Lawrence Wong; Parliament

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong took to Parliament last Thursday (Mar 7) dismissing calls for more affordable HDB apartment units, saying that having more cheaper HDB flats will result in inequality and a “lottery effect”:

“If you price it to market, then only the very well-off can afford. If you want to make it affordable, the only way is through a big discount to the BTO (Build-to-Order) price. But this would lead to a lottery effect. The lucky guy who gets the flat gets a so-called windfall compared to others who buy flats elsewhere. Then it’s not a fair distribution of housing subsidies.”

In the popular suburbs of Kallang/Whampoa, a 4-room flat cost as much as S$650,000, while a similar apartment design cost as little as S$230,000 in Woodlands.

The PAP Minister said he plans to develop the neighbourhood, but he did not comment on the current state of infrastructural development in far-flung BTO locations like Tengah and Woodlands:

“The long-term solution to tackle this problem is to ensure that every part of Singapore is well-developed and that each HDB precinct has good amenities and facilities, as well as convenient access to transport network and job centres close to home.”

Minister Lawrence Wong also paid lips service in addressing social stratification resulted saying that he is building HDB precincts in premium locations with many private properties like Bukit Timah:

“The Government intends to continue injecting public housing in the central areas of Singapore. We have already been doing so in small pockets and we will plan to do so in a bigger way with long-term rejuvenation.”