More can be done to improve public rental system

I support Assistant Professor Ng Kok Hoe's and Dr Neo Yu Wei's general principle that the Housing Boardshould apply its own occupancy rules (HDB should apply its own occupancy rules to rental housing; Feb 16).

As they pointed out, housing policies should ideally be applied consistently for fairness, social inclusiveness and better welfare for all HDB residents.

However, I am hesitant in being too ideological by insisting on minimal housing standards for interim rental units.

Given the Government's preferred policy of home ownership, there has been a disinclination to develop a public rental housing market.

Moreover, the interests of landlords in the open rental housing market would be affected by such a development.

Given such realities, a measure to improve the housing conditions of rental flat tenants may be for housing officials to exercise greater sensitivity and flexibility in matching the needs and circumstances of rental flat applicants to suitable available housing units.

The short supply of interim rental flats often makes this matching process difficult, and families in need of a shelter often have to make do with what is available.

There is a need for all stakeholders to work concertedly for the the welfare and dignity of our fellow citizens in need.

Tam Chen Hee (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2018, with the headline 'More can be done to improve public rental system'. Print Edition | Subscribe