In a Forum letter to the Straits Times on May 21, one Tang Li wrote that dormitory operators should “face the music themselves”.
Agreeing with another forum letter writer, Tang Li questioned why taxpayers should foot the bill to clear up a mess “the dormitory operators have profited from”.
“We have argued that our system works because it does not mollycoddle people amid the realities of the free market.
Our social assistance programmes are based on “helping people to help themselves””, he added.
Tang Li then questioned why a society that takes pride in not sheltering people from the realities of the free market system should find it acceptable to shelter large corporations from the same.
He added that the dormitory operators are not innovative start-ups coming up with market-disrupting products that will shape the future.
“They are not enterprises that hire many Singaporeans in high-paying jobs”, he wrote.
Citing Centurion Corporation, which manages the Westlite dorms, Tang Li wrote, “They make vast profits – Centurion Corp, for example, made $103.8 million on revenue of $133 million for the 12 months ended Dec 31 last year – merely by maximising the number of people in a certain space”.
“If our system allows them to earn profits in this manner, should we not also allow them to bear the cost when the system requires them to adapt their businesses to new realities?” Tang Li asked.
His sentiments were also shared by the Progress Singapore Party (PSP)’s Vice-Chairman Hazel Poa.
Ms Poa opined that taxpayers “are footing the bill for the Covid infections due to the poor conditions in the dormitories”.
She added that she felt this was “astounding and not right”.
“Where is the accountability?” Ms Poa wrote. /TISG