Singapore’s public housing system suffering from PAP’s neglect?

By: Phillip Ang

Singapore’s bestest public housing system is all propaganda. It is in fact broken as broken can be.

Public housing has to be affordable (no frills, cheap and good) to serve citizens. But how could public housing be affordable (according to PAP) and yet cost over a million bucks?

The present HDB is a far cry from what it used to be before the corporatisation of its Building and Development Division (BDD) in 2003. One year later, HDB Corp was acquired by Temasek Holdings and in 2005, its name was changed to Surbana Corporation Pte Ltd.

After more mergers among Temasek companies with BDD now part of Surbana Jurong, there’s no trace of its HDB origin.

Without a BDD in HDB, not only have building costs escalated, there are no public servants looking after the interests of HDB residents. Understandably, an increasing number of worsening screw ups akan datang.

Even with a BDD, flats constructed in the 70s and 80s were already having issues such as facades falling off HDB blocks.

Just this week, a large concrete slab about the size of a mahjong table fell from the kitchen ceiling of a Marine Parade flat completed in 1974, missing an elderly resident by only 2 metres.

umbrella
The broken public housing system claims that the mahjong-sized concrete slab fell because of “wear and tear”. If “wear and tear” was the cause, then every 43-year old Marine Parade flat must be immediately vacated or kitchens and toilets made inaccessible.

Last month, there was yet another serious case of falling concrete slab which had injured an 80-year old man.  Are there no structural issues?

The broken public housing system claims that the mahjong-sized concrete slab fell because of “wear and tear”. If “wear and tear” was the cause, then every 43-year old Marine Parade flat must be immediately vacated or kitchens and toilets made inaccessible.

Last month, there was yet another serious case of falling concrete slab which had injured an 80-year old man.  Are there no structural issues?

There are also many SIT flats – with no mahjong-sized concrete slabs falling off – constructed more than 70 years ago, decades before HDB was formed.

Year of the Rooster doesn’t mean HDB should talk cock.

Last year, the government decided to conduct proper maintenance and upgrade HDB lifts only after a fatality in Pasir Ris and a number of injuries had occurred elsewhere. Is the government now awaiting falling concrete in our homes to claim another life before conducting proper inspection of all HDB flats, say, older than 30 years?

Today, a for-profit HDB has become a joke. Not to be beaten by SMRT’s waterfall feature in trains, HDB lifts seem to have the same feature installed. Watch video here.

waterfall1.jpg
The town council involved, Tanjong Pagar Town Council, has only issued self-insulting statements to mask HDB’s incompetence and avoid holding civil servants accountable. Waterfall lifts are considered a mystery which took some 18 months to solve.

But Singaporeans should not even wonder why it took so long because HDB, with most functions outsourced, is now as good as a shell company. If all the building experts have not been transferred to Surbana Jurong, it would have taken at most weeks to resolve this simple issue.

Flat buyers should not blame HDB for any issue we face as HDB’s main function is to generate profits for the government.

Design defects? Blame developers. Shoddy workmanship? Blame contractors. Lift defects? Blame Sigma. Waterfall in lift? Blame the weather. Etc.

Unique BBQ pit at Pasir Ris One, a DBSS flat.

toc-bbq

It’s not that HDB is not bothered about oversight but it doesn’t have the manpower. And any work done by Surbana incurs a cost, so cutting corners is preferred.

With foreign construction companies employing almost 100% foreign workers to construct our HDB flats, many issues are to be expected.

Was it a coincidence that “500 new DBSS flat buyers (were) upset over poor quality of flats”?
At another DBSS project in Tampines, why must there be so “Many problems, so (that) DBSS flat owners may get goodwill package”? etc.

tampines20centrale2.png
While the PAP cheers ever-higher public housing prices, it has continued to ignore our broken public housing system. PAP had better start to fix our broken public housing system before another fatality occurs.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s