Friday, March 4, 2011

It's All Done With Mirrors

The 2011 budget for National Development was increased by a mere 3.9% over last year's, barely enough to cover inflation. Yet Minister Mah Bow Tan can pull out Special Housing Grants of up to $20,000 just like that, like a rabbit from a magician's hat.

The SHG, available for household earning up to $2,250 a month ranges between $5,000 and $20,000, is supposed to benefit 3,500 households.

We are told Mr Rosli, with monthly income of $1,000 to feed self, wife and 2 kids, has been paying rent of $110 for the past 15 years. By his calculations, he doesn't have $300 in cash each month to service a loan for a 3-room Build-To-Order (BTO) flat in 2008. With the SHG and another $40,000 under the Additional Housing Grant, Mah says he can buy a smaller 2 room flat - asking price $100,000 - with a $40,000 loan. The 4 of them will just have to pile into one bedroom. We don't know how old Rosli is, but he will be easily staring at a 20 year loan commitment. Which means, years down the road, he will be another of those statistic who can't afford to retire since there will be zilch in the CPF account.

And why is a 2-room flat - with typical floor area of about 40 sq m - costing $100,000 in the first place? If the government can dispense with a "discount" for $60,000, was the "list price" realistic in the first place? Even astute shoppers stop and think when a $1,000 watch is "marked down" to $400. When, not if, the bubble bursts, it looks like it will be a gory bloodbath.

Notice also that only 3,500 will be entitled to the Government's generosity. One guesses the rest is supposed to get out of their elite, uncaring face.


  1. Wonder Woman3/04/2011 11:25 AM

    Would they have given these grants in a non election year?

    I wonder what drives the party in power: serving the needs of the lower 30% of the population or the fear of losing power to other parties?

  2. Mah said older flats were different (cheaper) from those on offer today: "Lifts at every floor, sheltered linkways, MRt - these were not there in the past." Hello, MRT infrastructure is charged to HDB owners? No wonder the prices are still unaffordable!

  3. How MBT and WKS can still be ministers is beyond me. One is responsible for the public housing bubble we are in now. There is a lot of difference between private and public housing bubble. The other is just collecting pay and not doing much.

  4. ST tweet is asking Singaporeans if HDB could have anticipated the demand. what do we think?!! Sounds like a justification job for MBT .

  5. See how with the stroke of the pen, they can just change regulations like that as if so many Singaporeans suddenly became poor citizens overnight and they have to come up with a solution fast enough to beat the election day announcement. Otherwise they will lose many voters in this way and it would be of no use to save the money if they can't form the next govt.

    So MBT is in fact giving himself a tight slap in his own face for insisting all along that HDB flats has always been affordable. If affordable, why the grants now ? That means the PAP govt knew it was unaffordable but had to bluff their way through. It is no good to be lied to, you know.

    Now the next question is where does the money for the new grants come from ? Maybe some smart-arse Minister must have done his own calculations that the profit from the higher quality executive flats & DBSS schemes are more than enough to pay for them for eg. those buyers of Duxton flats will be cross-subsidizing their poorer cousins ? Afterall they will still gain from the appreciation of their overprices apartments !

  6. hmmmm....seems a number of wooden MIW pinocchio wanna-bes noses are getting longer and longer until it is just too darn obvious to all and sundry that hey we have a bunch of real low-life living liars standing and prancing out there in the open without any conscience or morals all naked to the whole wide world out there.


    If not that...

    Than Karma will balance it all in spades in the end.