SINGAPORE: While acknowledging that the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has been much in the news lately, in reference, of course, to the questions raised about 26 and 31 Ridout Road, Workers’ Party MP Jamus Lim wrote on Tuesday morning (May 30) Facebook post that he was “pleased to learn about a different announcement by the agency.”
Assoc Prof Lim posted a photo of a Straits Times article about how the Government is revising policies around the land for religious groups, which are set to pay less for new leasehold land and lease renewals.
He noted that the land lease sales system for religious organizations will now be shifted to a “balloting system, with winning bidders paying a pre-determined land valuation.”
The Sengkang GRC MP noted that this is an issue that the WP has brought up in Parliament.
“Our Party chair, Sylvia (Lim), first suggested in 2022 that the current system of competitive land bidding could be detrimental to such groups, and in this year’s Committee of Supply debate, both she and I made separate speeches arguing that religious institutions required special consideration to help them focus on their main objective (of serving their local communities).”
He wrote that he was glad the revised system would help religious groups, adding that he had been inspired to take up their cause due to feedback from churches and temples in Sengkang.
Assoc Prof Lim also wrote that there have been those who have said that proposals from opposition figures in Parliament do not affect policy changes “essentially, that the government would have done things that way, anyway.”
And while this is “not entirely implausible,” the WP MP asked, “then why should anyone—whether in parliament, the public service, or even in civil society—bother to raise concerns in policy, then?” a question that he answered.
“We know where the road leads in societies where there is an absence of active debate: toward stagnation, hubris, and dysfunction. It is far better, in my view, to keep agitating for the sort of world we’d like to live in, and that includes ensuring that our representatives champion the sort of policies we’d like to see. #makingyourvotecount” /TISG
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