The Housing and Development Board (HDB) said in a statement on 23 February that it will not be able to accede to the request by flat buyers affected by the Seng Kang columbarium incident to cancel their Built-To-Order flat bookings with a full refund of payment.
It also said flat buyers who wish to cancel their application before signing the Agreement for Lease will have the paid option fee forfeited, while cancelling the application after the signing of the agreement will result in flat owners forfeiting the 5 per cent of purchase price of the booked flat.
HDB said that as of 9 February, it had received a total of 95 requests from BTO flat buyers out of the 4,000 units located near the three BTO projects at Fernvale Link to cancel their bookings with refund.
Earlier in December 2014, 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.
This led to the Member of Parliament of Sengkang West, Dr Lam Pin Min to hold a dialogue session with the affected residents to answer their questions. But Dr Lam was subsequently lambasted by residents and netizens for taking side on the URA, HDB and Life Corporation Pte Ltd, the commercial entity which subsidiary company, Eternal Pure Land Pte Ltd won the tender.
Minister of National Development, Khaw Boon Wan said earlier in Parliament on 29 January that the site was not meant for a commercial columbarium and that the ministry had assumed that the commercial entity was a religious one. He said that his ministry will ensure the tender site at Sengkang is restored to the original plan of a Chinese temple.
HDB said these flat buyers will have till 27 February to inform the housing board of their final decision on the cancellation of their flat application.
Some buyers have already since said that they will be collecting their keys as HDB has refused their request.