Residents obliged to move should get good benefits

I disagree with the suggestion that replacement flats be subject to a pro rata lease (Modify Sers to reduce speculative demand, by Mr Sum Kam Weng; April 15).

Once a site has been chosen for Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers), those affected have to move.

Given a choice, many residents, especially the elderly, would likely prefer to stay put in their estate.

Because the acquisition of flats is compulsory, the affected residents should be given benefits that are attractive.

Why shouldn't they enjoy a new 99-year lease on their replacement flats?

Are we sure that residents would not mind flats with shorter leases, especially young couples? What if they outlive the lease?

Having a pro rata lease would also complicate matters when it comes to helping the elderly monetise their assets.

Sers is not necessarily subject to speculation.

In April 1997, my block in Ang Mo Kio Street 52 was among those earmarked for Sers.

But so many residents were reluctant to move out that our then MP had to hold a meeting to explain the rationale and point out the benefits of the scheme, including rehousing benefits, subsidised flat prices and grants, and a new 99-year lease.

The site eventually became the Design, Build and Sell Scheme development Park Central @ Ang Mo Kio, and units were resold for close to $1 million.

Is this considered speculation by residents?

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2017, with the headline 'Residents obliged to move should get good benefits'. Print Edition | Subscribe