Khaw Boon Wan: Staying in HDB flat for 5 years is like males serving NS for 2 years

It's a national duty for upper-income group to mingle with their less well-off brethen.

Belmont Lay| June 25, 06:09 PM

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan was on MediaCorp’s Chinese-language station Capital 95.8FM for a live radio talk show on June 23, 2015.

While on it, Khaw announced the most recent populist policy where the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will raise the income ceilings for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats and Executive Condominiums (ECs) -- echoing his earlier hint in March 2015.

Currently, the income ceilings for BTO flats and ECs are S$10,000 and S$12,000, respectively. In August 2011, these were each raised by S$2,000 -- some 17 years after the limits were previously revised.

According to Khaw, this is due to the fact that income levels have increased over the last four years, where about 80 per cent of Singaporeans meet the existing BTO income ceiling. Median monthly household income from work was S$8,292 last year, up from S$7,037 in 2011, based on data from the Department of Statistics.

And it was while pushing out this populist policy, which could be rolled out as soon as August or September, he said:

"If you ask for my personal opinion, I think (there is) a need to do some adjustments and I generally prefer to give every Singaporean couple a chance of living in HDB. You may come from say an upper-income group. You do not need an HDB flat," the minister said.

"But I feel that it's good for all Singaporeans, or almost all Singaporeans to have a chance of living in HDB for 5 years, and interact with the community, I think it's part and parcel of a Singaporean way of life. It's just like males go for National Service, and I think if we can give them this opportunity of staying in HDB towns, I think there are more positives than negatives."

So, the message is clear: Upper-income Singaporeans can look forward to staying in government-subsidised public housing.

Anticipating having them as neighbours for five years of national service, after which, they can move to their proper district 9 and 10 homes.


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