Not true that new housing scheme only appeals to small group: Khaw

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has rebutted claims that the new scheme, which allows singles to buy new flats directly from the government, appeals to only a small group of people.

Mr Khaw had announced last week that singles aged 35 and above who earn up to S$5,000 a month will be allowed to apply for two-room Build-to-Order (BTO) flats.

He was responding to a clarification raised by MP for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah in Parliament.

Ms Lee said she had received feedback from her residents that they might not fall into the 5,000-dollar income ceiling.

Separately, Mr Khaw said he had also received feedback that the new scheme is something that only a few can enjoy.

In response, Mr Khaw said more than 80 per cent of singles aged above 35 earn under S$5,000.

Mr Khaw stressed this is not a small group.

He said it is fair to open up the scheme to this group of singles first, before reviewing the conditions again.

Mr Khaw added if the demand is manageable, he will definitely consider raising the income ceiling.

“If you set too high a salary ceiling, what it means is when you have to ration and through balloting, then it is luck of the draw and you may end up offering units to those who are earning S$10,000, while depriving those who are truly earning S$4,000 or S$3,000, who may need it more badly and have fewer options,” explained Mr Khaw.

Mr Khaw added that it is not possible to try and forge a perfect solution in policy making.

He said his approach is to be clear of where the end point is, but to start off cautiously and progressively open up.

This is opposed to opening up in a liberal manner in the beginning, and risk disappointing many at the first stage.

Responding to another point raised by Ms Lee that some might prefer to buy three-room flats so that they can live with their parents, Mr Khaw said he understood the wish.

He added some have also written to him to ask for five-room flats.

But Mr Khaw said his ministry will need to judge the demand for the two-room flats first, before liberalising from there.

As for those who want to stay with their parents, Mr Khaw said they can already apply as a family unit for three, four, or five-room BTO units.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 11 Mar 2013

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