SINGAPORE — The Leader of the Opposition asked Parliament this week to consider whether the “current anxieties” of Singaporeans make it necessary for the government to exert greater efforts to review its commitment to affordable and accessible public housing.
Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh said in a speech on Tuesday (Feb 7) that support for the motion on Affordable and Accessible Public Housing drafted by Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, “would mean that Singaporeans are satisfied with waiting four to five years for an HDB BTO flat,” as well as accepting the steep increase in the price of BTO flats, including a five-room BTO (Built to Order) at Ang Mo Kio that sold for $877,000.
It also means that the young couples and families in Singapore who need to wait for a BTO flat and turn to the resale market where prices are also increasing “are not seeking better outcomes from public housing policies.”
Mr Singh underlined, however, that based on engagement from Singaporeans, this is not how people feel, adding that “it would be thoroughly underwhelming and missing the point for this house to carry a motion which endorses the commitment of the government’s efforts on affordability and accessibility thus far.”
He added that the motion from Mr Lee, which can be viewed here, does not “sufficiently take into account the reality that the government should endeavour to make HDB BTO flats more affordable and accessible than they currently are.”
The WP, therefore, proposed a single amendment to the motion drafted by Mr Lee to say that instead of endorsing the government’s commitment to keeping public housing affordable and accessible, it should say that Parliament “calls on the Government to intensify its efforts to meet these twin goals.”
Mr Singh added that “amending the motion to call on the Government to intensify its efforts to make HDB flats more affordable and accessible would be consistent with the reasonable expectations that Singaporeans have for public housing today.”
Mr Singh’s speech may be viewed in full here. /TISG
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