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.
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.