The Straits Times
Published on Jan 03, 2013

Redefine public housing


I AGREE with Mr Yeow Hwee Ming ("Let public housing policy return to basics"; Monday) but would like to add the following considerations:

- Public housing should be redefined as one- to five-room HDB flats, as about 80 per cent of the population now reside in such properties.

- Executive condominiums (ECs) should be considered private housing. As they serve only about 10 per cent of the population, the Government should let the private sector drive ECs.

- Every citizen should be entitled to a housing grant regardless of his income. The caveat should be that this can be used only for HDB housing.

- Delink the HDB market from the private housing market (including that of ECs). This means property owners who upgrade to private homes as well as ECs should no longer be allowed to buy HDB property, including from the resale market.

However, private property owners can request to buy HDB property on a case by case basis, if they can prove that they have suffered severe economic difficulties which require them to liquidate and downgrade.

The HDB resale market should be confined to a category of approved residents and citizens. Permanent residents who wish to buy resale flats must prove that they cannot afford private property.

Tony Lim