HDB officer: I explained consequences of transfer application to 91-year-old widow

The Housing Board officer who processed the disputed transfer of a five-room flat said that it is standard procedure to explain all implications before parties sign documents.

Ms Amy Koh Siew Leng, 35, took the stand for about an hour on Friday in an ongoing family dispute between a 91-year-old widow and her two daughters. She said that she would have explained to Madam Eileen Chia Yoke Mui and her late husband Dennis Goh Chin Chye that adding sisters Yvonne Goh Mei Ling, 62 and Yvette Goh Meich'ang, 52 to the tenancy as joint owners would restrict the couple's ability to sell their property.

Mr Goh, who died on March 5 aged 94, was a pioneer of the Singapore Scouts movement and a well-respected former Anglo-Chinese school physical education teacher. He seemed "normal" when visiting the HDB branch office in Clementi in Dec 2009 with his family to initiate the process, Ms Koh told the High Court.

In a joint tenancy, the property can only be sold if all sides agree. Madam Chia claims she was misled into thinking her daughters would have no right to stop her from selling the flat even as joint tenants. When she took the stand last Friday, she had insisted that she had not been advised on this by Ms Koh. In response, Ms Koh said that she would explain implications of transfers to customers without exception. She added that if a customer seemed distracted or unsure, she would ask her supervisor for advice and not process the application immediately. The trial resumes on May 6.