The govt encourages the people to sub let their HDB flats to earn extra income. Many have taken advantage of this new avenue to ease their financial burden and obligation, and that is good. One or two rooms can be sublet out and the retirees can live on this new source of income to live through their retirement years.
When one gets into detail, this sub letting policy could become a bane to the average Singaporean families. Our rapid progress and changes in our lifestyle have altered the characteristics of our society. We have new small nuclear families. The three generation or two generation families are no longer the norm. Singaporean families are either very young, the newly wed, or small new nuclear families of one or two kids, and the solitary or two retiree families. The number of people occupying a flat is relatively small, mostly 2 to 4 persons per unit regardless of flat size.
How would the subletting policy affect the life of the average HDB dwellers? Subletting of one or two rooms would normally add a couple of people into an unit of flat, unlikely to be more than 4. A small presence of a few strangers living in a floor of HDB flats would be quite comfortable for everyone. The problem comes when 6 or 8 or more move into a flat. Some owners are subletting their whole flat to foreign tenants, and depending on flat size, it is quite normal now to have more than 6 tenants in a HDB rental flats. Quite often it could be more than 10 as the tenants find it economical to share the cost of rentals. The more the merrier.
The modest HDB flats are homes to the Singaporeans. They returned after a hectic day at work to seek comfort, security and solace within their four walls. The sense of home, security, familiarity, belonging and a safe sanctuary have been taken for granted as part and parcel of HDB dwellers’ life.
How would a floor of 6 or 8 units of flats, occupied by retirees or young families feel when 6 to 10 burly foreign men moved in? How would the parents feel when they are all out at work and leaving only a few retirees and young children at home, with 6 to 8 foreigners living next door when they have no clue of who they are and what are their characters? And what if the foreigners would make the common corridor as an extension of their flats since there are so many of them, and the young and old, and the women folks would now have to walk pass these foreign men, under the stare of their wandering glare?
There are personal safety concerns for the retirees, the women and the young children. There are also security concerns of their homes when the adults are out at work, often leaving behind empty flats, and the foreigners would know who would be at home and who would not be at home. Very likely 99% of the foreigners are decent and honest people and there is nothing to worry about. The problem comes with the 1%.
Have the HDB and the govt, the police, think through this social, safety and security problems of the Singaporean HDB dwellers when a big number of foreigners moved in to live side by side with them? It is no joke for the feeble retirees, young children and women to be straddling pass big burly foreigners in the sanctuary of their HDB homes daily. It is no joke for the parents with young children alone at homes and knowing the presence of many foreigners next door when the parents are not at home.
This violation of the HDB sanctuary, the homes of the average Singaporeans by the presence of big numbers of foreign men, construction workers or manual workers, is unacceptable and unwelcome for the well being of the HDB dwellers. When they are small in numbers, things are manageable. When the number is big, especially a large number of men in a unit, and with the neighbouring units often empty or left with young children, young daughters and wives and retirees, it is not only undesirable, but poses serious safety and security risks.
The Govt and the HDB must review this policy of having too many foreigners, especially men, in a unit of HDB flats. The sanctuary of the HDB as homes for the average Singaporeans must be protected and not violated by this subletting policy. There must be more control and restrictions on the number of foreigners allowed to live in a flat in the midst of Singaporean families, in the heartland.
Singaporeans must feel safe and at ease with their homes, their dependents at home, when they are out at work, and also to feel safe at home, in peace and without having to worry about so many foreigners next door and what if they have bad intentions.
This is not a terrorist issue but a very basic right of the people, to live and feel free and safe in the heartland.