The Government is doing two things right in aiming to keep Build-To-Order flats in prime areas affordable and inclusive for Singaporeans (Online survey to get public's views on prime housing model, June 1).
First, the Government is building a variety of public housing types so Singaporeans of different income levels can have the chance to live in these prime locations.
Second, National Development Minister Desmond Lee, in response to various suggestions already given by the public, has tacitly acknowledged that public housing in prime locations invariably fetches prime resale prices in a free market.
Fairness and equity are two essential criteria that unite a nation. Balloting for public housing is one way to ensure fairness in distribution by randomising the draw to get a flat.
Presently, securing a flat in the resale public housing market in any location is not done through balloting, but is a matter of choice by sellers and buyers. So the resale market does not feature the fairness and equity of the original ballot.
Every citizen can have the chance to buy resale public flats, especially in prime locations, if the principle of fairness and equity is applied.
This means resale by ballot, and not to the highest bidder.
Citizens eligible to buy a resale flat can submit a purchase offer that is not below or above a predetermined band set by the Housing Board, taking into account the length of the lease remaining and the cost of ongoing construction of similar flats in similar locations.
HDB, as the public housing authority, should conduct the balloting to determine the new resale buyer.
A real estate agent can help submit the application of a prospective resale buyer and earn commission when the applicant is successful in getting a balloted resale flat.
I believe this is a viable alternative that upholds the primary ethical basis of providing subsidised public housing to citizens without them getting any undue windfall later due to the forces of the free market.
Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)