Pulau Ubin will remain in "rustic state" but residents will have to pay rent

Kampung residents on Pulau Ubin who have to pay rent from now will pay an estimated $6 to $35 per month in the first year, with 90 per cent paying less than $20 a month. This rent, which is subsidised, will be increased to the market rent gradually over five years to assist the residents, said the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and the Housing Development Board (HDB) in a joint statement on Wednesday.

From the sixth year onwards, the residents are expected to pay between $31 and $205 per month, with 90 per cent paying less than $120 monthly. The statement was the latest by the authorities to clarify notices posted on 22 Pulau Ubin homes in March, which many took to be eviction notices. The notice had referenced "resettlement" benefits and a "clearance" scheme, but these were in connection to an old 1993 plan, the SLA and HDB said.

Then, the state had acquired land on the island to build recreational facilities, including expansion of the Outward Bound School grounds. As a result, the land which the affected residents occupied became state land. They were therefore entitled to money but also had to start paying rent to remain in their homes.The planned developments were completed, but the 22 households which received the notice in March had not claimed their benefits or paid rent, the authorities discovered in a recent review.

"We acknowledge that the notification could have been more carefully worded and the language updated to reflect the eventual development. We apologise for the anxiety caused to the residents involved," said the SLA and HDB. They also reiterated in their latest statement that the residents would not be evicted, and that Pulau Ubin would be kept in its rustic state "for as long as possible, to serve as an outdoor playground for Singaporeans".