Land policy does not favour the rich

The debate over terminology such as "lessee" or "owner" is largely academic and is much ado about nothing.

I recently watched a documentary from Hong Kong which examined why Singapore has been successful in housing its population while people in Hong Kong are facing so many problems.

In an interview with Singapore's former master planner Liu Thai Ker, he highlighted an important difference - that Hong Kong has a lot of land but most is considered private and held in perpetuity by its owners, whereas in Singapore, the majority of the land is used for public housing, and even private land can be acquired by the Government for development if required.

After watching the show, I am greatly heartened by the fact that we have a Government that looks after the interests of the majority rather than catering to only the rich.

In the show, Hong Kongers who live in Singapore expressed great admiration for the spacious apartments and meticulously planned townships here, compared with those in their city.

In short, whether it is a 99-year lease or freehold lease, it is a fallacy to think that one can own something in perpetuity.

Instead of arguing over trivialities, we should count our blessings that the majority of us have a place that we can call home for as long as we live.

Seah Yam Meng

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2018, with the headline Land policy does not favour the rich. Subscribe