A medal for Mah Bow Tan

Many Singaporeans may be unhappy with him and his arrogant housing policies and how it affected their lives and their income. Because of that, many have forgotten to look at the good side and achievements of this man. He was handed a $2b problem, more than 10,000 units of unsold HDB flats. There was initial panic when so much money was tied up in unsold properties.

Then he did a miraculous feat. Within a few years he not only sold all this flats, and the sale was so good that he turned a surplus into a shortage. As a result, HDB was able to sell its flats at higher and higher prices, bringing in great profits, though it surprisingly registered an unfortunate big loss in one year. The gist was that he was the best seller of properties. The best property salesman in the number of properties sold.

He also taught the complacent young people in family planning. Many have taken for granted that marriage is a thing that just happened and buying a flat is so easy. He is not going to make it easy for them in their careless approach to setting up a family. He made them plan ahead. He made them plan at least 3 to 5 years ahead, and the penalty was to get married without a flat in waiting. He would only build public flats when his order book was full. Period. And this demanded the buyers to plan carefully. It also cut down on spurious applications and long queues for flats. Only genuine buyers needed register.

He also encouraged the higher income young couple to buy private properties instead of HDB. He maintained the eligibility ceiling at a level that many had no choice but to go private or ended up no housing at all. There were many advantages which many young people did not see, like low interest rates and high demand for flats with influx of foreigners. Those who took his cue are now smiling as their properties would have appreciated many times despite the high mortgages they took. It indirectly also helped to boost the economy and GDP with higher consumption and borrowing. Those who did not listen to his advice only got themselves to blame. And many are still flatless and not eligible for public housing any more while private housing went beyond their reach.

Mah Bow Tan’s other achievement is conservation. By not building too many flats, the land was kept in reserve instead of wanton building for the sake of building. He knew how precious and limited is our land bank. And because of this, he went one step further by building flats of smaller sizes, saving on land, material and cost. The cost savings went into the furnishing as well, smaller space needed smaller furniture and lesser furniture. Great savings for the owners. Micky mouse flats become a fad and a new way of life and with assurance by HDB that the quality of life would not be affected.

While the people took for granted the ownership of public housing, the tight policies made the people more aware of how important owning a flat was, and how valuable a flat as well. Many are so happy that the same flat, after using and staying in it for so many years, can still fetch higher and higher prices. They are feeling so much richer.

This man deserves a medal for his foresight and nature conservation policies. If he did not hold down on the building programme, all the land would have been built up and no space left for anything. Don’t just look at the negative side. There are goodness in badness and badness in goodness.

With 2011 in the past, let’s give this man a medal for his achievements in public housing and conservation.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for e satire, RB. I was personally affected greatly by MBT's arrogant HDB policies then, & I only have this to say of him. May he and his family gets truly what they deserve and much more for what he had done to e thousands of SG families. I think this is a fair statement for him.

Anonymous said...

He indirectly causes the low birth rate too... when u got to wait so long for a HDB unit that is so expensive, that the sperm and egg became so old that having them meet became a problem. Plus the time taken to repay the loan, it means no babies or very few babies.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

This is the beginning of the year and I am trying to be positive, look at things from the good side.

I am sure Mah Bow Tan's policies must have benefitted a lot of people and cannot be all bad.

Anonymous said...

"...I was personally affected greatly by MBT's arrogant HDB policies then,"

Is that translated into votes for the Alternative Parties or not?

If you continue to vote for the Deaf frogs, you are just encouraging bad behaviour and lousy governance.

Anonymous said...

I am sad that MBT is no longer the minister. My hdb flat has more than doubled in value and it is all thanks to his farsighted policies.

Now my dream of becoming a millionaire is getting closer. Singapore is truly a paradise where ppl like me who live in public housing can dream of becoming a millionaire and can make that dream come true. Where in the world can you achieve this simply by living in public housing?

