I refer to CNA article “Most home owners to pay less property tax next year”.
According to the article, HDB flat ‘owners’ will be able to save between 9% and 24% a year. The numbers may seem big but this translates into savings of between $1.60 and $16.80 a year/13 cents and $1.40 per month. Hardly anything to shout about, much less newsworthy.
Image source: CNA
and HDB is the lessor.
HDB ‘owners’ should never have paid taxes on property belonging to the state in the first place. What the PAP has done is legally convert our status as ‘lessees’ to ‘owners’ at the stroke of a pen. On top of being forced to pay property tax, we are also required to contribute to a sinking fund for long-term maintenance of assets which continue to belong to the government.
The government is the true owner of HDB flats and this is evidenced by its ability to suka suka amend HDB rules. If HDB flats really belong to us, there would be no need to notify HDB on renting out vacant rooms, working overseas, etc. Most Singaporeans have mistaken the little flexibility given by HDB as ownership.
If the legal document is to be trusted, PAP should not continue to confuse Singaporeans by using ‘lessees’ and ‘owners’ interchangeably.
Redefining ‘lessees’ as ‘owners’ has been a convenient way for PAP to maintain control over many aspects of housing while trumpeting to the world our unbelievably-high home ownership rate. This is wrong.
Singaporeans living in public housing should be paying zero property tax. Why should we pay taxes on a property which does not belong to us but to the state?