The SDP continued our visits to residents at the Marsiling estate in Sembawang GRC yesterday. We were there to listen to the problems they expressed and also to explain to them the solutions we had drawn up in our alternative policies.$CUT$
An elderly man who spoke in English and Mandarin said that the Lease Buy-Back Scheme was not helpful. His flat was fully paid up but he needed some income to live on.
“The HDB asked me to buy a studio flat,” he said. “But after I sell my present flat and pay CPF back the interest, I still have to top up my Medisave and retirement fund.
“I calculated I had nothing left, so what’s the point?” he said in frustration.
We explained that under the SDP’s housing policy policy, he could convert his flat to a Non-Open Market (NOM) one.
The government would then return him the difference between what he paid for the flat and what the flat actually cost, That is, without the land “cost”.
In addition, he could continue to stay in his flat without having to buy and move into a smaller flat which is psychologically traumatic for older people. Under our policy, he can stay in the flat for as long as he lives.
Another resident, a middle-aged housewife told us that HDB flats have become so expensive that her grown-up children could not afford to buy their own flats.
“It’s not a problem for me, this flat is almost paid up,” she explained, adding, “but the younger generation cannot survive.”
Again, we explained that if our candidates were elected at the next elections, we will push for the cost of HDB flats to exclude the cost of land (which actually costs the Government nothing).
“We need more opposition in Parliament,” we said.
“Yes, more opposition is good for us,” she nodded.
Another resident told us that things were okay: “No problem, the Government is quite good.”
When she realised that we were the SDP, her facial expression changed. “I thought you were from the RC,” she said sheepishly and proceeded to tell us that the high cost of living is making things difficult for her family.
There were several families who were clearly in financial need. One woman said that she worked as a cleaner and took home about $800 a month after CPF deduction. She had two children to raise.
We told her about the bursaries the SDP gives out and encouraged her to apply for it.
Several residents we spoke with were unhappy with the retention of their CPF.
Life is tough, we acknowledged. This is why it is important for SDP to be in Parliament. We will speak up and fight for policies that will make life more bearable for our people.
“This we promise you,” we said to the residents.