(Video credit: Sin Rak Sin Party fanpage)
Over 400 future residents of Fernvale Lea and residents of Fernvale link turned up for dialogue session called by Dr Lam Pin in, MP of Seng Kang West SMC after concerns from the residents came up to him about the planned Chinese temple and columbarium at Fernvale Link.
The dialogue session also had representatives of the Life Corporation Pte Ltd, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Housing Development Board (HDB).
Many of the Fernvale Lea’s future residents were alarmed to know from news that their estate or soon-to-be-completed homes are to be situated next to a Chinese temple, which would house a columbarium within its premises.
Speaking in Mandarin, Ms Sharon Toh a resident of Fernvale Link speaks on how she finds that the land bid by Life Corp for religious purpose is illegal under Singapore Law.
Below is the transcript of the video.
Sharon Toh: (Speaking in Mandarin) According to the Singapore Law, only registered religious organisations can organise religious activities. Is that so, Dr. Lam?
It must be registered as a religious organisation then can it carry out religious activities.
Dr. Lam turned and looked at Mr Simon Hoo, CEO of Life Corp
Simon: (Speaking in English) To answer that question itself, yes. In Singapore, you can’t use religion name and then make money out of it. Which is why we say that we must seek approval, we are in talks with certain groups
Sharon: Still in talks right?
Simon: Because it has only been two months
Sharon: Ok, then why bid the land at the first place? If you are still talking. (Residents applause)
I want to talk about what has already been mentioned, Life Corp is an overseas listed company and not registered in Singapore as any religious organisation therefore in my opinion or under the Singapore Law, its religious behavior or activities are all illegal. (Residents applause)
All religious organisations in Singapore are required to be registered as a charity and monitored. Is that correct?
Sharon: If that is the case, your operation cannot be based on the basis of profit. Is that correct?
But Life Corp, as a listed company, you operate on the basis of profit and benefits because you have to account to your shareholders (Residents applause)
Let say if URA and HDB have gone against the purpose of this land [for religious] by giving this plot of land [to the company] (Residents applause)
So URA, do you want to announce Life Corp’s bid of the land as invalid? (Residents applause)
It is said that this land is meant for religious purpose and not for commercial purposes. (Thank you)
Dr. Lam: Ok, let me translate what Sharon have said.
So, now we are going to the second issue. ok? The second issue is in regards
Resident shout, “This is not a second issue. If this is not valid, we don’t even need to talk about other” (Residents applause)
Dr. Lam: Remember, remember we just now address the first issue which is..
Same resident shout out, “Only if it is valid, this bid is not valid, don’t try to talk about others.”
Dr. Lam: Ok, wait. So the first big issue that we talk about is that this piece of land, Chinese temple plus minus columbarium service. right?
Resident John Tan: Plus childcare plus kindergarten
Dr. Lam: Plus childcare plus kindergarten ok, plus ancillary services there are so many uses huh. ok?
So the general consensus I wouldn’t say everybody would agree that we can have, we should have columbarium service in Chinese temple but I would say that you know?
For the first issue, if there is a chinese temple alright? With columbarium service of not more than 20% of the GFA (Gross Floor Area) this is a acceptable norm. Any doubts about that?
Ok. (resident interrupts) now wait wait. ok?
The big issue is that Chinese temple plus minus twenty percent columbarium used
John Tan: Childcare centre used
Dr. Lam: Ok, plus others lar huh. Because according to URA guidelines lar. Ten percent childcare centre, others blah. This is acceptable. It is in the URA guidelines. We cannot refute it. ok?
Sharon’s points were not addressed by Dr. Lam in his subsequent statements