Friday, June 16, 2006
GE Issue Lift Upgrading
Recently, quite a number of people have written and spoken on the issue of lift upgrading. I would like to put up my view from another angle. This view is formulated after some discussion with some friends.
Many people would be surprised by the "generous promise" of lift upgrading made by PAP government. But one should ask, has the PAP government been so generous towards Singaporeans before?
Many people really think that PAP wanted lift upgrading just for its political gains but there is some more valid technical reasons for having lift landing at each and every floor for old HDB flats.
For a self proclaimed World Class government, it has made a grave mistake in the past by building HDB without lift landing on each and every floor. The reason given as "people at that time like privacy" is really crappy to start with and cannot hold any water. Even for the colonial ruled HK back in 70s, all buildings more than 7 storey high fitted with lifts will have at least one lift that could reach each and every floor. This is called "fireman lift". Yes. This is to adhere to world class fire safety standards but one may ask, why the self proclaimed world class government did not adhere to world class fire safety standards?
What PAP govt is doing right now is to correct past mistake; it is not really about political gain but it is about fixing up past mistakes.
I was told that the fire safety rules have been made in such a way to exempt HDB flats built before a certain year from adhering to the stringent fireman lift requirement. But new HDB flats and buildings will have to adhere to this fire safety standards strictly. One must ask, are HDB flats built before that arbitrary date so "special" that it makes fire fighting so easy that we do not need fireman lifts? Contrary to this, the design of these old HDB flats make fire fighting very difficult.
It is of course really absurd to ask residents to co-pay for such glaring world class mistake made by the world class government. Besides, those living in these old flats are mainly elderly Singaporeans who might have retired and have little or no income at all. Why would we want to force them to pay for the world class government's mistake of the past? And even more ridiculous for PAP to use it to gain political capital!
To be fair to PAP government, it has corrected its oversight of fire safety for HDB flats before, though quietly. Fire access roads to old HDB flats have been created. Fire rated doors have been installed for those flats near the staircase FREE OF CHARGE. But what about fireman lifts? Lift landing on each and every floor to facilitate fire fighting?
I would urge the PAP government to step out of their own political agenda and look at the issue on a more altruistic manner. This is about fire safety of ALL SINGAPOREANS living in old HDB flats we are talking about, regardless whether they vote for PAP or not! I would urge PAP government to make this an urgent need, top priority of all other cosmetic HDB upgrading, to make it a safer living environment for all. If we could save on all other less urgent upgrading, we could well finance all the necessary lift upgrading for ALL OLD HDB flats.
Lift upgrading for lift landing on each floor is an URGENT AND NECESSITY to comply to fire safety standards. It should not become a political party's tool to win votes.
Goh Meng Seng