Housing tops issues at post-NDR dialogue

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling at the dialogue yesterday.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling at the dialogue yesterday.PHOTO: SONG TAO FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Participants raised HDB-related questions on 99-year lease, investing in flats and price hikes

Concerns about the value of Housing Board flats continued to be a hot topic at a public forum yesterday.

About 50 people turned up at the Asian Civilisations Museum for the dialogue conducted in Mandarin, which was jointly organised by Government feedback unit Reach and SPH 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. It 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 prices was a guarantee.

One of the participants was performance consultant Lu Kee Hong, 61, who told The Sunday 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 on to it.

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

During a doorstop interview 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 said in the doorstop interview: "I think the questions 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 at the dialogue was Reach chairman Sam Tan, who is the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Social and Family Development.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 02, 2018, with the headline 'Housing tops issues at post-NDR dialogue'. Print Edition | Subscribe