Remaining occupants of state-acquired Merpati Road homes to move out after deadline extensions

Singapore Land Authority (SLA) officers moving on to the next house in Merpati Road after serving a resident a notice of possession on April 25, 2017.
Singapore Land Authority (SLA) officers moving on to the next house in Merpati Road after serving a resident a notice of possession on April 25, 2017. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - The occupants of three Merpati Road freehold homes, which were acquired for redevelopment in August 2010, have finally accepted compensation from the state after initially resisting and missing the original deadline to move out by end-August 2015.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has since taken physical possession of 33 Merpati Road as its owners are no longer occupying the property.

Meanwhile, the remaining occupants of 27 and 29 Merpati Road are in the midst of packing up and moving out.

In late April, the Government had served them a final warning and took legal possession of the units "to avoid further delay to the development plans in the area".

They are part of a group of 15 landed properties along Merpati Road and Jalan Anggerek which were gazetted in 2010 for redevelopment around the upcoming Downtown Line's Mattar Station. SLA had also given them four deadline extensions amounting to a total of one year and eight months.

Some of the occupants were previously reported as saying that they they were resisting moving out because the compensation would not allow them to buy a similar-sized landed property in the area.

In its latest statement, SLA's spokesman said: " The deadline cannot be extended further as agencies will need to commence road realignment and infrastructure works to prepare the area for development."

The Straits Times understands that the three households were offered between $1.7 million and $3.3 million as compensation, determined by private valuers and based on market rates at the time of the acquisition in 2010.

When ST went down on Friday (May 26), a man from 29 Merpati Road who identified himself only as Mr Oh, declined to give comments except to say that he had lived there for "many years". Resigned, he added in Chinese: "Move then move lor."

Meanwhile, boxes were stacked on the front porch of 27 Merpati Road. One of its occupants, an elderly man, also declined to comment.

SLA said it has been assisting the occupants in their relocation efforts.

Mr Oh and his relatives will be moving to a new build-to-order flat in Hougang, while the occupants of 27 Merpati Road are in the midst of applying for a flat.

SLA's spokesman added that the authority applied to the Court for the Warrant of Dispossession on Thursday in accordance with the proceedings under the State Lands Encroachments Act as part of following "due process".

"This has been explained to the former owners, who will try to move out as soon as possible," she added.