In Parliament on Tuesday (5 May), Workers Party’s (WP) Non-constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera asked National Development Minister Lawrence Wong if the Housing Development Board (HDB) would consider implementing short-term crisis measures to allow micro-businesses to reassign another business to take up their lease for a short term.
He asked, “Would the HDB consider, during this crisis period just as a short term crisis measure, allowing a micro-business – rather than having to break the lease, give notice, vacate, and reinstate the premise which is time consuming and costly – to allow them to actually reassign to another business that might want to take it up just as a short term measure during this crisis period?”
Mr Wong responded that HDB had put in place certain restrictions on such transfers and reassignment practices due to “speculative behaviour” and “property play” which led to high assessment fees which were subsequently passed down to residents.
“So restrictions were put in place for a good reason,” he asserted.
“We will consider whether some flexibility might be extended during this time but I think we should not lose sight of the underlying objectives or rationale for why some of these measures were put in place to begin with,” added Mr Wong.
He went on to explain that in the broader context, many measures have already been put in place to help businesses, which include rental rebates and other measures that were announced in the three successive budgets announced earlier this year.