Progressing backwards

December 18, 2008
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

It was reported today that the Government is building more two- and three-room flats because they are presently in demand. Two-room flats are those with a living room and one bedroom. The sale price for such a new flat starts at $76,000. What this really means is that Singaporeans are getting poorer and unable to afford bigger flats.

A few years ago the Government was saying that it would phase out the smaller flats because Singaporeans were moving into 4- and 5-room flats as they got richer. What happened?

There is only one answer: Singaporeans are getting poorer. The HDB tells us that “there are more people who will need to downgrade to smaller flats, as well as first timer families who would also like to start with smaller flats to be financially prudent.”

And in case anyone thinks that this is the cause of the recent global financial crisis, note that the demand for these small flats started in 2004 and picked up 2006. Next year’s supply of these crammed units will double this year’s.

It seems that as we progress forward in time with the PAP, we progress backward in our fortunes.

In the meantime the PAP, through its media, continues to sell us the snake oil that under its rule Singaporeans are better-off.

It doesn’t bother to explain how. That’s because it cannot: Our public debt as a percentage of the GDP is close to 100 percent and income disparity levels are at those of Third World countries than First World ones. Queues for free food are lengthening. The number of homeless are increasing. More and more of our youths are getting disillusioned and alienated. The brain drain problem is going from bad to worse.

And if all this is took place during the “boom years” between 2003 and 2007, just imagine what’s in store when we enter the economic maelstrom next year. Can someone please explain how the average Singaporean has benefited?

What’s worse is that Singaporeans find themselves with absolutely no voice. We lost it when we traded our political strength for the promise of, in the PAP’s words, “more good years.” In the interim, the PAP has tightened the noose so much so that Singaporeans now find themselves at the mercy of a handful of people within the ruling party.

Have we been cheated? This is what Dr Chee Soon Juan’s book, A Nation Cheated, talks about. It reveals how Singaporeans have been short-changed through the years. Perhaps this is why the book continues to sell well. Kinokuniya Bookstore has placed yet another order for it as more and more Singaporeans want to know more how they have been systematically robbed of their economic and political rights, especially in such depressing times.

But the book doesn’t only explain how Singaporeans have been disenfranchised, it provides alternative ideas on how we can overcome this unfortunate situation in which we find ourselves. In other words there is hope yet — but only if the people discard their mental crutches and claim back what is rightfully theirs.

In this regard another of Dr Chee’s books, The Power of Courage, teaches Singaporeans how they can overcome their present predicament through the application of Nonviolent Action. This book is also on sale at Kinokuniya.

So if you haven’t already read these books, get a copy of it today. You can also order the books through the Internet by emailing to [email protected]

Smaller flats supply upped
Jessica Cheam
The Straits Times
18 Dec 2008

The Housing Board will offer 4,000 smaller flats over the next two years, marking the biggest comeback for such flats which has not been built for 20 years.

Next year’s supply of 2,000 three-room and smaller flats will almost double this year’s supply of 1,163.

HDB’s move closely follows National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan’s announcement in Parliament last month that there will be a steady supply of smaller flats for lower income families and for those who need to downgrade to smaller flats amid the current economic crisis.

The HDB had stopped building two- and three-roomers in the 1980s as growing families in Singapore’s developing years fuelled demand for bigger flats.

But in 2004, three-roomers were re-introduced, and in 2006, HDB said it would resume building two-roomers to meet increasing demand.

HDB also launched a new project on Thursday – Dew Spring @ Yishun – under its build-to-order scheme.

It will offer 504 four-room, 144 two-room, 215 three-room units – the largest number of smaller flat types out of all of HDB’s projects launched this year.

HDB’s deputy chief executive, Ms Tan Poh Hong, told reporters that HDB has revived smaller flats on a larger scale as ‘there are are more people who will need to downgrade to smaller flats, as well as first timer families who would also like to start with smaller flats to be financially prudent’.

Two-roomers at Dew Spring will start at $76,000 to $90,000; three-roomers from $120,000 to $146,000 and four-roomers are priced at $197,000 to $238,000.

For the first time, HDB also released comparable prices of resale flats in the same area to demonstrate the affordability of the new flats launched.

Prices of 20-year-old resale flats nearby are going at $175,000 to $180,000 for three-roomers – higher than the launch price, HDB figures showed.

HDB has launched 6,600 homes so far this year under its BTO scheme, which builds flats when a certain demand is reached.

Of these, 883, or 13 per cent, were two-room and three-room flats.

It plans to launch another 1,180 units in the next two weeks before the year is out, which will include a further 280 studio apartments, two-room and three-room homes.

http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_315986.html