Friday, March 9, 2007

Singapore. You do not own your HDB flat. You are a renter.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We read everywhere in the Singapore media that almost all Singaporeans own their homes. This lie has been so repeatedly hammered into our minds that almost everyone thinks it is true. This statement cannot be further from the truth. We are talking here of HDB flats where 90% of Singaporeans live.

HDB flats are 100 year leasehold. It is not freehold. Therefore once you live in it for 5 years, you can live in it only for 95 years more and so on. After a while the remaining period in the lease diminishes, and so does the value of it. No one in his right mind would want to purchase a house with only 5o years left for instance. By that time, it's value has progressively diminished, until at the end it becomes worthless. Just like a car. A 10 year old car is worth less that a new one. Anyone can see that a HDB flat is a product whose value diminishes over time, it does not appreciate. This is leasehold, unlike freehold where the property belongs to you and you alone, for perpetuity. Freehold property appreciates in value over time. Leasehold depreciates.

Furthermore, the HDB lease that you sign has so many penalty clauses giving the HDB the right to take you flat at the slightest reason or no reason at all, so much so that in effect, you live in your HDB flat at the pleasure of the Lee government. Not by reason of your right. If the Lee administration does not like you anymore, they can re-possess your flat, and throw you out onto Toa Payoh Lorong 1 in a second. Take it from me, you live in that flat at Lee's pleasure, not by right. Sorry to give you the bad news. And further bad news is that the longer you stay in that flat, the less it is worth.

But your Lee Kuan Yew cleverly spins a yarn that you own it. On March 7, 2001, Mr Lee Kuan Yew told the Straits Times "the government solved the housing problem by building public housing using CPF money. These flats are then sold to Singaporeans at cost price".

My dear Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Stop lying now. Firstly they are not sold to Singaporeans, they are leased for 100 years. There is a world of difference there. Furthermore you did not reveal at your press statement that these 100 year leases have clauses that permit you to take the flats back with or without any provocation. And thirdly, are you not lying when you say it is leased at cost price, when you repeatedly refuse to reveal the true cost of building these flats?

You then go on to say that after 20 or 30 years you upgrade the flats and re-sell them at cost price, subsidizing 80% of the costs. Now tell me old boy if in fact it is really true that you subsidize 80% of the costs, and if so, why is the reluctance on your part to reveal the building costs? In any case, why should anyone be interested in purchasing an "upgraded" flat which has only 70 years left on the lease, when most of it's value has been depleted.

In any case, what guarantee is there that you will not exercise the clause to redeem the flat and throw out the poor occupant on the street, because he has run into disfavour for joining the SDP!

My advice to Mr. Lee is this. It is not 1956 anymore. Believe it or not, we have the Internet. You can't get away like you did in the past by telling fairy tales. You see, there are many like me who can say what really happened, and you cannot stop it. As much as 70% of the younger generation in Singapore rely on the Internet for their news. They read what I write. They read what others write. They then begin to see there is something wrong in what you say. You see, Mr. Lee, credibility is very important. Crucial. With loss of credibility there is loss of respect. That is what is happening to you.

So my dear readers, HDB flats are not yours, they belong to the Lee government. It is not freehold. Only a 100 year leasehold with the option of Lee and company to terminate the lease and throw you out anytime they want.

Look out for these pages for more on perfidy duplicity in that island.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538,
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914 EMail:

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