Even his pledge that prices of new flats "will become almost 30 percent cheaper" cannot be taken at face value. You have to literally pin him down on what dictionary he uses for his loose language. And hell will have to freeze over before he reveals the actual costs of construction and the obscene profits churned every year.
Apparently there was a ruling 4 decades ago that flats can only be sold back to the HDB. A sensible directive no doubt aimed at cutting out the speculative element in public housing. So why does the Minister not exercise the moral courage to restore the original objectives of the pioneers like Lim Kim San, whose simple charter was to provide a roof over one's head?
It is revealing that Khaw plans to price the "cheaper" flats at 4 times annual salary instead of cost plus overheads, or less "subsidy" if you still believe that word is real. That's like the greater fool theory of the stock market, always targeting another fool to pay a higher price. Going back to the fundamentals was never in the equation.
Khaw's quibble is that some 800,000 owners are collecting rent from their units instead of living in them. "They will suffer if there is a collapse in the rental market," that's what he said. Suddenly, his attention has shifted from those in dire need of basic shelter, to those who are capitalising on "subsidised" public housing to play the real estate market. Suddenly, he has veered from the needs and wants of genuine home owners to the speculative lot who pick up choice properties to flip for a quick profit. And he actually admits he purposely avoids meeting new demands to protect those making money from rentals: "If I keep on meeting new demand, I am actually hurting the many home owners who now rent out their own properties." BTW, where do these guys stay if their houses are rented out?
Khaw tried to justify his soft play of several rounds of property cooling measures instead of just one bold move to bring the price down 30 percent or 20 percent. His cautiousness is hard to understand, given that three tight slaps have been roundly delivered at GE 2011, Hougang by-election and Punggol-East.