Don't give rebates based on flat size

I admire and applaud Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for his National Day Rally speech this year.

One of the more sensitive topics he covered was the rising cost of living.

In order to defray the cost of maintenance and utilities, the Government will help low-and middle-income households with U-Save and goods and services tax rebates.

Every year, the Government provides easy solutions for Housing Board flat owners to deal with high maintenance and utility charges.

But these measures taken are not commensurate with the actual sentiments of residents on the ground.

It is too simplistic to say that those living in smaller flats are poorer than those in bigger flats, and so they should get a higher rebate.

Sometimes, those who live in bigger flats have to do so out of necessity, and not by choice.

It is too simplistic to say that those living in smaller flats are poorer than those in bigger flats, and so they should get a higher rebate.

Sometimes, those who live in bigger flats have to do so out of necessity, and not by choice.

In my case, there are six people in my family living together.

Living in a big house means higher maintenance costs. The utility bill is usually higher due to more people using the toilets, more plates and clothes to wash, as well as high fan and air-conditioner usage due to the humid climate in Singapore.

Living in a bigger flat also means it takes a longer time to serve the mortgage loan due to the higher flat price.

Smaller flats are usually more affordable and their utility and maintenance bills are surely lower than for those living in bigger flats.

So giving more rebates to those living in smaller flats may not necessarily be fair.

Donny Ho Boon Tiong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2018, with the headline 'Don't give rebates based on flat size'. Print Edition | Subscribe