Mah Bow Tan contradicts himself on HDB flats

From: "truth"
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2009 12:45:06 GMT
Local: Fri, Nov 20 2009 8:45 pm
Subject: Yet another case of papist leegime cheating Singaporeans

truth comment : they jerked up the cost of land to the hdb just to make hdb
showsa lost to prove their illegitimate claim that they are subsidising
singaporeans. this type of government cannot be trusted. they are using creative accounting to fool the people.
they can also do the same with our wealth. one of these days we will wake up
withour reserves gone and they will reason that it is due to genuine mistakes in
investment decisions. very dangerous don't u think ?
Leong Sze Hian

Number of flats sold declined, contradicting Mah's explanation on reasons
for HDB's S$2 billion deficit.

On 7 November, the Minister for National Development, Mr Mah Bow Tan,
explained why the Housing and Development Board has incurred a S$2 billion
loss this year. The loss is twice that of the previous year. According to
Channelnewasia, Mr Mah said:

"It is making a loss and the government gives it grants every year to cover
the losses, mainly because we're giving subsidies to people to buy flats to
make flats affordable to first timers. That is why we're making a loss."

The report went on:

"Mr Mah said the HBD makes a loss each time it gives out subsidies to
first-timer home buyers, and when it sells flats lower than their cost
price. The reason for the high deficit was because more flats were offered
for sale last year, compared to the year before".

Mr Mah's remarks seem to contradict the statistics provided in the HDB's
latest annual report.

According to the annual report, HDB revealed that "the number of flats sold
under the home ownership scheme this year was 4,738, which was 7,253 less
than last year".

According to its section titled "Key statistics", the "demand for flats" was
9,870 Home Ownership flats for 2008/2009, compared to 12,449 for 2007/2008;
and the "Building statistics - Dwelling units" was 3,154 in 2008 compared to
5,063 in 2007.

All these numbers show that the number of flats sold have declined, rather
than increased.

The number of flats sold under the home ownership scheme declined by 60 per
cent, "Demand for flats" declined by 21 per cent, and "Building statistics -
Dwelling units" declined by 38 per cent, for the last year.

So, how is it possible then that "the reason for the high deficit ($2
billion) was because more flats were offered for sale last year, compared to
the year before", when the HDB statistics show that flats' building, demand
and sales, all declined substantially last year compared to the year before?

Can the Minister clarify his statement on the reasons for the doubling of
the deficit from $1 billion to $2 billion for the last year?

As for Mr Mah's assurance that HDB "sells flats lower than their cost price",
the HDB has not disclosed the breakdown of the cost of building flats,
despite letters to newspaper forums requesting for this information, almost
every year.

The last time this information was disclosed was in 1981, when the then
National Development Minister Mr Teh Cheang Wan, disclosed the land and
construction cost, as well as the subsidy and selling price, of the various
flat types in six districts.

For example, a three-room flat in the central core region, cost $53,700 to
construct and incurred a land cost of $40,000, and sold for $57,100.


Picture from Straits Times.

Parliament will sit at 1.30 pm on Monday, 23 November. The following are
some of the questions tabled for the Ministry of National Development:

Mr Chiam See Tong: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what it
costs the government to build a 3-room, 4-room and 5-room HDB flat; (b) what
is the profit margin which HDB adds to the cost for each of these categories
of flats when it sells them to the public; and (c) whether HDB bases the
selling price of flats on the prevailing market price of these flats.

Er Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how many
new Build-To-Order flats are presently available for selection; and (b) how
do the supply and demand factors influence the cost of these flats.

Mdm Cynthia Phua: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is
the projected supply and demand of HDB flats in the next 5 years; (b) what
are the parameters that are taken into account in the projection of the
supply and demand of flats; (c) whether the Ministry has considered an
annual buffer number of ready flats and, if so, what is the number and the
parameters in arriving at that number; and (d) what measures will the
Ministry consider in ensuring that first-timers get a new HDB flat within 3

Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim: To ask the Minister for National Development
what is the current waiting time and the number/percentage of couples
applying for new HDB flats under the Fiance/Fiancee Scheme.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is
the total number of permanent residents (PRs) who own HDB flats and the
distribution pattern of PRs in the various public housing estates; (b)
whether his Ministry will ensure that there is a good mix of PRs in the
various housing estates to encourage better integration with Singaporeans;
and (c) whether his Ministry will consider expanding the current policy on
racial mix for HDB flats to include PRs.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how many
HDB tenants have been evicted from HDB rental flats for the past 12 months
due to illegal sub-letting or inability to pay rental; and (b) what are HDB's
plans to provide alternative housing for such evicted tenants if they are
unable to find alternative accommodation.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for National Development whether his
Ministry will review the household income ceiling for rental flats to take
into account inflation and the increased cost of living, before pegging
rental rates at 30% or 50% of the market rate.

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