The subject of keeping pet cats in HDB flats has yet again been brought up in Parliament.
Proposed to allow cats to be kept in HDB flats (again)
Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng, who is also the founder of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), proposed a change in policy to allow residents in HDB flats to keep cats, adding that he has provided "various solutions" to address the concerns raised by the Ministry for National Development (MND).
"I've spent more than a quarter of my life speaking up about a policy of not allowing the keeping of cats in HDB flats," Ng said during the Committee of Supply (COS) debate on Mar. 4.
The Nee Soon GRC MP has repeatedly raised in Parliament the issue regarding the law against allowing cats to be kept as pets in HDB flats over the years.
He previously raised the same question during the COS debate in 2020.
In 2020, he pointed out that it "does not make sense" for cats to be allowed to be kept in condominiums, but not in public flats.
Singaporean in Bangkok with pet cats cannot come back due to HDB rule on cats
During the sitting on Mar. 4, Ng shared that a Singaporean in Bangkok had reached out to him, thanking him for proposing the policy change.
One of the reasons the Singaporean was unable to leave Bangkok and return to Singapore was due to having two cats in Thailand, which would not be able to be kept in a HDB flat here, Ng said he was told.
As the Singaporean was unable to afford private housing in Singapore and could only buy a HDB flat, there would be no place to keep the two pet cats.
"I hope this year and this COS, we will finally have the good news that we will allow the keeping of cats in HDB flats, with the specific conditions that will address any issues of disamenities," Ng said.
Asked if pilot scheme to keep cats in HDB flats can be expanded to more constituencies
Ng further asked if the ongoing pilot scheme to keep cats in HDB flats, the Love Cats programme, could be expanded to more constituencies.
The scheme, first introduced in 2012 is currently only introduced in Chong Pang.
Proposing that the scheme could be extended to other constituencies, he volunteered his own constituency, Nee Soon East.
Want to enable pet ownership in a responsible way
In response to Ng's proposal, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee shared that the ministry is proactively studying the issue.
"We want to enable pet ownership in a responsible way, but we also have to balance a couple of other considerations, including municipal as well as neighbourhood issues," Lee replied.
"What is the point of having a rule that we do not actively enforce?"
Ng raised the same issue in Parliament at least three times in 2020.
In a Facebook post shared last year, Ng mentioned that MND previously replied that HDB will investigate if a cat is causing any disamenities whenever they receive a complaint.
Otherwise, residents will not be asked to remove their cats, Ng said.
MPs also observe HDB residents have cats at home and even take photos with the residents and their cats during house visits, he pointed out.
This prompted him to ask: "What is the point of having a rule that we do not actively enforce?"
Reiterating the same point he made last year, Ng pushed for the change in policy to allow the keeping of pets in HDB flats, unless they cause disamenities to the community.
Top image via Louis Ng/FB, Fasiha Nazren