Land policy does not favour the rich

The debate over terminology such as “lessee” or “owner” is largely academic and is much ado about nothing.

I recently watched a documentary from Hong Kong which examined why Singapore has been successful in housing its population while people in Hong Kong are facing so many problems.

In an interview with Singapore’s former master planner Liu Thai Ker, he highlighted an important difference – that Hong Kong has a lot of land but most is considered private and held in perpetuity by its owners, whereas in Singapore, the majority of the land is used for public housing, and even private land can be acquired by the Government for development if required.

After watching the show, I am greatly heartened by the fact that we have a Government that looks after the interests of the majority rather than catering to only the rich.

In the show, Hong Kongers who live in Singapore expressed great admiration for the spacious apartments and meticulously planned townships here, compared with those in their city.

In short, whether it is a 99-year lease or freehold lease, it is a fallacy to think that one can own something in perpetuity.

Instead of arguing over trivialities, we should count our blessings that the majority of us have a place that we can call home for as long as we live.

 

Seah Yam Meng

 

* Letter first appeared on ST Forum and is reproduced here for discussion.

 

 

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30 Responses to “Land policy does not favour the rich”

  • Wake up your idea:

    Hello ah meng you’re talking rubbish. Orang utans are definitely smarter than you.

    Have you not read or heard about GCBs in exclusive districts which stand for Good Class Bungalows. The well heeled, superwealthy, elite class including many S$million ministers like woody and hali live in them.

    So this land policy is there to house ah pehs and cardboard collector aunties, is it hoh?

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  • oxygen:

    WHO SAYS RUBBER BACKBONE is the same as one made of steel?

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  • opposition dude:

    This article is funny, we should count our blessings indeed!

    The PAP should not have told us all the rubbish about owning our homes in the first place when there is a 99 year lease attached to it. No one wants to pay $600k for a resale 5 room and find out that they sell it at a loss decades later. What about the money they paid back then?

    The PAP is oversimplifying the issue when they say to buy a home prudently. BTOs aren’t exactly cheap when you have a 25 year loan hanging over your head you know.

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  • Loong Piah Mann:

    Hey! Know what? You should call yourself Seah-Lan Meng instead of Seah… whatever! (I’m not usually rude to others but when I see a real stupid brainless idiot, I just feel disgusted.)

    Seah-Lan Meng! So we should count our blessings while the govt count our monies and laugh all the way to the bank, huh?

    You talked as if govt gave every citizens a flat for free and we should be grateful. Lessee or owner is trivial, ya? But hey, idiot! Do you even know that our HDB flats were bought at high prices?! One nephew of mine has to pay almost $350k for a BTO 4-rm while another has paid $600k for a resale 5-rm.

    Fact remains they paid huge sums of monies for their flats but eventually, they’ll be left with nothing, no money and no home because their flats will belong to the govt after 99yrs! So, should they still have to be grateful to the govt, Seah-Lan Meng?

    First we heard, CPF money is not our money. Now we realised, our HDB flats will not be our flats eventually. What next?

    Apparently, the scariest thieves in sg wear white! First they take our CPF money then they take our HDB flats. And there’re still brainless idiots like Seah-Lan Meng who would still thank the thieves. Holee Shit! Instead of counting our blessings, we better start counting the bad things they’ve done to us and send them behind bars one day.

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  • Toyota Corolla:

    This is uniquely Singapore where someone is willing to pay $80,000 for a Toyota Corolla and only for 10 years.

    Yes Sir, Yes Sir three bags full.

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    Ha-ha-ha-ha! Hong Kong have lots of land but much of it are uninhabitable (mountainous areas/farmlands in New Territories). And Hong Kongers are more inclined to emigrate for a better life compared to S’poreans (who like frogs are contented to bask in warming waters soon to reach boiling point).
    People like Seah Yam Meng fooled themselves into thinking that they are blessed in S’pore – not realising that there’s a bigger world out there! Seah Yam Meng is contented with eating porridge & salted vegetables when others (PAP Ministers/cronies) are enjoying steak & caviar. What a fool!

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  • Always Remember:

    issue is not about technicality of public vs private land, nor 99yrs lease vs freehold.

    It is all about what you said, what you promised, and especially what you have for 50+ years done to the ordinary Singaporean you called “Home Owners”

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  • VTO-PAP:

    Maybe Seah is correct innterms of perpetuality if he compares our primilage to life after death. Is a a monk or hermit?

