Fernvale residents have taught Singaporeans an important lesson – PAP has no control over an undivided active citizenry. Not surprisingly, it has also revealed our civil service has been working on the basis of flawed assumptions, expecting citizens to quietly pay the price. But times have changed.
MND Minister Khaw Boon Wan recently revealed in Parliament that an important decision affecting thousands of Fernvale flat buyers was made on an “assumption (is) that only companies affiliated to religious organisations would participate in such tenders”. PAP is not bothered one bit because they are not affected by public housing policies.
Now that our top civil servants have been caught sleeping on the job, as usual, the PAP has refused to hold anyone accountable. At least we now know, from the horse’s mouth, that our government does not conduct due diligence – it assumes.
For decades, the PAP has been making lots of flawed assumptions in our public housing policy which have affected a large segment of the population – singles, divorcees and single parents. PAP’s housing policy has discriminated against them under the pretext of maximising state land usage/land is in short supply in Singapore.
This group of citizens should emulate Fernvale residents if they want to put an end to PAP’s discriminatory housing policy. Our land does not belong to PAP but all citizens.
Is land really so scarce that Singaporeans have to wait for more than a year to rent a unit from the government? According to SMOS for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan, the PAP has been taking care of “foreign talents” since 1997 under JTC’s SHIFT. Lee said the scheme was to “address the lack of affordable housing for foreign talents” by reserving 4,000 public housing units under SHIFT. Why did PAP force 4,000 families to wait much longer then needed while 4,000 units were reserved, sometimes empty, for foreigners? What assumptions did PAP make to deprive citizens of a necessity?
PAP prioritises foreigners over citizens in housing
The government profits from renting out public flats financed by CPF in the past but has refused to address urgent housing needs of citizens.
JTC recently stated there are no more public housing units for rental. But the PAP has refused to disclose the number of HDB flats owned by JTC. Is the PAP preparing for SHIFT 2 after the next election?
What assumptions did PAP make to justify creating hardship for Singaporeans while providing affordable housing for foreigners?
Singles should not have been restricted to apply for a new (smaller) flat only at 35 for the simple reason that they are also paying taxes. So long as one contributes to the state coffers, there must not be any discrimination. In the long run, buying a home will cost less then renting one. Singles have paid a very high price – lost capital appreciation the last few decades. The government cannot force working adults to live with their families, many under trying circumstances. Singles who have been forced to rent in the open market have been shortchanged by our housing policy ie with land controlled by PAP, there is effectively no affordable rental and most citizens will ultimately need to beg PAP for assistance.
Divorces in Singapore number more than 7,000 every year and 80% of citizens live in public housing. Assuming one party gets to keep the flat after a divorce, this leaves one divorcee ‘homeless’. Instead of acknowledging policy errors, Minister Khaw pats himself on the back after reducing the waiting time for flat application from 5 years to 3 years. Including an average 3 year waiting period for a BTO flat, it could be at least 6 years before a divorcee moves into a new home. When Minister Khaw said “This will help them move on with their lives”, I guess he must have assumed their lives and housing need starts only after 6 years.
If there is really insufficient public housing, why did the PAP allow 49,190 HDB flats to be owned by PRs,? Why did PAP allow 2,142 flats to be rented out by PRs to generate an income?
The PAP has also intentionally overlooked the plight of single parents, especially mothers. (Feedback to PM Lee by Caroyln Teo) The PAP will never address this issue because this group is not sufficiently large to wake the slumbering PAP at the election. Perhaps the PAP has again wrongly assumed single parents have a choice and therefore need to pay the price for choosing to be single parents.
What ordinary citizens can clearly see is the PAP has been making lots of wrong assumptions in policymaking which have adversely affected hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans. Instead of waiting for the PAP leopard to change its spots, give the PAP a different kind of BTO – boot them out.
Singles, divorcees and single parents need to learn from fellow citizens living in Fernvale – send a clear message at the ballot box and do not continue to be pushovers. By correcting PAP’s flawed housing policy today, future generations will not suffer the same fate.