20130408 PAP reluctant/unable to resolve real issues

From: phillip ang
Sent: Monday, April 08, 2013 3:27 PM
To: THEREALSINGAPORE ; <a title=”theonlinecitizen ; TRE ; <a title=”jayakumar89 ; jjauto ; ken_dxb ; lchertan ; STANLEY
Subject: 20130408 PAP reluctant/unable to resolve real issues

PAP reluctant/unable to resolve real issues

Background

The current issues faced by Singapore can be said to have been single-handedly created by the PAP. It claims the moral high ground, trumpets to the world on the achievements of Singapore while an increasing number of Singaporeans are suffering, monopolises state resources and never listens to the people.

1 The fundamental problem of stratospheric property prices has yet to be addressed. What MND minister Khaw Boon Wan is attempting to correct is an epic mistake by his predecessor, Mah Bow Tan. The shortage of housing is so severe that property prices have gone up instead of correcting in a meaningful way despite drastic measures taken by the government.

Between 1991 to 2000, 267,000 flats were built but only 84,000 flats in the subsequent decade. With a net average of slightly less than 20,000 marriages annually (less divorces and annulments), the number of residential units could not even meet the demands of newly weds. During the last decade, the population also increased by 1.05 million. As if planning was not haphazard enough, foreigners were able to buy HDB flats, paying tens of thousands or sometimes 6-figure COV. Singaporeans got screwed big time by our own government.

2 High property prices = high rent= high prices of goods=high cost of living. A reversal translates into lower costs for everyone as well as businesses. Because the government owns almost all land in Singapore (indirectly through companies), lower property prices would translate into lower income ie. rental, GST, stamp duties etc. The knock-on effects on GDP means a loss of face for the ruling elite as GDP has been used to justify the highest paid civil service in our solar system. To a profit-oriented government like ours, its preference for high property prices over peoples’ welfare cannot be more obvious.

3 The PAP has resorted to populist policies by lowering the cost of new HDB flats, although this belatedly benefits only a segment of Singaporeans. This is a piecemeal measure, disingenuous because it does not address the root cause which is high property prices.

4 One should be very doubtful when Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament that the Government is committed to “restoring and maintaining” the affordability of flats for first-time home buyers”. Restoring must mean selling HDB flats with the same tenure as in the past ie 99 year leasehold and this will probably not be the case. The government might as well increase the car loan tenure to 35 years to make the case for the affordability of every Singaporean to own a car.

5 Lowering the tenure of HDB flats will create a new set of problems as banks are reluctant to offer loans to properties with less than 60 years on its leases. The government should not resolve a problem with the creation of another. A recent example is the overnight lowering of the quantum and tenure for car loans only to make an abrupt, temporary U-turn one month later. It has again done according to its perception, no consultation needed.

6 As it is, construction activities are currently at breakneck speed. Road conditions are terrible and bottlenecks have yet to be addressed by the LTA. Some will never be because the sudden population expansion had not even been anticipated. With about 40,000 residential units being constructed annually right till 2016, one should expect a worsening quality of life. This is again the result of not getting to the root cause of our issues.

7 It would be wishful thinking to expect an improved situation after 2016 because the PAP has shown to be short term planners, taking lots of short cuts to create an illusion of growth and progress ie. building casinos, increasing GDP by massive population increase, importing new citizens (a world record) etc.

8 All said, the PAP will not be able to resolve current issues because these have been compounded for years. It has also not shown a willingness to tackle root causes of problems and has continuously kicked the can down the road. Building the equivalent of 4 Ang Mo Kio towns in 4 years is akin to playing SIM City. In 2016, what can be expected are more issues.

9 The problems faced by Singaporeans were created by our leaders, the same people who are currently fighting the fire they started. The PAP has a choice between addressing the root cause of issues ie high property prices and implementing populist policies. The Population White Paper has confirmed it intends to kick the can down the road.

Phillip Ang

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