National Development Minister responds to property issues
From rental housing to deferred payment scheme, let's hear what National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan has to say to Singapore's property issues.
On rental housing:
'Our strategy is two-pronged... We are looking to increase the supply from 43,000 today, to go up to about 50,000. So that's another 7,000 - an increase of about 20 per cent.
'We are also relooking the eligibility criteria to make sure they cater to the really needy.
'As an article mentioned today, a lot of people in the queue really shouldn't be in the queue. They already enjoyed a housing subsidy...and cashed out, and are now coming out to join the queue. So while they are eligible today, strictly speaking, there are other people much more in need of a rental flat.
'There are other alternatives in place - whether it's a studio apartment, smaller flat, or the lease buyback scheme that we will roll out next month. All these are ways to monetise their flats.
'Joining the rental flat queue is not the way and I think we have to relook our criteria.'
On withdrawing the deferred-payment scheme:
'It was a very carefully considered decision...The objective was twofold: remove excessive speculation from the market and make sure there is financial prudence so that people...don't over-commit.
'These are still relevant today. We don't see a need to change the decision.'
On City Developments chief Kwek Leng Beng's suggestion that the Government remain 'nimble' in a changing property market and review the land sales programme:
'It's a point of view a developer will take, but there are many players in the property market; they all have their own views... They represent different, conflicting interests.
'We can be nimble, but we have to bear in mind that we have to take a longer-term view about things...We should be careful about knee-jerk reactions.
'We can't adjust because something happens yesterday and we change things today.'
On increasing Singapore's population:
'We don't know what will happen, what the numbers will be in 10 to 20 years.
'But if we do need to increase our population to 6.5 million in the future...it is comforting to note that our physical resources, especially land, are able to support this.'
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