If you feel that getting a Singapore PR application approval is harder nowadays, you are definitely not alone, and definitely not hallucinating.
You see, in the past, before the years 2008 to 2009, getting one in Singapore was not difficult at all for many people, and it almost felt like you did not need any effort at all whatsoever to get it. This is what some call as the heyday of the ‘open door’ policy, and there was a huge influx of people into Singapore.
Many people got the permanent resident status and bought multiples homes in Singapore as investment properties, or bought holiday houses in Singapore. Most of them never worked or ran a business in the country, and some argue there was zero contribution to the society in general by these people. However, since they bought multiple homes, and so many people got permanent residency in a short period of time, this caused local house prices to shoot up multiple folds, and that is why the prices of houses increased very significantly the periods prior to 2009.
The Singapore government and ICA, sensing unhappiness from the citizens and existing permanent residents due to this rapidly rising cost of living without a respective increase in standard of living, took action by not only introducing property cooling measures which felt relatively useless, but took a firm action against the number of new PR granted yearly to new applicants to curb this rising cost.
Another reason for the amount of PR to be granted to foreigners yearly decreased is because of political reasons as well. There were many new permanent residents who only hired foreigners over locals exclusively at companies, and therefore, while the economy grew in general, few locals benefitted at all. To appease the citizens and assimilated PRs, the ICA and the Singapore government realized that the only fast way to solve this issue was to be stricter on the acceptance of new applications.
Despite these difficulties, many people still apply for it yearly, as the Singapore permanent residency offers lots of benefits to those who hold it.