First of all, how do we end up with the most highly paid minister/politician in the world that could not anticipate problems at all? Mah Bow Tan says he was "Caught off guard" but the government has all the data of increases in PR numbers and such!!! Besides, granting PRs is under the prerogative of the government and there is absolutely no reasons for them to claim "I don't know"!
PAP has made many Singaporeans to believe that they are the brightest and the best, elites of the elites, cream of the crops, but now, he is saying that he couldn't possible to know the sudden surge in demand that cause the spike in HDB prices? It begs the question that if he is not so extraordinary and no different from others, why the hell are we asked to pay millions for his annual salary?
Secondly, the crux of the matter is not about being caught off guard by the sudden surge in demand. The surge is not sudden anyway because for the last two three years, we have been opening up our flood gates for PRs and FTs! Even so, the problem lies in the pricing mechanism. Even if he knew that there is going to be a surge in the resale market prices, what could he possibly do with the present pricing mechanism set up by him?
Last but not least, the worse thing for him to say is that Singaporeans could only have two options, one is the present one while the other is have a fixed price for new HDB flats while citizens have to return the flats to HDB instead of selling in resale market! Why? Why can't HDB sell new flats at fixed price to citizens while allowing citizens to keep whatever profits they earn from resale market? HDB flats are built on land that mostly acquired from citizens at CHEAP dirt prices.
It is a social contract between the citizens and the government that such land acquisitions are made possible for the government to redistribute the land to many other citizens for the common good like housing. If citizens wanted to profit from such sale of their HDB flats, so be it! It is after all the sacrifices made by other citizens whose land are being acquired at cheap dirt price by the government that makes such profits by other citizens possible. Why would HDB be the beneficiary of such sacrifices?
Moreover, this will add value to our citizenship. It is a privilege of being the citizens of this nation that we enjoy the fruits and profits of the influx of PRs!
Even at this moment, HDB does require sellers of HDB flats to pay a portion of their "profits" to HDB if they are to buy their second flat. So, does this sound as if we are just renting the flats from HDB as well?
It seems that such complacency of the highest paid politicians in the world is totally unacceptable. The Minister in charge of water works could well give excuses for the flooding in Bukit Timah as "one freak event in 50 years" but ironically, there are still many floods in the past as well as recently!
No apology but just plenty of excuses from Mah Bow Tan!
This is a problem when Singaporeans agree "grudgingly" to give PAP the monopoly of power as well as the highest pay in the world. There are no incentive for them to "work hard" and "strive harder" anymore. Just like Mr. Lee Kuan Yew says, "spurs are not on their hides" because there is no competition, no extraction of accountability but the only difference is that it has become our problems instead of the ministers!
As MM Lee believes, human beings are just like animals, we just need to discipline them. Should we, as citizens, "discipline" our ministers now? To stick spurs under their hides so that they could work harder for their top pay?
We should prove MM Lee wrong that Singaporeans are not just "Champion grumblers". We should prove to him that we are people who could really put the spurs into the hides of the ministers and PAP's rule if they under perform, less hardworking, less driving, less striving... whatever...
Vote Mah Bow Tan out!
Goh Meng Seng
From Today newspaper.
Asset that keeps growing
by Esther Ng
05:55 AM Dec 30, 2009
SINGAPORE - For those would-be flat buyers who hope property prices do not rise, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan paints an alternative scenario.
Would they prefer a fixed-price system, whereby home-owners, when they want to sell their Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat, must return it to the authorities for the price they paid for it?
In this scenario, no one is allowed to profit from the sale of the flat. As a result, prices are kept low.
"It's almost like renting the flat to somebody," Mr Mah said as he spoke to MediaCorp about housing issues in a year when even he was "caught off guard" by how the HDB resale market trended north in a recession year.
"Nobody, no matter how prescient, no matter how clever, would have been able to predict that this was what was going to happen," he said.
Nonetheless, Mr Mah believes the current system is far superior to one that keeps housing cheap through a non-market-based system.
"Because it gives greater benefits to the home-owner. It gives them a stake in Singapore ... it also allows them to profit from the growth that Singapore enjoys because as we grow, the flat value goes up," he said.
"Once they own the flat, it's an asset. And this asset can be cashed out in old age, be used to finance their retirement. It's a store of value for them."
Mr Mah sees no conflict in the twin objectives of providing affordable housing and creating assets for Singaporeans that will grow over time.
"We have to do both for the simple reason that a flat buyer today will be a flat owner tomorrow ... For that to happen, we must make sure that flats are affordable," he said.
"Otherwise, how can the flat buyer be an owner?"
Prices are still affordable, said Mr Mah, as evidenced by how 80 per cent of Singaporeans who buy new flats can pay for their mortgages using only 21 per cent or less of their income - in other words, using only their CPF contributions.
'At least one BTO launch a month'
Looking to next year, Mr Mah said the opening of the two integrated resorts will lead to higher demand for housing. "But we'll increase the supply as
"We hope demand will go up because that means the two IRs are successful, and if the two IRs are successful, tourism numbers will go up and employment will go up and the economy will benefit."
Pundits are predicting that property prices, public housing included, will continue to increase next year.
The beneficiaries of this, and of any property upturn in general, will be those who own more than one property, according to Ngee Ann Polytechnic real estate lecturer Nicholas Mak, as they can "keep one for themselves, sell one off or rent the other one out".
For flat buyers waiting for prices to dip first, Mr Mak added: "No one knows when the next cycle will take place, or where the bottom is, so they have to get on the bandwagon."
According to Mr Mah, people who bought homes because they were "afraid prices are going to go up even further" contributed to rising prices this year, with pent-up demand and the "usual demand" from first-time buyers and permanent residents being the other factors.
Flat buyers, he said, can look forward to at least one Build-To-Order launch a month next year, which translates to some 12,000 new flats on offer.
"They will be in good locations, not necessarily in mature estates, but in newer towns near MRT stations, facilities in exciting neighbourhoods, so don't rush," said Mr Mah.