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Enough flats at 'right' prices for first-timers

Govt committed to ensuring public housing remains affordable, says PM

Published on Sep 27, 2012 10:36 AM

While public housing has become more expensive, the Government has pledged to ensure that it remains within the reach of young Singaporeans.

That means building enough Housing Board flats and setting their prices "right", so they are affordable for first-time buyers, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong this week.

"We're building for Singaporeans. So if Singaporeans say they can't afford to buy the flat, who can afford to buy the flat?" he said.

"It's not my purpose to build flats and leave them on the shelf. It's my purpose to build flats and sell them to Singaporeans at a price which they can afford, which is what we're going to do."

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I think it depends on how Singapore develops, on how we expand the land area... on how we redevelop our city and provide a good quality of life in an urban environment.

Our Masterplan is based on 6.5 million but 6.5 million is not a target. It's a possibility which we have mapped out and we know that can be done...

We have to invest in infrastructure, we have to rebuild the city... You need time but you also need an economy which is prospering, because if you don't have a successful economy, even one million people in Singapore will starve.

- PM Lee, on what population size the country could accommodate in years to come


The world has changed greatly... I would say it's a much more orderly and certain environment, and therefore growing up takes longer, because the world doesn't hit you as quickly and as relentlessly when you're growing up. But it therefore takes longer to reach that point of knowing what's happening outside, how that impacts us and what will happen, how we will react if we come across adversity. So of course we worry about that.

What happens when the first time a real storm bursts on our head? Will we toughen up and make it or will it be such a shock that suddenly we won't be able to take it?...

I think there are a good number of young people who have that passion and that commitment to go and work. So how that generation responds to the new world, we will see, but I think we should have confidence in young people.

- PM Lee's answer when asked whether he was worried about the "strawberry generation"


We've kept our economy prospering and our unemployment rate very low. So even if you lose the job, it's not hard to find a new job. I think that this is a good solution. In countries which have unemployment insurance, the tendency is for people, more people to be unemployed and for unemployment to be longer. Because the pressure on people to find new work is less.

Now if you're stuck in a situation like the Americans or the Europeans like 9, 10 per cent unemployment or America now 8, at least nominally 8, then you have no choice. You have to do something to help people who are thrown out of work and despite their best efforts can't find work.

But if we're at where we are now, with unemployment 2, 3 per cent and work easy to find, I think it's best that we just focus on keeping the economy growing and keeping unemployment low.

- PM Lee responding to a suggestion of introducing unemployment insurance in Singapore