Housing a hot topic at public forum on PM Lee's National Day Rally

The public forum was chaired by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling.
The public forum was chaired by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling.PHOTO: SONG TAO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Concerns about the value of Housing Board flats continued be a hot topic at a public forum on Saturday (Sept 1).

About 50 people turned up at the Asian Civilisations Museum for the Mandarin dialogue, which was jointly organised by Government feedback unit Reach and Mandarin radio station 96.3 Hao FM.

It was chaired by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, as well as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling.

The session yesterday was part of Reach's three-week long feedback exercise on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally (NDR) on Aug 19, and follows another Reach NDR public forum conducted in English about two weeks ago.

At the session, several issues were raised such as whether flats were an investment, and if an appreciation in their price was a guarantee.

One participant was performance consultant Lu Kee Hong, 61, who told The Straits Times: "I wanted to give feedback that the authorities should do more to explain the nature of the 99-year HDB lease.

"Many people still think the value of HDB flats will not fall no matter how long they hold onto it.

 
 
 
 

"I also think the authorities should do more to explain to people that a HDB flat is for providing a roof over their head, and is not a means to make quick money."

During a doorstop after the session, Ms Sun said: "You can see everyone was very enthusiastic... there is a lot of interest in the topics, because these deal with a lot of issues that are close to people's hearts."

She added that such dialogues were very helpful. "It gives us an opportunity (to) listen to feedback and identify what are areas that people are most concerned about."

Dr Koh, for his part, said at the doorstop: "I think the questions that were asked are quite relevant, and reflective of the concerns on the ground.

"To me, it is quite heartwarming to know that actually there are people who are looking at the longer term of Singapore as well, not just the here and now."

Dr Koh added that he was very encouraged by that fact. Also in attendance was Reach chairman Sam Tan, who is also Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Social and Family Development.