Martin Lee @ Sg
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Of Public Housing and General Election

This shall be my only post on the General Election.

Initially, I had not intended to make any posts on it as this is meant to be mainly an investment site.

However, one of the issues bought up is related to housing, which is something that has been discussed here before.

Just two days before polling day, the person in charge of public housing continues to insist strongly that HDB flats are affordable.

Despite the fact that most of the general public feels otherwise, he is still relying on statistics provided by his officers to support his case. If this is his view, I am not so optimistic that things will get much better. The next generation will be in for a hard time if prices continue on their current trajectory.

And hours before all parties have to stop campaigning due to the newly introduced cooling day, political flyers have been distributed to households in a last minute desperate act to swing votes.

There’s no time for the affected party to reach out to everyone with their clarification. I thought it would be fair for people to read their clarification before they go to vote, so I’m posting the link to their official reply below:

Response to Last Minute Political Flyer

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24 comments
Dandy P says 8 years ago

My point about our housing problem, is that we cannot just consider one view. What is good for the family buying a new HDB may be bad for another family looking to cash out to upgrade.
It may not be that the HDB restricted the number of new flats on purpose, it is possible MBT is still suffering from the trauma when HDB was left with too many empty flats in the 1997/2001 period.
Whatever the case the future is now much more interesting, what is good for the middle class is not necessarily good for the poor and vice versa.
Although we are one nation, our interests are not the same. We live in interesting times, the issue isnt just between the PAP and the opposition anymore, but us, because we the voters decide who ends up in parliament, and all of us have different interests, and those interests change as we age.

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    Jason says 8 years ago

    HDB must not forget it’s mission and that is to provide affordable housing for ALL classes of Singapore Citizens. HDB must not evolved to become a profitable organization.

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      sender says 8 years ago

      Yep! HDB has long forgotten its misssion. That mission was steadfastly upheld during the days when Lim Kim San and Teh Chean Wan were helming and responsible for housings. Mission forgotten since messrs Lim HK and Mah BT took over.

      Last i read, our singapore’s Gini coefficient is 0.48 and expecting to rise higher down the road. This number is already one of the highest in the world among developed countries. Is this a healthy outcome? IF yes, why so? IF not, why not?

      IS singapore’s housing policy causing the high Gini number? – can anyone enlighten and explain about a possible causal effect there? eager to learn more, thanks.

      Reply
Jason says 8 years ago

This is a response to Wilfred Ling.

I do agree that there are some Singapore uses the new media to just vent their frustration but in reality they still support PAP. Not forgetting there is still the silence majority.

But in this election, we can clearly see close fight in some constituencies, and PAP eventually loss Aljunied to WP.

What I’m trying to say is that more and more Singapore is aware and taking interest in politics. Thanks to Internet, Yahoo News, Facebook and Twitter that many more citizens can access uncensored rallies made available on the Internet.

Also, opposition parties like WP and SDP realized that Singaporean prefer opposition parties that made sound proposal and addressing the real problems of the citizens rather than challenging PAP Govt for the sake of opposing and without substantial.

Personally, glad that late JB Jeyaretnam and his son resigned WP in 2001. We are glad that Mr Low lead WP and we can see the results Mr Low achieved during this election.

We can see more professionals are joining the opposition and I believe in the next election or two, more and more candidates from opposition parties will be elected into parliament, if opposition like WP will able to attract capable professional to join them.

It will take time to evolve.

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Wilfred Ling says:
May 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Frankly speaking, in every election everybody always think that there will be more oppositions because of problems not addressed. Guess what? Singaporeans suffered from stage-fright in front of the ballot boxes.

This is consistent with my observation that Singaporeans are generally apathy in most matters like politics. Those who are very vocal in the social media are actually the minority. Among those who makes a lot of noise in the social media are those who just like to complain but does not take any action. This is Singapore and it isn’t any political party’s fault.

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    Wilfred Ling says 8 years ago

    Due to Singapore’s limited resources, I do not think it is viable to have more than 2 political parties. There are currently too many opposition parties. They should just consolidate.

