Responding to Workers’ Party MP Pritam Singh’s questions on the flexibility HDB exercises in resale transactions on the ethnic limits under the Ethnic Integration Policy, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong replied that HDB makes very few exceptions to the rule.
In a written reply to the Parliamentary Question, Mr Wong said:
“Between 2013 and 2015, HDB received about 1,200 appeals for a waiver of the Ethnic Integration Policy. Four in five appeals were not successful. For most of these unsuccessful cases, the applicants did not cite any reasons for their appeals, hence there was no basis to consider their requests. Several also cited reasons like financial difficulty or divorce. While we empathise with these cases, they do not provide sufficient grounds to justify the waiver of the ethnic limits, which are needed to ensure a good mix of residents in our neighbourhoods and public housing estates. Furthermore, HDB’s observation is that many flat sellers are still able to secure buyers from eligible ethnic groups given the large volume of resale transactions annually.”
The Government has not changed this position since at least 2011. When ex-Nominated MP Viswa Sadasivan raised similar questions previously, former Parliamentary Secretary for National Development Mohamad Maliki Osman said, “sellers who are affected by the EIP limits should have no problem finding buyers from the eligible ethnic groups as long as they are realistic in setting their asking price… There are sellers who are affected by EIP restrictions, who are able to sell at…even $30,000 above market valuation.”
The Singapore Democratic Party saying EIP restricts where ethic minorities may live which negatively affects the re-sale prices of their HDB flats, has called for the abolishment of the Ethnic Integration Programme (EIP).