Addressing the Sembawang GRC Youth Executive Committee, Khaw rattled off a series of statistics:
- 45,000 HDB rental flats, including one-room ($26/month) and two-room ($275/month)
- 5,000 new rental flats by next year
- 8 months waiting time for a rental flat (21 months in 2008)
- $1,500 montly income ceiling for applicant households
What Khaw did not address was the affordability of new purchase flats, and whether they will still be priced at 30 year repayment levels. The market is already bracing for the price softening impact of the record 25,000 new flats to be built this year. Khaw had simply asked HDB to build "ahead of order", a departure from Mah's instruction to call for construction tender only if orders have been received for at least 70 percent of the units launched.
Even the alternative political parties were treading carefully on this issue at the elections. At stake is the one million existing HDB flat owners, most of whom have been fleeced by the mark-to-market pricing policy. Those who paid $300,000++ for a flat would hate to find out that it's worth only $200,000, the difference being what The Valuer posted to the reserves. Maybe they aren't that greedy, but the truth can only be told if Khaw opens up the HDB books for transparent accounting. Like finally telling us the $8 bill for the heart bypass was closer to $25,000.
Khaw also told the 230 youths who attended the dialogue session that stiff competition posed by foreigners is a reality youths entering the workforce today have to face in a globalised world. The reality is that while foreigners are allowed to displace us from affordable housing units, university places and standing room on trains and buses, the cabinet is immune from the forces of globalisation. Hilary Clinton, or her husband, would more than welcome an opportunity to earn $3.8 million for political office.