20140403 Parliament should not allow half-past-six answers

Below is my analysis of Khaw Boon Wan’s answers in response to Gerald Giam’s questions. link The redundancies in Khaw’s answers are obvious and he also prefers to answer without sequence. Or even not answer.

Value of HDB flats on 99-year leases and flats undergoing redevelopment under the SERS programme

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Minister for National Development

(a) how many HDB blocks are more than 40 years into their 99-year lease;

(b) what will be the value of an HDB flat once it reaches the end of its 99-year lease;

(c) what is the average number of flats undergoing redevelopment under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) each year for the past 10 years; and

(d) whether the pace of SERS is fast enough to redevelop all HDB blocks before they reach the end of their lease.

Mr Khaw Boon Wan:

The Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) is part of the Government’s estate renewal strategy for older estates. It allows intensification of land use and revitalises such estates through new developments. At the same time, it offers an opportunity for flat owners to buy a new replacement flat with a fresh 99 year lease. (parliament is for serious debate and not the right place to market SERS)

(c) In the last 10 years, SERS has benefitted the owners of about 18,000 flats. As the name suggests, the identification of suitable precincts for SERS is selective. The selection of sites and pace of SERS will depend on factors such as their redevelopment potential, and the availability of replacement sites for rehousing and other resources. (don’t understand why Khaw could not answer question (a) first)

(a) Currently, there are about 300 HDB blocks with 31,000 flats which are more than 40 years into their 99-year flat leases.

(b) Like all leasehold properties, HDB flats will revert to HDB, the landowner, upon expiry of their leases. HDB will in turn surrender the land to the State (Khaw too shy to be straightforward and tell us its value is ZERO)

(I believe that if questions are answered in the wrong sequence during an examination, the student will be penalised. We have also been repeatedly told to be concise and avoid redundancy.)

So what happened to unanswered question (d)? Is this a first world parliament or farce world parliament?

Gerald should have stood up and questioned Khaw: “Hello, you don’t understand my question ‘d’ or what?”

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