New SERS rehousing options offered in Ang Mo Kio will apply to future similar projects: Desmond Lee

Lee explained that authorities seek to strike a good balance in meeting the needs of existing residents, while redeveloping the site for future housing needs.

Fiona Tan | July 05, 2022, 12:30 AM

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The new rehousing options offered to some flat owners in the Ang Mo Kio Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) exercise will apply to future acquisition exercises, including the one in Marsiling, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee on Monday (Jul 4).

Lee was responding to an adjournment motion by Nadia Samdin, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, who spoke in Mandarin, English and Malay, and raised concerns held by her residents regarding the SERS exercise.

Additional rehousing options for Ang Mo Kio residents affected by SERS

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced these new rehousing options over the weekend.

Lee listed these options in detail in Parliament today:

  1. Purchase a similar flat type – either 3-or 4-room – at the replacement site with a 50-year lease. This is applicable for the 540 or so flat owners aged 45 and above at the time SERS was announced.
  2. Opt for the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) for their existing SERS flats and purchase a new replacement flat of the same flat type on a short-lease. This is applicable for flat owners aged 65 and above.

Additionally, Lee said the HDB will render assistance to younger SERS flat owners who may encounter difficulties when buying a new replacement flat with a 99-year lease or a resale flat, including helping them with housing loans if necessary.

Recognise that older SERS flat owners face specific challenges

These additional rehousing options were to cater to older SERS flat owners as the Government acknowledged that they may face specific challenges as a result of the exercise.

Some seniors, for instance, may favour a similar sized flat in a familiar location with a shorter lease over a brand new flat with a 99-year lease.

Such preferences may be more common in the future as the flats involved in future SERS exercises are likely to be older and have fewer years remaining in their lease.

A flat with a 50-year lease is not only comparable with the SERS flat's remaining lease, in terms of tenure, but also a more affordable option "as a shorter lease flat would be more affordable than a longer lease flat", Lee said.

Lee noted that SERS flat owners should not need to top up for a replacement flat of the same type, and most of them will not need to top up for a replacement flat of the same size.

NCMP Leong filed a petition

Earlier in parliament today, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai asked for an update on a petition he filed earlier on Jul. 4 morning on the compensation package for the SERS in Ang Mo Kio.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Christopher de Souza replied that there were "a few concerns" with the petition and the Clerk needed time to ensure that the petition is in accordance with the Standing Orders of Parliament.

De Souza also noted that the issue will be covered in an adjournment motion by Samdin.

Striking a good balance between needs of existing residents and future housing needs

Lee concluded by explaining that authorities “seek to strike a good balance” in meeting the needs of existing residents, while redeveloping the site for future housing needs for the SERS exercise.

"There has been no change to our approach on the compensation to residents. But with the SERS flats being older, we have now introduced a wider range of rehousing options and choices for residents who can then decide which one best meets their needs," he said.

Lee, however, recognised that residents have different expectations and needs.

"HDB will look at each of these residents’ needs and concerns. But while they try their best, they may not be able to meet everyone’s expectations perfectly," he added.

Lee said that MND understands that this is a big decision and HDB will also provide ample time for residents to decide.

Lee concluded by thanking Samdin for her hard work and personal efforts to represent her residents' concerns, and for working closely with the Ministry of National Development to address the residents' worries.

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