Forum: Asset appreciation a centrepiece policy of the Government

I welcome news of the online survey to be conducted by the Ministry of National Development to allow Singaporeans to share their views on the new public housing model for flats located in prime locations (Online survey to get public's views on prime housing model, June 1).

The new model aims to keep Build-To-Order flats in prime areas affordable and inclusive for Singaporeans.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee said that in the interest of fairness, the Government may have to find a way to recover some of the additional subsidies provided for flats in prime locations.

If the majority of the respondents accept the good fortune of the first owner of a flat in a prime location selling his balloted flat above $1 million, would the Ministry of National Development still want to claw back the subsidies?

A student getting a tertiary education enjoys more state subsidies than one doing a diploma education.

The university graduate, as a general rule, earns more than a diploma holder.

But we do not claw back the millions in subsidies for tertiary education from graduates as it is generally viewed as a beneficial public good.

It was reported that 82 Housing Board flats transacted for at least $1 million last year.

There were 24,748 resale HDB transactions last year.

The 82 lucky flat owners represent only about 0.35 per cent of all the transactions done last year.

Just as any Toto punter is not guaranteed to be the next million-dollar winner, so there is no guarantee that the first owner of the prime location HDB flat can sell his flat above $1 million.

If ever the first owner were to sell at a loss, would HDB make any compensation?

Asset appreciation is a centrepiece policy of the Government.

I understand the political sensitivity of having a newly minted millionaire HDB flat-owner among many other HDB flat dwellers.

But we cannot allow the displeasure of a vocal few to derail the asset appreciation effort of an ordinary Singaporean who is fortunate enough to be allotted a prime location HDB flat.

Foo Sing Kheng

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