In Parliament last week, NCMP Gerald Giam asked whether the Government was concerned about the recent record price of $31 million paid for a coffee shop which followed the $23.8 million transaction in 2013.
Perhaps Minister Khaw was too preoccupied with trying to fix AHPETC that he wasn’t aware he gave a non reply. According to Khaw, the 2 transactions were “outlier(s)” just like his $8 heart bypass surgery and “their sellers are not speculators”. If the buyers “overpay and need to charge above market price, they risk losing their customers and becoming insolvent”.
Was Gerald concerned about coffee shop towkays losing customers and becoming insolvent? Skilled in taking evasive action although he did not serve NS, Khaw refused to acknowledge the consequences suffered by HDB residents when coffee shops are transacted at sky-high prices.
(If Khaw requires hearing aid, I would suggest he visit top ENT specialist Dr H L Chow soonest possible to improve his hearing at the next parliament sitting. Unless Parliament is a place to TKSS.)
Khaw ruled out speculation in the two “outlier” transactions because one seller had been in business for 10 years while the other for 20 years. Why didn’t Khaw mention the buyers? I suspect Khaw knew the buyers were speculating but of course he was too pai-seh and came up with a half-past-six kind of reply where there are only sellers in a transaction.
PAP’s privatisation of coffee shops was a mistake because it can no longer control prices of basic necessities. Whether the record price of a coffee shop was ‘an outlier’ matters little to residents who have to pay higher food prices for PAP’s mistakes.
Khaw’s reply is self-insulting and this is not the first time Singaporeans are treated to Khaw’s farce-world reply in Parliament. Don’t Singaporeans deserve better?