Housing (the shortage of at affordable prices):
- Should public housing be available to every Singaporean, regardless of financial circumstances? If not, what should the threshold for eligibility be?
- How should affordability be defined? MND uses the international benchmark of not spending more than 30% of salary to service your mortgage. If not that, then what? Currently, over 80% of HDB owners service their mortgages entirely from their CPF – in other words, no monthly cash outlay. Is that a good measure of affordability?
- Or is Government's role to ensure that everyone has a roof over their heads, whether owned or rented? If that is the KPI, it must follow that it is Government's responsibility to provide housing even for those who cannot live in their current homes because of conflicts with family members, or who cash out by selling their flats. These are two most common reasons given by my constituents who ask for rental flats. Should subsidised housing be provided to them on demand? If the answer is no, some will end up sleeping in public places. Do we accept that?
Transport (the government’s role to provide an efficient, affordable and extensive public transport and road network):
- Is it also Government’s role to make cars affordable to meet the aspirations of those who want to own one?
- If it is not, should it be concerned about the price of COEs for private cars or leave it to the market?
- If Government must keep COE prices low, what is “low”? And how should it determine who gets a COE?
- If Government should do away with COEs, how should it ensure smooth flowing traffic?
The simple response to this practising lawyer's line of questioning is a no-brainer: What the fish do you think we pay taxes for?
He was right on one point: "Unless we get into specifics, we will not get anywhere". That's why it is so irrritating each time the prime minister says, "My minister will provide the details" - that's when they start working on the housing options for singles. The current crop of clowns don't seem to think through the issues before initiating the implementation of policies. Even Teo Chee Hean admitted as much when he said the Government recognises that population growth in recent years has outpaced the country's planned infrastructure capacity. So which fool let in the barbarian hordes without considering the havoc wreaked on housing and transportation? Probably all the fools - MND, LTA, HDB, SMRT - who pay themselves obscene salaries on account of their dubious claim on talent. Feel free to add to the list MINDEF (killing our young men with smoke grenades), MOH (mixing up babies with their natural mothers), MOE (denying PLSE top scorers their well earned recognition), etc, etc.
And when they run out of excuses, they rope in "experts" to put a spin on their debacles. Like the two nutty professors who, when they realised that OECD (2012) reports that the gross IRR for Singapore is only 13% for a working career of 40 years and 9.3% for a shorter career of 30 years, they resorted to inventing "Imputed Rent" to paint a rosier picture. In plain English that means, after paying the last installment of a 30-35 year loan, one has to move out of the house to generate a stream of rental income to supplement the CPF LIFE payouts. Or die starving in the pigeon hole in the sky.