The Straits Times
Published on Feb 25, 2013

Set aside some COEs for first family car


THERE have been numerous responses to the news of certificate of entitlement (COE) prices reaching new highs recently.

I suggest implementing a "First Family Car" priority scheme.

There are many families with elderly parents and young children living under one roof.

For them, a family car is a necessity and not a luxury.

The daily morning routine of many working parents with young school-going children and aged parents is a tough one.

One spouse will drive the other to the nearest MRT station, taking the children to school and occasionally dropping off the elderly parents for medical appointments, before heading to work.

After work, the reverse often happens, with one parent picking up the children from school.

A family car is invaluable in such arrangements.

We could consider creating a new COE category for families with a genuine need for just one car.

A separate vehicle quota and price could be allocated to it. Financial assistance or a COE discount scheme could also be introduced to help such families cope with the skyrocketing COE prices.

Any subsequent car purchases these families make should then come under the regular COE system.

It should also be made clear that such a scheme is not meant to penalise singles or couples without young children or elderly parents living with them.

The authorities ought to consider this scheme as a way to help multi-generational families cope.

It may also encourage young couples to consider having more children and to live with their parents - a win-win situation.

Harold Teng Siow Song (Dr)