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  • Anonymously:

    Agree that Singapore public housing flats are well designed and spacious and the envy of Hong Kong. BUT THAT IS HISTORY. TODAY THE FLATS ARE NO LONGER SPACIOUS AND THE NEW HDB AND SURROUNDING ARE CONCRETE TALL JUNGLES, NO SPACE TO DELIVER GOODS OR JUST WAIT IN A CAR, EVERYTHING MUST GO UP MULTI STOREY CARPARKS. IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE OVERPOPULATING SINGAPORE THAT CAUSE THIS PROBLEM.

    Agree that freehold cannot be the status quo for every building. BUT IT SHOULD THEREFORE IMPLY THAT LEASEHOLD PUBLIC HOUSING BE CHEAP AND FREE OF LAND COST AND SPECULATIVE ELEMENTS, AND EXTENSION OF LEASE SHOULD BEST BE LEFT AS A POSSIBILITY INSTEAD OF AN IMPOSSIBLITY. INSTEAD THE GOVT LIES AND SPINS A OPPOSITE PICTURE OF PERMANENT PRICE APPRECIATION AND MAKES MONEY FROM THE SPECULATIVE UPTRENDS, EVEN COLLECT PROPERTY TAX UNASHAMED FROM LESSEES WHO DONT EVEN HAVE STRATA TITLE UNLIKE PRIVATE LEASEHOLDS.

    HOW COULD ANYONE BE HAPPY WITH AN INSINCERE GOVERNMENT?

    THE WRITER SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT FOREIGN DOCUMENTARIES CARRY THEIR OWN AGENDA. MAKING SINGAPORE GOOD TO HONGKONG WILL PUT PRESSURE ON HKG GOVT. ANOTHER CLASSIC EXAMPLE IS TAIWAN CHANNEL FOREVER PRAISING SG MILITARY STRENGTH. WE ALL KNOW ITS A JOKE RIGHT, UNLESS YOU HAVE A LOW IQ.

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  • Great Asia:

    Seow!

    Under the evil feudal lord rule, your papa and mama had been warned not to oppose the self-serving PAPA, or their HDB flats will be taken away.

    How can it be taken away if the flat belonged to your papa and mama.

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  • Great Asia:

    What’s the difference?

    In Hong Kong, the politicians and property tycoons are sleeping in the same bed and they are making love.

    In Singapore, the politicians and property tycoons are sleeping in the same bed and they are hugging tight.

    I have said this for almost 20 years liao.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • Anonymously:

    The difference between humans and animals is that the latter exist in the present only and is incapable of learning from past or projecting into the future. So as long as the animal is fed, at the particular moment, it doesn’t matter the background of the Feeder, his past misdeeds or his future intentions; the animal simply adores anyone who avails it of sustenance at a single point of time.
    Humans are ranked in intelligence according to how well they can prepare for the future, not enjoy the present.
    Humans are very sophisticated. Sometimes, by feigning stupidity, it could extract handsome rewards over a long term, in unseen ways.
    We can’t really tell who is smart or who is stupid, can we?

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  • HarderTruths:

    Oh for f*ck’s sake….

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  • UniQ:

    That is why i hv more or less given up hope since the last 2 GEs. When you have monkeys like the thread starter that still do not get the BIG Picture….

    Sigh….

    Lease = No Ownership ie;
    You dont pay high
    Pricing + Taxes + other Add-Ons + high
    Interest Rates for a Leased unit ?
    Amting to Tens of Thousands of any
    Sinkies.
    Including the false declarations of
    Asset Enhancement to rally more votes
    To maintain their high earnings.
    LEASEE DO NOT MAKE A JUDGEMENT CALL
    But this has slapped many Sinkies
    In the face with high financial
    burden with ever escalating
    cost increment under the Gahmen whims
    n Fancy causing many lower n middle
    income families in dire.

    Ownership = Says it all.
    One owns it n face the
    Good n Bad the Economy wave lands
    On your asset/s.
    OWNER MAKE A JUDGMENT CALL.

    This conclude that Sinkies mentality n thoughts are bafflingly shallow compare to the world equivelant at large. Like I said, unless my mother land turns better, I’ll rather save myself first then sinks with those having a kidney rather than a brain up there.

    I get very sad when i have given half my life for this country n even on events ready to sacrifice my life for this country turning into this sad diabolical state of total brainwashing of once a great nation.

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  • Wrong to pay pty tax on HDB:

    opposition dude:
    This article is funny, we should count our blessings indeed!

    The PAP should not have told us all the rubbish about owning our homes in the first place when there is a 99 year lease attached to it. No one wants to pay $600k for a resale 5 room and find out that they sell it at a loss decades later. What about the money they paid back then?

