Relook using property type as yardstick for rebates

With the upcoming Budget 2019, I urge the Government to relook the criteria for citizens to receive rebates and handouts.

Currently, the Government uses a person's residence as a yardstick to determine whether the citizen is eligible for rebates and handouts.

For example, if a person were to reside in a four-room Housing Board flat, he would automatically be eligible for certain handouts, regardless of the annual value of his flat or his annual income.

Conversely, if a person is residing in a private property, his eligibility for such rebates and handouts would automatically be minimal, even if the size and annual value of his property, as well as his income are much smaller than that of a person living in a four-room HDB flat.

With an increasing number of HDB flats exceeding a million dollars in value - which could surpass the value of an ageing private condominium unit - it is timely to review this yardstick.

Furthermore, we must not assume that a person is definitely well-off simply because he owns a private property, as there are citizens who are consigned to buying a private property because they do not qualify to purchase a resale HDB flat for various reasons.

Lee Yong Se

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2019, with the headline 'Relook using property type as yardstick for rebates'. Print Edition | Subscribe