Potong Pasir, Hougang now eligible for lift upgrading programme

For the first time, opposition-held Potong Pasir and Hougang will be eligible for the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) for 65 precincts islandwide.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu revealed this to the media on Monday at a Home Improvement Programme (HIP) event.

Residents received upgrades to their piping, laundry areas and electrical systems and 33,000 more households across Singapore are expected to benefit from the scheme over the next three years.

The programme is expected to cost S$1 billion.

Home owners were also given the option to upgrade their toilets, doors and grilles, with up to 95 per cent of this cost being subsidised.

Lee Kwai Heng, upgraded flat owner, said: “If you get your own contractor, where can you get such a good price? I know someone from upstairs who got someone in to do the same works before this scheme and they paid S$20,000.”

Even more popular among residents is the Lift Upgrading Programme and the National Development Ministry said the timing is right to go ahead with it.

Ms Fu said: “We’ve seen that construction costs are showing signs of decline. So, it’s a very good time for us because there are resources that are available in the market. So the government intends to increase its efforts in lift upgrading projects.”

When asked by journalists if the surprise announcement – to include Opposition wards Potong Pasir and Hougang in the programme – was deliberately timed, Ms Fu said the move had been planned for a while.

Potong Pasir MP Chiam See Tong and Hougang MP Low Thia Khiang were not available for comment.

Residents, especially the elderly, in both wards welcomed the news. One elderly resident said: “Upgrading the lifts will definitely benefit the senior citizens because they are old, and maybe they have weaker legs.”

Residents will find out in a few months if their blocks of flats will be among the 1,000 getting the upgrade in this exercise.

The entire project is expected to be completed in 2014. Since the programme started in 2001, about 80 per cent of the eligible blocks built before 1990 have received new lifts.

This year’s LUP had 15 more precincts selected compared to last year.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 13 Jul 2009

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