Not fair to put one's legal rights up for vote

While I applaud the Government for reviewing its housing policies, I am gravely concerned by the implications that the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (Vers) will bring (Vers allows for more orderly redevelopment; Aug 20).

While the details of the scheme have not been disclosed, the vote to go ahead with Vers should be based on a 100 per cent consensus.

It is unfair that a home owner should lose his home due to Vers or any other policy shifts.

As a home owner contracted into a 99-year lease, I would expect my lease to be allowed to run out fully and I would want to own the property for the entire term.

A home contains many memories and it is incomprehensible that one could be forced out by neighbours and be unable to spend his golden years peacefully after having fully paid for the flat.

I hope the Government will consider a 100 per cent vote threshold for Vers in order to protect all home owners, instead of the 80 per cent majority vote that is needed to sell private property en bloc.

The process of such voting is a socially divisive exercise. There have been numerous reports of neighbour disputes stemming from collective sales in Singapore.

It also makes sense for everyone to respect and abide by the legal rights of their contracts.

When voting is instituted to alter this right, society loses respect for this fundamental legal right and this could have other repercussions.

In addition, no one should be forced out of his home for his neighbours' monetary gains.

If there is a genuine concern regarding retirement income, the Housing Board already has a number of options available, such as the Lease Buyback Scheme.

We must respect everyone's rights in order to become a more gracious society and, hence, putting contracted legal rights up for a vote is simply not a good answer.

I hope the Government will review Vers very carefully.

Yeo Choon Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2018, with the headline 'Not fair to put one's legal rights up for vote'. Print Edition | Subscribe