Monday, May 30, 2011

Solving The Housing Problem

If Mah Bow Tan knew it was so easy to solve the housing problems, he would have preached the same message Khaw Boon Wan delivered to avoid the ignominious spectacle of being booted out by the electorate. Build 25,000 instead of 22,000 new HDB flats, provide 45,000 rental flats for those who can't afford to pay the outlandish prices.

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
Most of the data were already made public in Parliament in January this year, and Mah had further announced the shortened waiting time during the Budget Debate that followed two months later. Somehow it sounded sweeter this time on the target audience. For Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah, who must have been sleeping earlier when Mah was in charge, "welcomed" Khaw's comments, saying, "I'm glad to hear that he is going to ramp up the numbers."

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.


  1. Haha.....

    not that i am cynical.

    having Khaw Boon Wan replaced Mah Bow Tan is akin to replace the wood burning crematorium with a gas fired one. Mah gave a slow cook but Khaw will make it an efficient, faster and cleaner job. If he suggested putting the unproductive old folks to Johore or any other cheaper places to live out the balances of their live(life), one immediately knows how efficient BUT RUTHLESS this man can be, there is hardly any conscience in his heart. He needs to go for a heart change, repair(bypass) is never good enough.

    The housing and living cost problems of Singaporeans can be easily solve by going back to the fundamentals of the 80s and earlier. Cost of everything has been driven up by policies implemented in the last one and a half decades or so simply because the Regime insists on rewarding so called talents and the businesses(local and foreign) without the slightest consideration forthe public in general.

    The Regime was so intended in creating an elite community within their members(cronies) and supporters(adulators) it resulted in them ignoring the majority of the populace. This CAUSED and is causing the widening income disparity. However, due to the lack of conscience in the Leadership, It persists in Its Policies and have yet to want to REPENT. Shall i say, it is as adamant as ever and only uses Panadol on the people when they suffer pains and fevers. The Leaders are not interested to know the sufferings of the people, but only want to consolidate their holds on power so that that Elite Class gets stronger.

    Unless and until the Rulers bring themselves down to empathize with the people, work for the betterments of the people and for themselves, there shall be no improvement by just changing minister from one ministry to another.

    To sum it up, Minister Khaw was not faring better than Mah Bow Tan before the Election, can we expect him to be better simply because he was changed to another ministry? Will the leopard changes its' spot just because it has been moved to another place? The Answer is obvious.

  2. KBW will still not be able to answer for MBT on the "ballooning land costs" charged to HDB flats sale prices...

    Read #1 :- Minister Mah had not address Profits for BTO Flats and the "Ballooning" Land Costs

    Read #2:-An illegal raid on the reserves? Mr Mah Should Explain About Ballooning Land Costs

  3. We could improve the affordability of owning a HDB flat without crashing the prices of existing HDB flats by:

    1) With immediate effect, cut the prices for all new HDB flats by 5% and:

    rebate 4% to those who had purchased their flats within 1 year
    rebate 3% to those who had purchased their flats within 2 years
    rebate 2% to those who had purchased their flats within 3 years
    rebate 1% to those who had purchased their flats within 4 years

    2) for the next 5 years (2011 to 2016)
    peg the increase of prices for new HDB flats at 3% lower than the increase of the national median income.

    For example : if the increase of median income is 5% for that year then the increase of prices for new HDB flats should be 2% for that year. If the increase of national median income is 2% for that year then the prices for new HDB flats should be decreased by 1% for that year.

    With 1) & 2), we can achieve the effect of a 20% “reduction” to the prices for new HDB flats within 5 years without crashing the prices for existing HDB flats.

    For the longer term, the increase in prices for the new HBD flats should be pegged to the increase in national median income.

  4. It is always so easy to simply say "Let's do this" or "Let's do that". Cheap talk.

  5. When MBT came into politics, he was beaten hands down by Chiam See Tong in Potong Pasir in 1984. Yet they still wanted him, thinking he was a scholar. So, come 1988, he joined a GRC and won and became a minister! Yet, since then, what has he contributed? The same cannot be said about George Yeo. Look at what he did to the Railway problem. For the last twenty years, it was left hanging in the balance when the then Malaysian government refused to budge. Likewise, through Goh Chok Tong, we managed to secure a FTA with the USA! These are remarkable achievements. But what has MBT done? Even Yeo Ning Hong started the CoE system for our cars.