The SPP believes in a humane and just Singapore, where the disadvantaged such as the elderly will be looked after with dignity. The proposed nursing home in Bishan will be an essential facility towards this, but the residents most affected deserve consideration.
Alternative sites should be actively sought. The location of the nursing home in this case is still negotiable. A voting exercise similar to that for the Lift Upgrading Programmes should be conducted to determine the site for the nursing home. A more entrenched culture of greater consultative decision-making can only be good for Singapore in the long term.
From what we understand, the residents in Toh Yi Drive, who faced a similar incident a few months ago, were in fact more unhappy that they were not properly consulted before the plans were drawn up, rather than the plans for building the nursing home in itself.
The situation we are in is caused by the PAP Government's policy of "asset enhancement". It has been drummed into Singaporeans that their HDB flat is not only a home, but also an asset that they can cash-out in their old age. It is naturally a hard sell asking Singaporeans to accept anything likely to devalue their 'retirement plan'. This situation will not be fully resolved until Singapore returns to when a HDB flat is affordable housing, when retirement savings are diversified and liquid, and when Community regains its importance in Singaporeans' lives.
The SPP has observed the good work of the various Lions organisations among the elderly and poor in Bishan and Toa Payoh. We thank them and encourage them to persevere in their efforts. Going forward, we hope to be able to work closely with them in our service to Bishan-Toa Payoh residents.
Finally, we note that residents will need more information and will need to be consulted thoroughly throughout the planning, construction and operations for the nursing home, should it proceed. The SPP will be engaging Bishan residents for their in-depth views during our scheduled walkabout this Sunday, 3 June 2012, beginning 9am that will cover Bishan Street 13. The SPP will work constructively with the Government, residents and the Lions Home for the Elders on this issue.