By: Phillip Ang
If you marvel at PAP’s public housing miracle, chances are, you:
– Are ignorant.
– Have not given the ‘miracle’ any thought.
– Do not care if our children are screwed by 25/30 years of high housing mortgages.
– All of the above.
Public housing has always been a tool used by PAP to control citizens. Want estate upgrading? Vote for PAP. What about prioritising lift upgrading for estates with more elderly citizens? Sorry, don’t vote for PAP then you die your own business applies.
Many silly Singaporeans have even mistakenly thought that Lau Goh and LKY were better than Nostradamus when they predicted housing prices would go up, up and away.
But given the total control of both demand (population increase via immigration) and supply (total control of finite land), any Ahmad or Ah Kow could have also done likewise.
Our housing miracle comes at a price for ordinary citizens – retirement inadequacy and increasing poverty. Housing is not an investment but a necessary consumption. It’s only an investment for PAP elites who have multiple properties.
What Lau Goh and other leaders did – channel current retirement funds and commit billions of future CPF savings into housing. How not to enhance our HDB ‘assets’ like that?
And after being hit by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, PAP legislated the use of CPF Special Account for payment of housing mortgages. With billions available 24/7 to support exorbitant housing prices, how can HDB flats ever be affordable?
To better understand our public housing ‘miracle”, let’s take a look at the history of HDB construction activities and policy tools to support increasingly higher prices.
From the above, we can clearly see there was no proper planning. In the 1970s and 1980s, PAP was even willing to increase business costs by increasing CPF contributions to 50% of wages and allocating almost all retirement savings to housing.
From 1981 to 1985, PAP constructed 189,000 dwelling units but suddenly forgot Singaporeans had housing needs between 2006 and 2010, constructing only 30,000 units. The unbelievable fluctuation in numbers confirms PAP’s bad planning. Or rather no planning.
The PAP had intentionally ramped up housing prices because it not only benefited PAP elites and wealthy Singaporeans, the illusion of a wealthy state also attracts wealthy foreigners.
But from the collapse of high-end property prices such as those with a ‘Sentosa’ prefix, wealthy foreigners should have seen through the illusion by now and learnt their lessons.
During Lau Goh’s rule, public housing prices shot up 400% within six years – asset enhancement we were told. After the bubble had burst, PAP refused to acknowledge their mistakes but set out on another round of asset enhancement with their open leg foreign talent policy.
PAP has been addicted to the population growth shortcut to drive economic growth because it has no idea on how to increase productivity. This has resulted in our housing bubble. We have actually passed the point of no return and that is the reason why PAP could not allow any meaningful debate on the PWP.
Singaporeans will ultimate pay the price for PAP’s folly.