It was announced on today that the number of new COVID-19 cases in Singapore hit a new record of 1,426 with the total number of infected cases exceeding 8,000.
As of yesterday, Singapore has highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South-East Asia.
Of the 1,426 new cases, “vast majority” of the new cases are work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in its media release of preliminary figures.
As of 20 April, there are a total of 18 foreign worker dormitories that have been declared as isolation areas.
As reported earlier, Westlite dormitories are run by public listed company Centurion Corporation who is helmed by Potong Pasir grassroots leaders: David Loh Kim Kang and Han Seng Juan (‘Foreign worker dormitories with active COVID-19 clusters linked to PA grassroots leaders‘, 10 Apr).
According to its website, Centurion Corporation currently operates 5 foreign worker dormitories:
Westlite Toh Guan and Westlite Mandai have been gazetted as isolated area while Westlite Woodlands has been identified by MOH as a cluster.
SLA extends dorm lease and Centurion doesn’t have to pay development premium
In any case, 2 months ago (14 Feb), Centurion Corporation announced that it has obtained approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on 10 Feb for the redevelopment of an existing block at Westlite Toh Guan dormitory to an 8 storey workers dormitory and industrial training centre. It said the company has obtained planning permission from the URA in relation to the redevelopment project.
Also, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) would issue the company an offer to regularise the title restriction so as to reflect the approved use of the property as a worker dormitory, training centre and ancillary commercial use.
SLA would also extend the use of the existing lease of Westlite Toh Guan by another 25 years from 2032 to 2057. The company said it “understands” from SLA that a development premium for the “intensification of the property” is not payable.
Westlite Toh Guan dormitory was the first 2 foreign worker dormitories to be gazetted on 5 Apr as isolation areas under the Infectious Diseases Act, after a large surge in the numbers of infected workers were seen in the 2 dormitories.
After its announcement on 14 Feb, Centurion Corporation gave a positive profit alert on 18 Feb to the public in relation to the “good news” it had received from URA and SLA earlier.
It said that as the period of use for Westlite Toh Guan is extended by 25 years, the company would gain a fair value uplift on the investment property by S$70 million. It announced that property firm Knight Frank has valued Westlite Toh Guan at S$284 million as at 31 December 2019 giving the revaluation gain of S$70 million or about 33% from the original value.
With the valuation gain thanks the redevelopment approvals the company had received from the government, it’s not known if it would also help to create a less crowded and better living environment for those foreign workers living in its dormitories.