Housing policy ‘the worst’: survey

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Issue 1166, Page 4
Word count: 562
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Macau residents give the SAR Government’s overall performance a barely passing mark, with the housing policy scoring the lowest satisfaction level, according to a recent survey conducted by the Macau Polling Research Association (MPRA).

The Happiness Index survey, commissioned in October by Sin Meng Charity Association, revealed the happiness level of 1,512 Macau residents and how satisfied they were with the Government’s livelihood and political initiatives.

The results, which were announced in a press conference at the association’s premises yesterday, showed that Macau’s overall happiness index was 72 on a 0 to 100 scale.

According to president of the MPRA Angus Cheong, family relationships, personal health conditions, career development, interpersonal relationships as well as household and personal income were the main factors that influenced the subjective happiness level of the respondents.

Chairperson of Sin Meng Charity Association and directly elected lawmaker, Melinda Chan Mei Yi, said the score of 72 was “fair”, but admitted that there is room to improve.

“I hope the Government can make use of these findings and enhance its policies accordingly. If they can do so I believe local people’s happiness level must reach a higher level next time when the survey is conducted again,” she told reporters.

Meanwhile, the Macau Government’s overall performance was rated at 63, which Chan described was just “slightly above” the passing mark of 60.

Among the seven policies that the respondents were asked to rate, housing earned the lowest score of 49, followed by youth affairs (58), employment (60), healthcare (65), economic development (67), elderly welfare (70) and education (71).

Chan said she believed that the 15-year free education policy was the reason behind the high satisfaction level of education policy, but at the same time the ratings have implied that the existing education policy is unable to tackle youth problems and help the youths grow in a “healthy environment”.

Looking at the “post-80s” generation segment particularly, the respondents – aged from 21 to 30 years old – gave only 59 points to the Government performance and 46 points to the housing policy – again the lowest score on the list.

Angus Cheong said the respondents who were born between 1980 and 1989 showed the lowest happiness level at 69.4, while those aged 60 or above appeared to be the happiest group having scored 78.6.

According to Melinda Chan, the current housing policy has failed to catch up with the economic development and demographic changes in Macau.

Although the number of people earning MOP 10,000 to MOP 15,000 monthly accounts for a significant proportion of the Macau population, Chan pointed out that they cannot benefit from the public housing policy at all as their income has exceeded the MOP 6,000 cap imposed on social housing applications.

“Currently too few people can benefit from the public housing policy,” she said. “The Government needs to set a clear position and long-term planning for public housing. The 19,000 public housing units are only a short-term measure.”

Furthermore, the survey has found that 43 percent of the “post-80s” respondents would choose to “hide away”, “shop”, “sleep” or “do nothing” when they were unhappy.

About 23 percent of them said they would talk to others mainly friends, but another 23 percent of them said they would not talk to anyone when they were upset.

Yet, engaging in voluntary work, the findings suggest, may increase the happiness level of an individual.

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