SINGAPORE: Workers’ Party MP Jamus Lim wrote in a Sunday (Aug 13) Facebook post that he believes the recent outcry over Ridout Road is due to Singaporeans’ housing concerns. Flats have gotten smaller and more expensive, and even people who own their houses are afraid their children may be unable to afford them.
Many Singaporeans have spoken to the WP team about this issue repeatedly, and the issue of accessible and affordable housing was discussed at length in Parliament early this year.
Assoc Prof Lim (Sengkang GRC) wrote that many had flagged the issue, especially concerning the price of HDB flats, and noted that four-fifths of Singaporeans live in public housing.
“Even those who already own their flats fear that their kids won’t be able to afford homes of their own,” he wrote, adding, “In my view, this is the underlying context for why the Ridout Road episode sparked such wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Questions were raised in May of this year over the rentals of 26 and 31 Ridout Road by Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan, respectively, as these are among the most prime residential properties in the area.
Upon the direction of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, an investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) cleared the ministers of any wrongdoing.
Nevertheless, Assoc Prof Lim added that the crux of the matter is that “Singaporeans had been repeatedly told about why HDB costs so much—limited land, high construction costs, and the need to price land according to market principles—versus the perception of how their leaders don’t seem to face such constraints.”
He added that Minister Edwin Tong, who heads the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) with Mr Shanmugam, said that the pricing for the land in question excludes land.
“Fair enough, except that, in contrast, HDB prices fully incorporate the market price of land, backed out from resale prices of comparables,” wrote the WP MP in his post, and added that this has left “many Singaporeans… suspicious, of how there is one market for rich B&W tenants, and another for poor HDB dwellers. But there isn’t! (Or, at least, there shouldn’t be).”
Assoc Prof Lim also wrote that this is only one area where the WP can help improve Singapore’s public housing model, adding that it will release a series of videos to highlight our ideas this week.
Here’s a teaser from the WP TikTok account:
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