SINGAPORE — Members of Parliament from the People’s Action Party and the opposition sparred over opinions on whether public housing is affordable and accessible in Singapore in a fierce debate in parliament over two motions on public housing affordability filed by Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai and National Development Minister Desmond Lee over the course of two days (6-7 Feb).

In his parliamentary motion, Progress Singapore Party (PSP)’s NCMP Leong called for an affordable home for every Singaporean in each generation, in which he proposed two schemes, the “Affordable Homes Scheme” and the “Millennial Apartments Scheme” as solutions to the problems of Singapore’s public housing.

Mr Leong said that PSP believes that the Singapore public housing policy needs a reset, while the Government’s contesting motion filed by Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development, suggests that there is no need to review its current housing policies as public housing is affordable to the people.

MND posted TikTok video to refute PSP’s idea

Yesterday (9th February), the Ministry of National Development (MND) published a clip of a truncated speech by Second Minister for National Development, Indranee Rajah, on their official TikTok page.

The video’s description wrote: “State land belongs to all Singaporeans, present and future. Second Minister @Indraneerajah shared why it is unfair for existing homeowners to price it lower for new “users” of low-cost flats.”

Taking the People’s Action Party (PAP) government’s stance of attacking PSP’s alternative housing policy, Ms Indranee told the 1 million existing homeowners to consider what PSP’s proposal means for them.

“Essentially, there will be a new precinct right next to you with flats of similar attributes, but much cheaper. Please consider what this might mean to your property value. Also consider, is it fair that by policy design, somebody else gets the same flat as you but at a much cheaper price?”

She said that the net effect of the PSP’s proposal is that the new users will benefit from the low-cost flats, but it would also lead to “the erosion of reserves and the reduction of NRIC contributions to the budget.”


State land belongs to all Singaporeans, present and future. Second Minister @indraneerajah shared why it is unfair for existing homeowners to price it lower for new “users” of low-cost flats.

♬ original sound – MNDSingapore – MNDSingapore

Owner-occupied HDB as public good

Under the “Affordable Homes Scheme” proposed by PSP, If a Singaporean stays in the same flat his entire life, he will only pay the user price.

At the point of purchase, the “land cost” for the flat will be made known and recorded with the HDB. If the Singaporean sells his flat in the resale market after the Minimum Occupation Period, the citizen will have to pay this land cost with accrued interest based on historical mortgage rates to the Past Reserves before pocketing the net profit; hence the citizen ends up paying the full price of the flat.

“We believe owner-occupied public housing is a public good that should be treated as a form of essential public infrastructure, like schools and hospitals, where land costs are not charged because it is treated as State Land. We believe that land used for owner-occupied HDB flats should be treated in the same way as schools and hospitals,” said Mr Leong in sharing of the proposal at the debate on Monday.

Hence as long as Singaporeans are leasing HDB flats for owner-occupation, they should not have to pay for the land cost. They should only pay the land cost when they take the HDB flats to be an investment and sell it for a profit.

Mr Leong emphasises that the scheme will take care of the Singaporeans without hurting the Past Reserves.

Netizens support PSP’s proposal

However, in contrast to expectations of words of criticism against PSP’s proposal, netizens left comments on the MND’s short video, expressing their dissatisfaction with the government’s reluctance to improve the dire situation in which housing prices have become unaffordable for the younger generation.

Echoing PSP’s proposal, TikToker Ernest Yeap said HDB should be affordable to the poor and middle-income, “while private housing should be for the well-income and rich. This is then fair!”

Netizens questioned which party was the one that said HDB was not for investment but now focusing on the property value and also asked who created the inflated HDB prices in the first place.

People just “renting” their HDB

A Tik Toker who goes by the name “I’m XiaoMing” had to remind Ms Indranee that people just “renting” their HDB flat, and the value of the flat will return to zero once the 99-year leasehold has been reached.

Another TikToker commented that PAP nowadays is disconnected from the majority:

Other users also commented to support PSP’s housing proposal:


Agreeing that the need for increased checks and balances, as well as alternative policies which are of the greatest concern to Singaporeans, should be debated in Parliament, TikToker Zaccheus simply commented: “More opposition in Parliament!”

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