Minister for National Development Mr Lawrence Wong has rejected the widely circulated claim that Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat buyers are not owners but are “tenants” in practice.
Speaking at the HDB’s Peak Forum for property experts at HDB Hub today (4 Sep), he said that such a claim is “factually and legally wrong”, as the same principle of ownership throughout the stipulated period of lease applies to all buyers of leasehold residential property, regardless whether the property is private or public.
Following a similar line of reasoning to the one given by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Ms Indranee Rajah in a separate event, Mr Wong said that buyers of leasehold property have the liberty to sell their property and to keep the profit out of the sale, and even to rent out said property if they wish to do so.
He highlighted that “Since the beginning of the Government land sales programme in 1967, all sites for private residential land have been sold on leases not more than 99 years”, the reason being that Singapore has “limited space, and we need to recycle land to create housing for future generations”.
Mr Wong acknowledged that while public housing is a matter that is close to the hearts of most Singaporeans, he reminded the public to delve into the matter “based on facts, not misinformation and half-truths”.
He also mentioned that while the Government is always open to the feedback of Singaporeans regarding the improvement of public housing in Singapore, the Government cannot shoulder the weight of the task alone, and that it requires working together with Singaporeans.
Of course, if Mr Wong is confronted with a current copy of the sales agreement that HDB gives HDB “owners”, he might not repeat what he said with such certainty.