    Reply
      Jason says 8 years ago

      We do not want to see only two parties, else we will ended like US, Democrats and the Republican. Do you think there is really democracy in US if these two parties collude to rob the people wealth and made a minority rich even richer, we all witness this happening in US. Even the people can went on protesting, they only have these two parties to choose during their election. That’s why some elderly Americans not keen to go voting because ultimately, only the rich can benefit from politics.

      Having more opposition parties is good to have each other in check, though I’m a supporter of WP. If there is only two parties in this country, I will be more worried.

      Our only resource is people and each generations is getting more educated and travel more. It is not that we do not have talented people. But they are not joining politics maybe because they think PAP has been doing a good job governing the country in the past. That’s why PAP Govt was using money to “lure” them to serve. That’s how we have the ballooned Ministers’ pay package. Another reason that they are not joining politics in the past because there isn’t any good opposition parties or no good leadership in these parties.

      This election has shown the difference. More professionals, some president scholars are joining the oppositions. Politics climate in Singapore is changing and maturing with time.

      Reply
        Wilfred Ling says 8 years ago

        Being idealistic is one thing, To be realistic is another.

        Reply
          Jason says 8 years ago

          More Singaporeans, especially the professionals, are participating in Singapore politics. And more youngsters express their anticipation to vote. This is very encouraging.

          This election also shown that Singaporean does not follow the western ideology of democracy blindly. We created our own unique political settings that suit the situation of our country and the people.

          Reply
sender says 8 years ago

Extracted: Jason says:
May 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm
Mah or PAP Govt refuse to increase the household income and on the other hand, by limiting the number of units of new HDB each year, is trying to push more buyers to the private property market and pushing up the price of property property, Govt will receive more stamp duty. When private property prices went up, so will the HDB resale flat and then the new HDB flats, which peg to resale flat and then discount. When more demand for private property, Govt could lease the land at a higher skyrocketing rate.

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i concur with jason’s comment that i extracted and put above here. MM Lee has said a number of times that property prices will go up and the PAP govt will make sure of that. So it’s logical Mah and HDB have their work cut out for them.

Why is the Govt so worried about property prices declining? I think the answer can be found in the HDB reverse mortgage scheme. Such a scheme is premised on amortizing your house equity over a certain periods. Such scheme is sustainable only in a stable/rising property values environment. Any deep drop in property values will land many reverse mortgagees and mortgagors in trouble unless the govt draw on the country reserves.

just my thinking… there may be other reasons too.

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sender says 8 years ago

Mah said to review in the next 6 months, considering to up qualifying household income to purchase flats to $10,000 from $8,000.

The figure of $8,000 was last set in 1983, i think. So, for 27 years it has stayed constant. Assuming Singaporeans’ salaries enjoyed, middle and low income earners in the last 27 years, increases of between 3 and 5 percentage points over that long period; i will use 4% instead, the total increase over that period works out to be 108%.

Mah’s proposal to increase another $2000 works out to be only 20%. Compare that to the 108% increase in household incomes. Something not right there. I think plausible to up it to above $12,000.

Wonder how HDB and Mah come out with $10,000?

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    Jason says 8 years ago

    Mah or PAP Govt refuse to increase the household income and on the other hand, by limiting the number of units of new HDB each year, is trying to push more buyers to the private property market and pushing up the price of property property, Govt will receive more stamp duty. When private property prices went up, so will the HDB resale flat and then the new HDB flats, which peg to resale flat and then discount. When more demand for private property, Govt could lease the land at a higher skyrocketing rate.

    Part of these income will go to fund the Ministers’ pay. They are so well pay and numb to those of the lower income earners of less than 2K a month.

    To stop this vicious cyclone of inflation caused by our very PAP Govt, we have to vote them out!!!

    Reply
      lioninvestor says 8 years ago

      Voters have spoken and Mah gets to keep his job.

      Reply
        Jason says 8 years ago

        Though PAP has won the election, the vote shifted to the opposition is an encouraging sign. in some GRC, the vote shift was up to as much as 10%. The worst performing,I would say was Marine Parade under SM Goh.

