Letter informs Ubin residents of possible resettlement

Some residents on Pulau Ubin appear to be facing resettlement to make way for a possible adventure park.

They have been sent a letter telling them that their homes are slated for "clearance".

The Housing Board document said officers will visit their premises to conduct a "census survey" and determine their "eligibility of resettlement benefits". It also suggested the houses will be making way for an adventure park on the 1,020 ha boomerang-shaped island, which is home to some of Singapore's last kampungs.

No details were provided but the last time a project like this was mentioned was in 1993. Back then, it was reported that the Government would acquire 254 ha of the private land on Pulau Ubin within the following year, partly to create an adventure park.

Today, about 100 villagers live on the island. They are mainly older folk, some of whom depend on farming and fishing for a living. Others run small businesses, such as bicycle rental shops, to serve the 300,000 visitors who come every year.

The HDB said in the letter that the Singapore Land Authority had sought its assistance to clear the houses. It asked residents to prepare several documents, such as birth certificates, property tax bills or proofs of ownership of their houses.

These should be presented to officers who will visit their premises to conduct the census survey.

Responding to queries, the relevant agencies said they would provide more details at a later date. But affected residents said the exercise started a few months ago.

It is not yet known how many people are affected. HDB's Land Clearance Section officers are also involved in the survey. This department is the principal agency involved in clearing squatters from state land on behalf of the Government and other statutory boards, for public development.

Long-time Ubin resident Chai Tien Soong, 67, said officers came to inspect his house about two months ago and he showed them documents proving that he owns the place.

The driver, who has lived in Pulau Ubin since he was 17, was given approval to continue living in his current premises. But he said people from about five Malay kampungs have been asked to move out, or pay rent. It is understood they were offered compensation.

Speaking in Mandarin, Mr Chai said: "Everyone is having a headache over this now."

chpoon@sph.com.sg

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