After a netizen, Ms Serene Ho attributed a remark to Madam Ho Ching, former Temasek CEO and wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mdm Ho Ching then wrote, “It’s fine if you have a different opinion, but it is not honest to put words into someone else’s mouth, ya?”

On Wednesday (Dec 14), Ms Serene Ho wrote, “Ho Ching said that we do not own our HDB flats and we are merely paying rent upfront for long term leases. So why are we paying property taxes for flats we do not own?”

This appears to be in response to Mdm Ho Ching’s Facebook post from Dec 12, wherein she said that buying an HDB flat with lump sum payment is like paying rent without inflation for decades, which also keeps housing costs low.

Since then, there has been an exchange of opinions between Mdm Ho Ching and the netizen, Ms Serene Ho.

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Mdm Ho Ching proceeded to write an analogy about HDB flats as rental schemes, comparing owning such a flat to owning an apple and the number of things a person can do with an apple.

Among other things, the Prime Minister’s wife wrote, “Don’t spin cock and bull about land for HDB should be free so that buyers can enjoy a bigger windfall than they already have. And don’t spin an excuse not to pay taxes. Taxes are a duty for everyone, to fund and support common essential services for the common good. We cannot want low-cost housing on the one hand, and free education, while paying no taxes.”

Ms Serene Ho, on her part, thanked Mdm Ho for commenting on her post and explained, “It certainly was not my intention to put words in your mouth and I apologise if you misconstrued my intention.”

“I was merely trying to point out that your suggestion to regard the flat purchase price as long term upfront rental is too simplistic and misleading. 

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Most cannot afford to cough out this one time upfront payment and will need to pay interest for loans they take. Additionally, the ‘discount’ rent rate they pay will only apply if they retain the flat for the entire tenure of the land.

If they dispose of the flat earlier the ‘rent’ changes depending on how soon the flat was sold off. I wasn’t suggesting that people do not pay their taxes but in true rental situations, there is really no need to pay property taxes, upgrading or maintenance fees,” Ms Serene Ho added. /TISG

Ho Ching: Buying HDB flat with lump sum payment is like paying rent without inflation for decades; keeps housing cost low