        Hope PAP Govt has really received the signals from the people and make improvement within this 5 years, else the next election, PAP might win but not able to form the majority.

        Thanks to voters of Aljunied who have created a breakthrough in the history of Singapore election to have voted in an opposition team in a GRC.

        Reply
          Wilfred Ling says 8 years ago

          Frankly speaking, in every election everybody always think that there will be more oppositions because of problems not addressed. Guess what? Singaporeans suffered from stage-fright in front of the ballot boxes.

          This is consistent with my observation that Singaporeans are generally apathy in most matters like politics. Those who are very vocal in the social media are actually the minority. Among those who makes a lot of noise in the social media are those who just like to complain but does not take any action. This is Singapore and it isn’t any political party’s fault.

          Reply
Jasmin says 8 years ago

Our top guns are very well paid and they are supposed to do extra ordinary jobs. Else, why pay so much?
Dont you agreed that performance based salary is greatly promoted here?
By paying them such much, they have long lost touch to the ground. What are the impacts of high cost of living and medical bills to very rich people?
PEANUTS!

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Jason says 8 years ago

Yes, the statistic also cannot tell how the price increment impact on different income level.

50cents may be very negligible compared to the Ministers’ balloon pay package and that is why they cannot understand that our people is having a hard time. They are “ballooned” so much that they are too numbed to feel the people touch.

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Dandy P says 8 years ago

I think the problem is that we are already here, so if the govt prices new HDB flats much lower, then all of us who already own a HDB flat will suffer, the pressure on the govt to increase the number of people able to buy direct from the HDB will surely increase.
Usually when one problem is solved, another is created, life.

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    Wilfred Ling says 8 years ago

    This sounds very familiar.

    The need to ‘support’ existing stakeholders based on future continuation of upward trend is similar to a ponzi which existing investors rely on future new investors.

    Reply
    lioninvestor says 8 years ago

    The gov has created a problem that it has no way of solving. But history always has its own way of taking care of bubbles.

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    Jason says 8 years ago

    The current policy or “Asset Enhancement program” will benefit one generation only, but many generations to suffer.

    For the sake of your children and grandchildren and future generations, please make the necessary sacrifices. Our forefathers have made several sacrifices for us and it’s time to make the same for our future generations.

    Curbing housing price will slow down the inflation and family will have more disposable income, then they will think of giving birth to more children and will have less reliance on FT in the future.

    Reply
Wilfred Ling says 8 years ago

My fried-rice bought from the coffee-shop increased by $3.50 to $4 over a year. That’s 14.3% inflation to me. Yet the CPI for 2010 was only 2.8%. Yup, statistics do not tell the true story.

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Jasmin says 8 years ago

The word “affordable” is subjective. 1k is affordable to A but may not be for B. Also, does statistics tell the whole and true story?
For the younger and future generations, the prices of a hdb flat will become too much to bear.

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Norman Tsai says 8 years ago

Lion,

Thanks for highlighting this last minute ‘gutter trick’ by MBT. I agree with Jason:

“Since PAP Govt still refuse to see at this moment. We have decided to send even stronger signal to them. That is to vote them out!”

May all Singaporeans do the right thing.

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Jason says 8 years ago

The person in charge of the public housing is seeing what he likes to see and that is HDB still affordable. So, people underneath him will try to tailor made the statistics to meet his objective.

He has not really carry out a complete analysis for different income levels. He and his PM has neglected the impact of high inflated housing cost will lead to high inflation and lower the disposable household income which will increase the probability of lower birth rate and higher demand for FT and new immigrants.

With higher inflation, workers need to demand for higher wages to make both ends meet. This will further induced higher influx of FT. This is a vicious cyclone!!!

Govt should work out policies that could curb inflation, and not fuel it. We do not want our economy to build on inflation and when the bubble burst, it will be very devastating as we have witness in Japan and recent global financial meltdown caused by US property bubble and junk bonds built on this property bubble.

Since PAP Govt still refuse to see at this moment. We have decided to send even stronger signal to them. That is to vote them out!

Reply
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