    The PAP is oversimplifying the issue when they say to buy a home prudently. BTOs aren’t exactly cheap when you have a 25 year loan hanging over your head you know.

    well said, bro.

    pap should not have misled citizens. HDB is not ownership without strata title. and no HDB rentee should pay property tax since the strata title owner is HDB.

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  • PrideB4fall:

    You need heart and soul, which is lacking in the builders or nation builder, to create a living community. What you have are either fast cook or slow cook pot for housing frogs.

    No city has been immune to slow burn and at least a third of their city are living in inhumane conditions or mental illness due to modern stress or insecurities.

    Bear in mind your birth rates are down, you are over reliant on foreigners and working till death for your concrete.

    Your neighbours largely dont even know each other names(proper) what community?

    For money, they will sell away their concrete(HOME) or country for greener pa$ture
    ( you can count on them to lack and leave In time of war.)

    Wrong move PAP. Even your elect/leaders lick the dollar bill or balls for pride.

    !

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  • True facts:

    Paid COE high to feed pappies million dollars salaries.

    All having good life while the poor collect cardboard and no jobs some driving grab.

    This is Singapore.

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  • Flabbergasted:

    This a**h*le must be whoring for PAP.

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  • 70%share half of the blame:

    Mr Seah Yam meng, you seem to be so easily satisfied with life n the way things are.
    no offence and thank you for your contribution here.
    But plse look at the bigger picture.
    SGs deserve more and better.
    Our country did not rise to 1st world by itself or by the job this mediocre gov had done.
    Credit only goes to our fathers, forefathers and of course the 1G leaders..

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  • Malaysia boleh Singapore bodoh:

    Seah Yam Meng is wrong. He argues it could be worse like Hong Kong when it should really be much better because State Land is free i.e., the cost to Government is zero because it never had to buy it. When HDB starting buying free State Land at market prices to build flat sharply increasing the price of flats it led to a property bubble lasting for decades. Price of HDB flats more than doubled since LHL became PM. This depleted the CPF account of Singaporeans and screwed young Singaporeans who have not bought their HDB flat. To make matters worse, LHL’s pro-alien policies depressed local wages, or worse, caused many Singaporeans to lose their job to “cheap” (no CPF) foreigners. Next GE is payback time. VOTE FOR REGIME CHANGE.

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  • oxygen:

    THOSE WITH RUBBER BACKBONE INSTEAD OF STEEL are ingenious of HOLOCAUST DENIAL of all things evil, cunning, deceptive and poisonous.

    They are like hissing rattlesnake – deadly to all other species if bitten by them.

    blob:https://www.youtube.com/d66ccee1-44da-4de5-b5f0-ef8f717bfb52

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  • John Lim:

    Seah Yam Meng, are you serious?

    “The debate over terminology such as “lessee” or “owner” is largely academic and is much ado about nothing.”

    1. “much ado about nothing”? Check the dictionary and find out what “lessee”
    and “owner” mean!

    2. “whether it is a 99-year lease or freehold lease, it is a fallacy to think that one can own something in perpetuity.”

    Again check the dictionary and find out what “99-year lease”and “freehold” nean!

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    Rabble-rouser:
    Ha-ha-ha-ha! Hong Kong have lots of land but much of it are uninhabitable (mountainous areas/farmlands in New Territories). And Hong Kongers are more inclined to emigrate for a better life compared to S’poreans (who like frogs are contented to bask in warming waters soon to reach boiling point).
    People like Seah Yam Meng fooled themselves into thinking that they are blessed in S’pore – not realising that there’s a bigger world out there! Seah Yam Meng is contented with eating porridge & salted vegetables when others (PAP Ministers/cronies) are enjoying steak & caviar. What a fool!

    Rr…Honkongers have a BRIDGE to cross…CHINA… a choice that we have, to cross the causeway where we are NOT really welcome…I spend 3 years in HONG KONG and know that Singapore is a long way in Comparison and this guy who wrote the article I believe had NEVER stepped out of Singapore but for a short Holiday…the typical CONDITIONED sheep until Reality Hits them in the Illusion a Bastard created!!!

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  • oxygen:

    @ Seah Yam Meng

    MATE, I THINK YOU WATCH THE WRONG SHOW lah. Was that some kind of a PORN – not the KINKY kind??. I meant “porn political” that is “politically correct” ones.

    But I got A GREAT IDEA FOR YOU!

    Write in soon to ST to STRONGLY RECOMMEND that the govt immediately acquire those land wastefully consumed by private housing in district 9, 10 and 11 for the price of a song – just like that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I recalled under the then (compulsorily acquired) Land Acquisition Act. The rich peasant-owners then were recompensated for the lost of the legal property (LAND) for not much more than the price they paid to enjoy a quick BONK of some SEXY PRETTY BIRD in Geylang.

