Singapore Democrats (link)
07 November 2012
Mr Lee Kuan Yew said on Sunday that public housing in Singapore “has to keep up with the rising aspirations of Singaporeans.” On this point, he is absolutely right.
Unfortunately, the skyrocketing prices have left an entire generation of younger Singaporeans see their aspirations go up in smoke. This is why the SDP idea of NOM flats would better meet the aspirations of the people.
NOM flats are sold at cost and are a fraction compared to the prices currently sold by the HDB.
With capital freed up from heavy housing loans, Singaporeans have the financial capacity to do what they really want to do – start a business, save for the children’s education, make the much needed renovations to their flats, and so on. They cannot do all these if all their money is tied up in their HDB flat.
Singaporeans who bought their flats previously will get their money they overpaid to HDB returned to their CPF if they convert them to the NOM scheme. This would leave them enough funds for retirement to lead secure and decent lives – surely a big aspiration for retirees.
Mr Lee also said that “I’ve seen their property values going up, five times, 10 times, 15 times, 20 times.”
Yes, and what for? To feel rich? Under the SDP Plan, Singaporeans don’t just have to feel rich. They can have their NOM flats and not be indebted for the rest of their lives. They can have financial security and lead fulfilling lives.
Can Mr Lee guarantee that prices will increase ad infinitum? Is he asking HDB owners to be property speculators? What if the property market undergoes a severe correction? What will he say to all those HDB owners who will be paying 30-year mortgages on houses which have lost their value. Think Japan’s Lost Decades.
Mr Lee must stop propagating the toxic myth that our home – an item that fulfills a basic need – can be traded like a commodity for profit.
The former Minister Mentor needs to realise that Singaporeans aspire to live a high quality of life. Quality of life has nothing to do with sitting on a flat worth a million dollars on paper while buried in a mortgage that you spend your life paying – and then end up without savings for retirement.
Quality of life has everything to do with financial security and independence – a roof over our heads, healthy work-leisure balance, the means to fund our retirement and healthcare, the time and opportunity to pursue our dreams and passions – even as we provide for our families and help them realize their potential.
That’s what Singaporeans’ rising aspirations are and that’s what the SDP housing plan will help to achieve.