Forum: Govt should remain focused on HDB flat affordability and accessibility

The Workers’ Party (WP) notes People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Henry Kwek’s letter (Demand for HDB flats can change quickly and unpredictably, Feb 14).

Unlike Mr Kwek, who was silent on Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh’s speech in the course of the debate on the PAP’s and Progress Singapore Party’s motions on affordable and accessible housing, WP’s Sengkang GRC MP Louis Chua stood up in Parliament and put into context the assumptions behind the WP’s 2019 Housing Paper and the figures cited by Mr Kwek in his letter.

The WP Housing Paper of 2019 was a response to the Government’s then newly announced Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme. The conclusions in that paper pertain to the longer-term approach to housing, and naturally have to be understood in that context.

We are not surprised that this context has been conveniently excluded from Mr Kwek’s letter, even as he writes about the importance of politicians being candid and upfront.

In the course of the debate, the WP tried to amend the PAP’s motion, calling on the Government to intensify its efforts towards the accessibility and affordability of HDB flats. This was unfortunately rejected by the PAP, which has a super majority in Parliament.

Our point of view remains.

There is much work to be done to improve the accessibility and affordability of HDB flats, for the reasons pointed out by Mr Singh in the call to amend the motion.

The WP will continue to advocate the points we raised in Parliament, including pursuing meaningful questions that remain unanswered – such as the basis behind pricing for public and private land and its relationship with past reserves, the future burden on Singaporeans with ever-rising taxpayer subsidies making up HDB’s losses, and the principles behind how the resale levy is determined in view of mature and non-mature flats.

Finally, Mr Kwek would also be aware that the call to build HDB flats ahead of demand did not just come from the WP, but from some of his fellow PAP backbenchers as well.

Leon Perera
The Workers’ Party Media Head

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