    The same compensation could also be paid to the owners of landed property in district 9, 10, 11 for the loss of their LAND (PROPERTY in law definition). The profits from those land theft by violence of law can then be given to the homeless elderly sleeping in Kopitiam at night in Zion Road Hawker Centre.

    THAT WAAY THE GOVERNMENT CAN BETTER LOOK AFTER THE INTEREST OF THE THE MAJORITY YOU SO FERVENTLY CHAMPIONED OF THIS CAUSE especially the destituted homeless among the “mediocre” peasants.

    HOW DOES MY SUGGESTION GRABS YOU???

    Please revert back to me. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE A BILLION!

    Seah Yam Meng:After watching the show, I am greatly heartened by the fact that we have a Government that looks after the interests of the majority rather than catering to only the rich.

    If you don’t revert back, peasants must be forgiven that you are an IDIOT!

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  • G-D-B Nexus:

    It would be helpful to understand the workings of the government-developer-banker (G-D-B) nexus, and its corrosive impact on society, in particular the family. In any case, there has been the overt celebration of that nexus by naming new public hospitals in Singapore after property developers or real estate tycoons, e.g. Ng Teng Fong.

    PART 1

    Let’s start with the following excerpt from a report titled “The “Hong Kong”-ization of Singapore Property” dated 30 Sep 2013:

    http://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/hong-kong-ization-singapore-property-073850731.html

    QUOTE
    … the shrinking of flats and a redefinition of what a “bedroom” stands for. Whereas in the past a “bedroom” referred to a room that was big enough to comfortably fit a queen-sized bed, two side tables and a wardrobe, “bedrooms” in some projects cannot even fit a standard-sized double bed.

    With property prices rising faster than incomes in recent years, and the government’s cooling measures and debt curbs constraining affordability, this “Hong Kong”-ization of Singapore property has become an inevitable trend as developers design units that people are willing and able to buy (but perhaps not willing to live in), while propping up their sales and margins.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen a Hong Kong apartment before, but I once visited one where you could only open the bedroom door halfway as it was blocked by the single bed in the room. And there was nothing else that could fit into the room – just the single bed. And perhaps you’ve heard of the toilets so small that you could only enter it by reversing in.
    UNQUOTE

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  • RSH = Rubbish Shit Hole:

    Is there such a thing as a freehold lease?

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  • G-D-B Nexus:

    Government-Developer-Banker (G-D-B) Nexus (continued)

    PART 2

    http://atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/NH02Cb01.html

    Aug 2, 2012

    The myth of a free Hong Kong economy
    By Eddie Leung and Pepe Escobar

    QUOTE
    … The dark secret at the heart of Hong Kong is the unmitigated collusion between the government and a property cartel – controlled by just a few tycoons; the Lis, the Kwoks, the Lees, the Chengs, the Pao and Woo duo, and the Kadoories (more about them on part 2 of this report). These tycoons and their close business associates also happen to dominate seats on the 1,200-member Election Committee that chooses Hong Kong’s chief executive.

    … When the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed in December 1984, sealing the 1997 handover, … The champagne popped all around Paragraph 4 of Annex III of the Joint Declaration; it limited the amount of land that could be granted in Hong Kong in any one year to just 50 hectares. That also paved the way for a Land Commission, which could grant extra land when the ceiling was attained. Essentially this set up guaranteed that land in Hong Kong would always be in short supply – thus it would always be expensive. Ergo, the perennially high property prices.
    UNQUOTE

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  • Delutional ?:

    the AristoCATs and 70% like to -
    > Avoid the issue,
    > Reframe the issue
    “hey, we r better than the region – blah blah”.

    -
    Their hi education equipped them to use “sophisticated” language in argument to fool the sheep.
    -
    Remember – “good is enemy of the best”. :(
    -
    Remember the Ballot Box

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  • Straight "A"s Marlboro Tan:

    both situatios HK and Sink dont make things easier for peasants… Wake up yr idea…

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  • nihon:

    seah is completely brainwashed, poison is too deep.

    grateful for roof over head? it is not free but cost almost your entire con peoples’ fund n retirement.

    hk? its just propaganda. compare to the worst, you are better off.

    this seah is a real bast**d jealous of the leech, and playing the peasants against them. there are freehold properties and the white bastards own many houses.

    after being conned, he said the conman is good.

    even psychuatrist can’t cure seah lan.

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