Parliament: All blocks in Potong Pasir eligible for lift-upgrading programme have had new lifts installed

SINGAPORE - Every eligible block in Potong Pasir already has a new lift installed, Minister of State for National Development Maliki Osman said in Parliament on Monday.

He told Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam, the Singapore People's Party's chairman, that the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) has been carried out and completed in all six Potong Pasir precincts.

The $5.5 billion LUP was aimed at providing blocks built before 1990 with lift access to every floor.

Any remaining construction work is to "shut down the existing lifts which are no longer required, or to upgrade the others," he said, adding that the target is to complete the work this year.

Mrs Chiam had asked about the number of precincts in Potong Pasir that were still undergoing the LUP, and for the reasons for any delay, given the Housing Board's promise to complete all lift upgradings by the end of last year.

Mrs Chiam's husband, Mr Chiam See Tong, served as Potong Pasir MP from 1984 until the 2011 General Election, when he led an SPP team that contested unsuccessfully in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

At that election, Mrs Chiam bid to succeed him in Potong Pasir but lost to the People's Action Party's Sitoh Yih Pin. As the best-performing opposition candidate at the polls, she was offered and took up the Non-Constituency MP position.

Separately, Mrs Chiam also asked on Monday, about the number of void decks in Potong Pasir constituency and in Lorong 8 Toa Payoh that have been rented out for commercial use since 2011.

Dr Maliki said that of the 39,100 sq metres of total void deck space in Potong Pasir, about 434 sq metres - or 1.1 per cent - was allocated for commercial use. This works out to 101 commercial premises spread out across 12 void decks and three stand-alone blocks.

No new commercial premises have been developed there since 2011, although three premises were re-let after they were vacated by previous tenants. The average rent for these 101 premises ranges from $37 to $52 per sq metre, depending on the type of use.

An additional 4,066 sq metres of void deck space was allocated for social and communal facilities - or 10.4 per cent.

This means that about 88 per cent is still available for residents to use for their own activities, he said.

In another question, Mrs Chiam asked how many constituencies have benefited from the Housing Board's Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP), a Government-funded improvement programme. HDB blocks built before 1995 and which have not undergone any major upgrading works are eligible for NRP.

Dr Maliki said that 100 projects have been selected since the programme's launch in 2007, benefiting 22 constituencies.

"However, selection of projects is not by constituencies, but at the town council level," he explained, adding that this ensures a "good geographical spread of projects".

"As part of the selection process, Town Councils are required to nominate and prioritise their preferred precincts and MND will strive to meet them within the limits of the approved NRP budget," he said.

Since 2011, 41 projects have been selected, with each town council getting one to five projects approved. The only exception is the East Coast Town Council, where all eligible NRP blocks had already been selected, he said.

rachelay@sph.com.sg