Lowering land prices is like taking money from reserves

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan says that lowering the price of state land is equivalent to taking money from Singapore’s reserves.

Mr Mah was rebutting comments from Workers’ Party (WP) Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang, who had proposed that the cost of state land be lowered so that homes can be built cheaper.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a community event on Saturday, Mr Mah stressed that land in Singapore is part of the country’s national reserves.

He said: “That is precisely what the elected presidency was meant to do, to protect our reserves, to prevent political parties during election time from coming up with all sorts of promises to say, ‘oh, I’m going to take money from the reserves to do this, that and the other’.”

Mr Mah also stressed that the number of new HDB flats is not small, and the lowering of prices will inevitably affect the value of resale homes.

He said: “Of course, WP says, ‘don’t worry, it’s only going to come later’. As I’ve said, that’s very small comfort. That’s like telling people, ‘don’t worry, the tsunami is coming, it’s only going to hit us a few hours later’. But I say ‘no, it’s going to hit us almost immediately’. Why? because all the markets are inter-linked.”

Mr Mah also declined a debate on housing with the National Solidarity Party, saying that the government’s position is very clear.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 16 Apr 2011

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