Ensure downtown public housing is not exploited

I agree with Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong that there is a need to mitigate the "lottery effect" of future downtown public housing ("Plan to mitigate 'lottery effect' of downtown flats"; Oct 10).

Downtown public housing is heavily subsidised, especially with the high cost of land, and is part of the Government's long-term town planning to maintain diversity within the core city areas and a balanced mix of private and public housing for citizens.

Such downtown public housing should be for those who are eligible and need public housing, and not for people to get a windfall at a "lottery draw".

Therefore, the minimum occupation period for downtown public housing should be increased to 10 years.

Perhaps the authorities could consider a ruling that if downtown flat owners want to sell their homes, they will have to sell them back to the Housing Board (HDB), instead of on the open market.

This way, these public housing units can be recycled for purchase by those in the public housing queue. And people will not see downtown public housing as a get-rich scheme where they can profit from a subsidised purchase, yet sell at market prices, which will be high for city properties.

Sum Kam Weng