SINGAPORE — Leong Mun Wai, Non-Consituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), has filed a motion to debate issues regarding affordable public housing at the next Singapore Parliament sitting in February.
Mr Leong’s motion reads:
That this House calls upon the Government to review its housing policies in order to:
(i) deliver affordable and accessible HDB flats to all Singaporeans,
(ii) strengthen the owner-occupation intent of public housing,
(iii) protect retirement adequacy, and
(iv) keep public housing inclusive to every Singaporean of each generation.
Mr Leong urged the People’s Action Party (PAP) government to be open to alternative ideas, and be transparent about the true situation of Singapore’s public housing.
He also hopes that Members of Parliament from PAP will debate in good faith on the real issues, “instead of misrepresenting my arguments or casting aspersions on my motivations.”
PSP had already announced on 21 December last year that it would be filing a Parliamentary Motion in due course to have a free and open discussion on the challenges facing the Singapore public housing market in response to the Government’s challenge.
Mr Leong invited to “go beyond social media posts” and file a motion
In December last year, Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann crossed swords with Mr Leong over Housing Development Board’s Build-To-Order (BTO) flats issue across several Facebook posts.
On 20 December last year, Ms Sim said it was incorrect for Mr Leong to say that BTO flats are not subsidised, explained that HDB’s BTO flats are sold at a significant subsidy, and many buyers also get grants on top of that.
When homeowners sell their BTOs on the resale market, this subsidy is realised, wrote Ms Sim in the post.
Ms Sim also extended her invitation to Mr Leong to “go beyond social media posts” and file a motion to debate the matter in Parliament, “so that we can have a full debate.”
Mr Leong promptly replied Ms Sim the next day that he and his party welcomes and will accept the Government’s challenge, and will not shy away from the opportunity to have a free and frank discussion and present our policy ideas.
Mr Leong refuted Minister Desmond Lee’s misrepresentation of his earlier Facebook post
During the recent parliamentary sitting on 10 Jan 2023, National Development Minister Desmond Lee claimed that Mr Leong called “for land to be sold at historical cost” to HDB, and that this approach may result in Singaporeans also having to sell their HDB flats at historical cost.
Mr Leong said this was a misrepresentation of a point that he made in Facebook post on 8 Dec 2022.
In that Facebook post, Mr Leong said:
“In my opinion, the pricing of HDB flats should only account for construction costs and price differences between locations.
This was arguably the case in the late 1980s, when the total land cost accounted for a substantially lower share of the total price of an HDB flat.
Land costs should be taken out of the picture, because much of the land used for building HDB flats was surrendered by the Pioneer Generation to the government for a relatively modest sum under the Land Acquisition Act between the 1970s and the 1980s.”
In the recent post, Mr Leong said it should be quite obvious that he was arguing for land cost to be taken out of the pricing of HDB flats, and not that HDB flats should be priced based on the historical cost of land or that land should be sold to HDB at historical cost.
Substantial policy recommendations for debate
Mr Leong added that, instead of historical cost pricing, he will be putting up some substantial policy recommendations for debate in Parliament.
“I can assure you that none of those policies will lead to a “raiding of our reserves”.”
Mr Leong concluded that “there will be no winners or losers” in the debate, “but all Singaporeans will lose if we allow the status quo to continue.”
Date of the motion debate will be subjected to the approval of the Speaker of Parliament.