After losing her job in Jan this year, a single mother of a 16-month-old baby depleted her savings to secure a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat.
To her horror, however, the unit Felicia Ong received on Thursday (15 Apr) was in an unliveable condition.
In a Facebook post, which is no longer available at the time of writing, Ms Ong said that the unit at Block 3 Marsiling Road that she received looked like a “horror movie scene” with wires dangling from the ceiling, electrical points that were not functioning, popped and cracked tiles, and a broken toilet bowl, among others.
“Wires falling from ceiling, electrical points not working as per my first picture. Written in Chinese it stated ( ￼不可以用 translation to English is “Not functioning.”
“Tiles on floor popping up and cracked, toilet door is broken, toilet bowl is broken and cracked. Basin is mouldy. Window grills wall are broken and rusty. The toilet have no lightbulb and there’s no space for me to even install a heater inside or shower my baby as its way too small. I can only go in and urine,” she said.
Ms Ong noted that she had paid S$438.50 to HDB on Thursday to collect her keys.
If that’s not all, she also had to wait for 1.5 years to receive this unit, as she applied for it when she was seven months pregnant.
“I have been appealing from HDB for a rental flat since i was 7 months pregnant and i waited for 1.5 years before I finally got my rental flat keys today. It was allocated to me so i am unable to choose which area whatsoever,” she said.
She added, “Every single cent to me counts as i am currently unemployed and trying to make ends meet.”
Adding to her predicament, Ms Ong also recently discovered that she might have cervical cancer and will need to schedule surgery next month to be completely certain if she has cancer.
“Is this how the government is treating the less fortunate Singaporean now? When election comes, we are promised that we will be taken care of and our voices will be heard and help will be rendered. But what happens when the election ends? Completely turning a blind eye to our cries and suffering,” she wrote.
Ms Ong asserted that it is HDB’s responsibility to ensure the units being rented out are ready for tenants to move in.
With cracked and popped tiles, she wondered if her baby’s safety will be in jeopardy, and even asked if she needs to fork out her own money to do the renovation herself.
“I am with a 16 months old baby my God. And HDB gave me a cracked and pop up floor tiles? What if the floor exploded and my baby get injured? The wiring isn’t working at all, how can i shift in? Am i supposed to do renovations myself? Isn’t it HDB job to make sure that it’s a live in condition before you rent it out to us?” she expressed.
She continued, “I already emptied out all my money to pay the rent and deposit of $438.30, not knowing how should i even pay for my surgery next month, not knowing how to survive the rest of the month, but all my baby and I get is a horror home that isn’t functioning!”
At the time her post was last available, her post had 1,200 shares on Facebook.
HDB apologises to Felicia Ong for “distress” caused; says “will make arrangements to spruce up the flat”, has offered replacement flat
After her post went viral, HDB responded in a Facebook post on Friday (16 Apr), apologising for the distress caused to Ms Ong.
It explained that Ms Ong had received her keys to the unit before HDB could arrange for any modifications or repair of the flat, contrary to its guidelines.
“HDB’s guidelines are that before we issue keys to a rental flat, we will make arrangements to spruce up the flat, so that it is in a liveable condition. Any spoilt items will also be repaired or replaced. In this case, the keys to the rental flat were issued before HDB could arrange for the sprucing up of the flat,” it said.
The HDB also revealed that it has contacted Ms Ong and told her that a replacement flat will be arranged for her and she will be able to collect the keys to her new flat today.
Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad “heartened” by HDB’s “quick response”, says will follow up on Felicia Ong’s other needs
Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC MP, Zaqy Mohamad also took to Facebook on Friday to address this issue after being alerted to it by grassroots leaders and some members of the public.
“I empathise with her situation. What should have been an occasion to feel happy and relieved, turned out to be otherwise. Thus, we engaged with the HDB to alert them to Felicia’s situation,” he said.
“HDB contacted her last night and provided her assurance that they will remedy the situation. I am heartened by HDB’s quick response to provide Felicia and her child a proper environment to live in,” Mr Zaqy added.
“Rest assured that the Marsiling team and I will follow-up on her other needs. We will provide relevant assistance to ensure that she is supported as we welcome her into our Marsiling community,” he said.