The Straits Times
Published on Dec 27, 2012

Families, first-timers should have a chance to own a car at reasonable prices


I HOPE the Government conducts a major review and overhaul of the certificate of entitlement (COE) system as soon as possible. The current COE prices have skyrocketed to a preposterous level that is beyond the reach of an average family with young children ("Car buyers want COE system reviewed"; Tuesday).

In 2010, I had to quit my job due to complications related to my pregnancy, so my husband and I did not buy a car then as we were a single-income family, with a baby on the way.

Two years down the road, we still do not own a car. My primary mode of transport is the MRT, where I face difficulty in pushing my pram into the trains.

Now that I am pregnant with my second child and am in my third trimester, owning a car is really a need. I can no longer carry my toddler, should I need to take the bus instead of the train, and waiting for a cab can be a nightmare.

But with the high COE prices and no indication that they would ever come down to a reasonable level, it seems that owning a car has become a far-fetched dream for my family.

I cannot imagine how I will be able to take a newborn and a toddler out while taking public transport.

Our visits to grandparents will not be as frequent, as it is almost impossible for me to take public transport with two young children.

Being able to own a car also means that my spouse can cut down on travelling time and most likely reach home earlier to spend more time with the two children, freeing up much needed time for me to catch a breather or to spend more time together as a family.

I feel that the Government should, in looking at the COE system, review how it would affect families, rather than just trying to curb the number of cars on the road.

Perhaps a ballot system for first-timers or families with young children can be introduced, under which families get a chance to own a car at a reasonable and affordable price.

Ong Shi Yee (Ms)