Lim Teck Choon (59 years old, unemployed), sold his 3-room flat at Blk 18 Bedok South Rd for $310,000 in December 2010.
The buyer, Ms Hani, was unable to meet the deadline and the sales and purchase transaction was cancelled at one point in time. Subsequently, she managed to get a loan, and was allowed an extension to complete the transaction.
After the delay, Mr Lim was unwilling to proceed with the sale on the original terms and wanted compensation or an increase in the sales price.
However, the sales transaction was completed and since then Mr Lim and his wife have refused to move out of the flat. They have been fined $2,500 for failing to comply with a court order to do so.
Last Friday (26 Jun), Mr Lim told the Chinese media that he has received a letter asking him to move out of the flat on the same day by 2.30pm. But he was firm about staying put and said, “They will take my flat over my dead body.”
When a reporter from the Chinese press arrived at the flat, it was found that the items inside were not packed and there was no indication of Mr and Mrs Lim's intention of moving out.
Later, at about 3 pm, a group of 5 persons consisting of the bailiff, lawyers and locksmiths, armed with a Writ of Possession, arrived at the flat to take possession of it. A commotion ensued and the police had to intervene.
Seeing the group of people coming to take possession of his flat, Mr Lim opened the iron grille gate and started shouting at them.
He told them that he was suffering from cancer in its final stage. He had sold his flat to get some cash to buy Chinese herbs for his illness. But after selling the flat, all the proceeds were locked up in his CPF account and he couldn’t touch a single cent. As a result, he refused to move out of his flat.
He shouted, “You want me to let you have the flat, but I didn’t get the money! I have appealed to the minister.”
When the police arrived, Mr Lim didn’t calm down but continued scolding. In the course of the commotion, Mr Lim dashed towards lawyer Mohd Ibrahim and tried to push him. As the lawyer dodged Mr Lim, Mr Lim lost his balance and fell. The policemen then quickly stepped in to block Mr Lim.
A minute or two later, after making sure that Mr Lim posed no harm to the lawyer, the policemen helped him to his feet.
As Mr Lim refused to budge, the group went away after leaving the court documents behind.
Mr Lim said that he is suffering from end stage cancer and is not afraid to go to jail. He repeatedly said that he has nose cancer and the cancerous cells have spread to the lymph nodes. He is a person waiting to die, he said. The doctor told him that it is a miracle he is still alive.
He said that the last time the lawyer came to his flat, his wife was so agitated that she had an epilepsy attack. Subsequently, the lady buyer got a court order for Singapore Power to cut off his electrical and water supply. Also, the police have entered his flat to remove his belongings. All these things made him angrier.
One may not “see the money” after selling one’s HDB flat
An HDB flat has been touted as an asset which can help one’s retirement. Many Singaporeans like Mr Lim think so too. Many people think that selling their HDB flat will help them get out of financial trouble.
On the contrary, Mr Lim’s case proves that selling one’s HDB flat does not necessarily give one cash.
Mr Lim, a man with a terminal illness, needs cash to seek treatment for a chance to live the last chapter of his life with dignity. He thinks he can do so by cashing in on his sole asset: his HDB flat. Imagine hia horror when he finds out that the proceeds of sale which he so desperately needs, are locked away out of his reach because of the CPF Minimum Sum requirement.
Presently, those who are 55 years old on or after 1 July 2015 must set aside a Full Retirement Sum (i.e. Minimum Sum for those with no property pledges) in one’s CPF account of $161,000.
It’s sad that Mr Lim who is suffering from terminal illness isn’t allowed to use his own CPF money for medical treatment. What is the reason for this?
It’s no wonder he is prepared to go to jail because in jail, he would at least enjoy free medical treatment as an inmate.
Will our Minister of National Development Khaw Boon Wan make an exception for Mr Lim?
What do you think?
This article was first published at TREmeritus