When Boon Wan is doing the kpkb

Things are getting interesting when Boon Wan is doing the kpkb himself. Kpkb is going to take on a very special meaning now. He is infuriated with the BT report on the obscene profit that Sim Lian was supposed to make from Centrale 8. ‘I am working my guts out to try to calm the market, for the good of all Singaporeans. But I can’t do it alone. I need all to help.’

And Boon Wan has only been on the job for 5 weeks and found himself having sleepless night trying to solve an enormous problem that was non existence before he took office. His predecessor was having a cake walk then. Everything was going on smoothly according to plans, and Singaporeans got to be thankful for his skilled management of the housing problems. Oops, cannot call it a problem as there was no problem at all.

Perhaps Boon Wan may want to have tea with his predecessor and get a few good advices on how to manage a problem that was not a problem in the first place. Then he can have an easier life. Imagine him rushing out all the BTOs and pushing all the contractors to build in double quick time, cannot sleep, and the prices still uncontrollable. And he needs everyone to help him when all he needed is Mah Bow Tan to show him the ropes.

Or could it be that all the so called problems were imaginary. Look at the riotings in Hongkong. They have a real problem, and one of which is soaring property prices. The people are really getting hit and are walking the streets. Here, where got problem? I can’t see any problem. You can’t find more than 200 angry people at Hong Lim and you called it a problem?

And Centrale 8 is still very well received by the people. Many young people are finding the location and facilities excellent and willing to pay the asking price. You cannot call that a problem. The people are just too happy to pay. Stop imagining? The answer is very simple. Just tell yourself that there is no problem and the problem will disappear. If people come to kpkb about problems, tell them it is they themselves that are the problems. Other people, in fact at least 60% of the population, are very happy people. Or adopt the deaf frog approach, just believe that what you are doing is right and the best way to go. Your conscience will then be clear and you will be at peace with yourself, and the million dollar salary.

Now, how can the media help Boon Wan? To report that there were profiteering and that the prices were too high? Or to report that the prices are reasonable with very little profit? I think, just the personal opinion of a simple layman, if the buyers are told that developer’s costs are so high and the pricing is just right with minimum profit, then they can never expect the price to come any lower. You cannot expect the developer to build at a lost. So I think the buyers will buy up the whole Centrale 8 at the asking price. If the price is excessively high as reported, would it not put fear to the buyers and to pressure other developers to bring the price down?

On the one hand it was worrying that the price was too high. Now it is claimed that it is reasonable, with little profit? Which view will create more problems?

Maybe the media shall not report on those rich interviewees who said the prices are affordable or reasonable. And then report on those who are complaining that the prices are too high, cannot afford them? There is a choice in reporting, really. The Hongkong demonstration was reported to have 200,000 participants by the organisers and only 50,000 by the police. And the readers also have a choice to read what they want to believe in the media.

So, is the price of Centrale 8 high or low? Is there a housing problem here? Now who is to say that a $1m Ferrari is expensive? It all depends on whether you can afford it. To some it is cheap, cheap, cheap.
By the way, what is the hooha about? The market forces will set the property prices. Those who can afford, buy, those who cannot, downgrade their expectations. Problem solved already.


Anonymous said...

I think it is not high but just individual expectation. For example, is a benz200 costing $250K expensive? based on the market forces, it is not expensive if you can afford it. It is expensive if you cannot afford it. To the millionaires in Singapore, the property is still affordable but to an ordinary youth it is of course expensive but why buy such property if you cannot afford it? There are many choices for anyone here. If you can afford it, buy a $5m bungalow or a $200K 2-room HDB. Why must one buy a property that one cannot afford? The government's role is not to make the whole property market prices to lower for unrealistic expectation. The government's role is to make sure there are choices for everyone to buy a property that they can afford. So, government must provide small and low cost housing for the poorer (or not that affluent people) to buy or rent. Then, there should not be any complaint from the people. It does not make sense to try pressing down the price of a luxury apartment or a bungalow or a semi-detached house so as to make it affordable to poorer or less affluent people if the free market is to dictate the prices. Another key point is that the government should also liberalise the landed property segment like what other countries including HK do. Today, there is no meaning to have any policies to protect the landed property market for Singaporeans because this is simply not a free market at all.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The issue is what is reasonable and what are the choices. What is good, a taxi driver feeling comfortable paying for a 5 rm flat or two young professionals only can afford a 4 rm flat?

Is a $300k 4rm public flat reasonable when the cost could actually allowed it to be priced much lower? Is this what is called choice or forced choice?

Anonymous said...

Honestly, just let the horse tell the cow that there is no problem, straight from the horse's mouth.

Then, where got problem!

Anonymous said...

When people are doing well and can afford multiple properties for speculation, they can talk about choices.

And they are probably the ones that can benefit most from high property prices fueled by foreign speculators pushing the market higher.

Those that are doing less well have to suffer the consequences, not of their own making.

If the Government just let things go out of hand, what are we electing a Government for? To help the rich screw the poor?

paul said...

Whole thing is a joke and who to believe?

One moment housing prices too high and minsiter said so. Now he reverse gear and says something else that prices or profit margin not high.

What the fish is happening?

Anonymous said...

If it is for the free market, there should not be 'public housing' scheme in the first place.
Please do not forget that many Singaporeans owned houses before they were resettled and they have no choice but buy HDB.

Anonymous said...

Help the rich to get richer and screw the poor. Or help the poor to live better and let the rich profit lesser.

Which is the better choice? Depends on who you are and who you want to benefit.

Anonymous said...

If boon Wan cannot sleep at home, he can get doctor to get him some sleep at hospital. However, he could have just said that to get the people to pity him.
Will You?

The said...

What I find disturbing is his use of his blog to air his views. Is he floating trial balloons? Are those his personal views or official views. As a minister in charge of housing policies, I think he should not articulate housing matters in his personal blog.

How should private developers react to KBW’s ramblings on his blog? Are they just his personal grouses, or would they be somehow translated into official policies in the near future?