Why cant the ppl realise that we all can become millionaires together and no one get left behind?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Finally someone sees the goodness of his policies. He can make Singaporeans rich without having to work for it. Just buy a flat and stay in it and gets richer every day.

Singaporeans should be grateful instead.

Anonymous said...

MBT is really an unappreciated hero. He created wealth for most of us. In the last recession, our housing value defied gravity while many others collapsed.
HDBs rental market expanded under his charge and more, including retirees and those financially challenged, had another source of income through leasing their homes. The vibrant and prosperous property boosted our spending and economy.
He defended our our soil,land and homes when opportunists attempted to bomb our nation.
I could go on but Mr Chua had said it best.

MBT truly deserves his old job.

Anonymous said...

Pity, if he stays a year longer there will be more millionaires.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

I don't think he had much of a choice.

You can't have it all. If the population is to grow to 9 million and beyond, you'd better start implementing correct policy now ie conservation, for e. g. Building smaller flats.

We're talking about PUBLIC HOUSING here, so one has to tread carefully or risk the whole thing ending up a national financial mess.

Should not make it "too easy" to get a subsidised home. People in the private market have to scrimp and save for years to buy.

Free-loading entitlement mentality welfare queens can jolly well wait, and pay their way too

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

And Matilah believes that our public housing are subsidised. Well for an 18 year old kid, can't blame him.

How many of you here believe that our public housing is subsidised? But of course it is subsidised from market force pricing. Just like the big department stores great discounts and super sales after Xmas.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

Of course it is subsidised. Through convoluted systems involving rules, regulations, government grants, CPF, HDB loans etc.

Don't be an idiot redbean simply because you want to "win" the argument. Seriously, people are free to do as they please in the PRIVATE market. In the public market, it is simply STUPID to give people too much choice. You must polce it and conserve wisely.

High prices are good motivators for conservation. Population 9 million coming online. Better have the resources to cope

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

PS. Matilah s rating for MBT 6/10. Just adequate. Nothing spectacular

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Ok, Ok, you win. I see the subsidies already: )

Anonymous said...

From most of the comments here, they agree that MBT's policies benefited much people indeed.

Sure, now that I've got my flat, MBT's national hero from the home owners' perpectives.

Let the flat prices rise to the sky, and let all home owners benefit from the escalating prices. All of us can still be millionaires simply by just owning public housing. Who in other countries can achieve such goodies?

To the hell with other SGeans who're still waiting for their flats. Just too bad for you all.

MBT rocks!

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

Exactly. What these whining fuck heads refuse to accept is that government policy or no policy, housing tends to increase over time.

For eg as a young couple my parents paid btw 30-40k for their home in Holland/ Tanglin area in 1960's. If they were a young couple now, no way... not even for ten times that amount in the same area.

Once you are an adult, you are responsible for your life. NOT the government!!

Anonymous said...

January 03, 2012 4:13 PM

This idiot doesn't understand that despite prices on have firmed up, housing is still affordable to the majority.

doest matter it is not as cheap as previous generation, though building quality has improved much with the rise in prices, so long as they still can have a stake in our land.

your roof is your assured prosperity, so long as gov remains smart, and what right have you to be greedy and envious of previous generations?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

This thread should attract more happy flat owners benefitting from the appreciating flat prices. Mah Bow Tan should be happy to know that he is being appreciated.

Anonymous said...

If housing prices do come down, many would be cursing and swearing. Goodness would become badness! Despite some people are profiting from their properties now, I cannot give MBT a medal for poor performance if we go by what MBT claimed "oversupply is as bad as undersupply". He had basically mismanaged!

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

anon, myopic fool claimed:

If housing prices do come down, many would be cursing and swearing..

'pla butoh lah! Talk nonsense!

Many more will be pissed if the prices come down. More people are making money and "upgrading" or "downgrading" (to pocket the profit) or renting out and using the rental income to buy property in Johor.

What cock you talking deh?