live in Singapore, u will think that the Country is great. Just like as how we see New York, London, Paris as great cities to live in, but we never get to see the drugs, crimes, poverty that exist in those cites.

  3. said

    another idiot comparing singapore with his own country. Try Prefer Alien Party way of governance and you will have another civil war in the next few generations. Stupid swine. SHUT UP!!!

  4. meow said

    Yes, it’s a real wonder, I don’t blame him for that. ONLY IF YOU EARN $10K A MONTH. not like a typical Singaporean of about $2k or lesser

  5. PuzzlededSingaporean said

    Such unhappy and unappreciative people we have here. NSMen’s comment is especially strange. If Singapore is so bad, just as he thinks New York, London and Paris are so bad, where does he want to live? And Fxxkyoualltwice sounds like a loon. It is so embarrassing to have the world reading such illogical and immature comments from Singaporeans. And Jaded makes no sense too. Utter Rubbish? Which rubbish heap did he/she live under?

    • Jaded said

      enough trolling here and go back to your master. Now that’s a good doggie, woof woof!

    • NSmen said

      Where in my comment did I say Singapore is bad?? Do u have problem reading and understanding English? What I’m saying is, don’t come stay in a Country for a few days and then start to pass judgment based on what u’ve experienced for a few days. It seems like for u, as long as u don’t agree with a comment, it means that comment makes no sense. Guess u are the ‘smart’ one here. No wonder u are puzzled.

    • SingaPOORean said

      please please please, if you don’t like any of the comments, DON’T READ IT! LEAVE. There is a header “News and views from a unique perspective” on the top, people from all kinds of background comments differently, and I personally like to view what people comment on issues about Singapore, the comments sometime might not be constructive but the person that make the comment can be your own relative or friend. So keep your shit to your self PuzzlededSingaporean .I..

    • Ken Lee said


    • Skiesx said

      These comments aren’t illogical or immature. Miller’s view of Singapore only comes from a few days of talks with several officials, students etc. so I don’t blame him for thinking of our country as na influential model for others to follow. People on the outside gauge our progress mainly from statistics and speeches given by key leaders, but that fails to sum up the true essence of Singapore. Walk in the shoes of our citizens that aren’t as well off and I assure you, your views will change.
      Oh, and just another point. I don’t find NSMen’s comment strange at all, I actually agree with him. If you ask me the same question of where I want to live, the answer’s simple. I don’t want to move anywhere else. I’d like to stay in Singapore, my home, but I do want to see changes that will prevent our society from deteriorating any further than it is now. So PuzzlededSingaporean (do you even have spellcheck on your computer?), don’t make comments blindly on other people’s remarks unless you have a strong opinion or reasoning you can support it with.

      • PuzzledSingaporean said


        My spellcheck is apparently as banged-up as yours. 🙂

        I do not see the threat coming from without Singapore. I see a greater threat coming from within disgruntled Singaporeans with an inflated sense of entitlement and superiority complex vis a vis the China nationals. Singapore is not a natural nation state, and requires constant work. We do not have a hinterland to retreat to, neither do we have strategic depth.

        We simply cannot afford the self-indulgent xenophobia that seems to be arising, out of a manufactured sense of despair that solidifies into faux truth.

    • PuzzledSingaporean said


      Strange that you welcome dissenting views when it suits you, and tell other dissenters to “keep your shit to your self”.

  6. lol said

    Don’t praise kena sue one…

  7. Jenny said

    Those new citizens and FTs will cause the downfall of Singapore.

  8. A said

    I am surprised to see the following statement:

    “A big chunk of the downtown bay area is now a reservoir via a feat of engineering I don’t pretend to understand but which experts tell me is remarkable. ”

    He must be talking about ponding.

  9. PuzzledSingaporean said

    Actually, it seems like disgruntled habitual grumblers are no better than FTs and new citizens, yet they have a sense of entitlement blown out of proportion.

  10. partial comment is dangerous, top talents will not do it said

    – If it is true, why not USA government follow the same policy in Singapore?
    When comparing nation to nation, compare the “whole system” “whole nation other than just one or two area. He is definitely not a “Top talent” in USA.

    Top talent Americans will not just praise for one area and not looking into the total area of a nation.

  11. self fish intention said

    he is coming here to win Singapore government heart to keep him here and praise Singapore- may be selfish intention

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