An article by A Chan in the TOC is the manifestation of so much exasperation over stupid housing policies that have made our very own citizens feeling very frustrated, discriminated and angry with the govt that claimed to be looking after their interests, for their own good.
And many daft Singaporeans are arguing and pulling their hair over why this and why that, why not a bit more or a bit less? They forgot that the whole policy is flawed from its first premise. It was designed on the assumption that they cannot build enough flats for every citizen and therefore have to ration the flats, subsidised the lower income, and not allowing the higher income to buy public flats or compete with the lower income. This is the biggest bull and the biggest myth.
If the premise is that housing is a basic need and everyone needs a roof over his head, and it is the govt’s responsibility to provide this need, then all the silly rules and regulations will become irrelevant instantly.
Hsien Loong is asking the people to give suggestions, to change govt policies that are no longer relevant, or even stupid, then the housing policy is one that need to be buried and forgotten, and get a fresh new start.
Public housing is for the people, regardless of income level, just like NS is for every citizen regardless of his status or background. An NS man, rich or poor, pledges to defend this country and all. He needs at least a home to do that, to have something to protect in the first place.
And why the need to have all the salary ceilings with all the idiotic definitions? Count this don’t count that, commission counted, bonuses not counted. I have heard of cases when on study leave with no pay but a subsistence allowance for several years, HDB still insists on including the pay as the income. Technically, two incomes of $5k will be $10k. When one is on study leave without pay but a small subsistence allowance for several years, the income is really $5k plus the subsistence allowance which will not even touch $8k. But applicant disqualified.
Putting aside the issue of not building enough flats, all young couples need a flat to start their lives. For one reason or another, some delayed in getting married for many years and ended up in a situation when their incomes will exceed whatever ceiling is in place. Some joker blames the young for not planning their marriage and applying for a flat early. This is the most idiotic reasoning coming from the super talents. Not everyone can plan their marriages like planning to have breakfast.
If it is possible that every young couple can get hitched at 25 or the first few years on coming into the job market, then all the ceilings will no longer apply. It is only when they could not get hitch in time that this silly ruling will come in to affect their chances. And because of the unwillingness to build to meet the demands, many could not get their flats in time and by the time they were awarded one, their incomes could exceed the ceiling and be disqualified as well.
Back to my main point, the govt must build enough flats for all first timers regardless of their income level. This is a basic and primary need to start a family, to start a life. Failing to do this is a failure on the govt’s part to provide for the people. There could be some rules to keep public housing from being abused, like owners of private properties. Other than some major exclusions, all citizens must be entitled to buy their first flats and income should not be a determinant of their eligibility or the types of flats they can or cannot buy.
The govt’s key responsibility is to house its citizens. How much the citizens want to pay, what type of flats they need should be left to the discretion of the people. Maybe qualification against those who wants to buy beyond their means. Definitely not to force anyone to buy beyond their means.
Housing needs not be such a pain if the govt just build and this will remove all the frustrations that the people are facing because of the flawed assumptions in the housing policies. Or is this a sacred cow that cannot be slewed?