The panel working on the SDP’s housing policy is putting in the final touches to the paper before the launch this Sunday. The 30-page document will carry specific proposals to resolve major problems that plague our public housing system today.$CUT$
The paper, titled Housing A Nation: Holistic Policies For Affordable Homes, will address several policy objectives and identify appropriate initiatives to achieve them. The objectives are:
1. To make HDB flats affordable.
The word ‘affordable’ has been misused and abused by the PAP Government when it comes to public housing. Most younger Singaporeans find it impossible to afford HDB flats nowadays. With the price of new flats hitting close to half-a-million dollars (the top end at a record $800,000), a large segment of the population is priced out of public housing.
The SDP will introduce a new scheme that will bring down the price of new HDB flats without destabilising the housing market or cause unnecessary financial pain for current homeowners. Such a scheme will enable younger Singaporeans to buy a flat without having to spend the rest of their lives paying for it.
2. To reduce waiting times for HDB flats.
Currently, applicants have to book their flats years in advance. This makes planning for the future difficult. The system can be streamlined to ensure quicker delivery of flats by enhancing our balloting and flat-allocation processes.
3. To reduce the financial and logistical obstacles to young couples having children.
A majority of younger couples cite financial reasons for not having children or having fewer children. As housing constitutes a major portion of a family’s household expenditure, it is no wonder that the current HDB system poses a huge impediment to the country achieving a healthy birthrate.
The SDP plan proposes schemes that not only make flats less expensive but also facilitate the process of families with young children and expectant mothers obtaining their flats so that they can raise their children in optimal conditions.
4. To plan ahead for a greying population.
The vast majority of current HDB owners overpaid for their flats by using their CPF funds. As a result, they are left with little or nothing to retire on. This dire socio-economic situation will worsen as pace of the population ageing quickens.
The SDP’s alternative ensures that Singaporeans will not be put in a position of having a flat but little else to live on when they retire. Our housing plan will avert a crisis that is looming.
5. To transform our rentier economy based on an unsustainable housing market into one driven by productivity and innovation.
Singapore’s economy is built very much on the Government controlling land prices. Its policies encourage Singaporeans to place evermore significance on rising property prices. Such a system is unsustainable. It also distracts Singaporeans from engaging in productive and innovative economic activity.
Under the SDP’s proposal, Singapore will move away from the current extractive and unproductive housing policy, and replace it with a plan that will re-ignite Singaporean private enterprise and allow SMEs to develop their full potential.
This is the first time that the opposition is offering a comprehensive, in-depth and workable alternative to the PAP’s unsustainable public housing policy. We welcome Singaporeans to attend the launch of Housing A Nation and help us make this the start of putting in place a public housing system that is sustainable and one that will make homes truly affordable in Singapore.
Event: Launch of Housing A Nation: Holistic Policies For Affordable Homes
Date: 4 November 2012, Sunday
Venue: Diamond Room, Quality Hotel
All are welcome