Forum: HDB priority schemes like the one relating to married child should be retained

I find it odd that the majority of respondents in the public consultation on public housing in prime locations suggested removing Housing Board priority schemes in balloting exercises for public housing in prime areas (Many S'poreans want HDB priority schemes removed for prime flats, Oct 21).

These priority schemes play an important social role in Singapore and should be preserved.

While the HDB now has seven priority schemes in place, I am focusing here on the Married Child Priority Scheme and its underlying rationale.

In his parliamentary speech on July 27, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee stated that this scheme plays an important familial role in enabling parents and married children to either live together or near one another for mutual care and support.

The significance of the scheme in Singapore is only likely to increase in the future as the population ages and as elderly parents require further support from their adult children.

Additionally, as the cost of living in Singapore continues to rise, the provision of the scheme can greatly facilitate the sharing of child-raising responsibilities between a married couple and their parents nearby.

To remove this scheme from balloting exercises for public housing in prime areas would be to disadvantage married couples and their elderly parents in that vicinity.

Consequently, the social burden on married couples trying to run a household could be heavier and elderly parents might also feel more disconnected from their children.

If it is a question of ensuring fair policy conditions for public housing in prime areas, the authorities may consider recalibrating the proportion of flats set aside under the HDB priority schemes, rather than a full removal of them.

Abhishek Srivastava