The SDA has spoken to residents affected by the SERS project involving Blocks 562 to 565 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3.
Their concerns and worries are valid, not just for them but for all Singaporeans.
Because, a government that prizes growth at all cost, even if it comes at the expense of the people’s well-being, will only bring about more suffering down the road for all of us.
Essentially, for many residents entwined in this debacle, the government is seizing their homes and forcing them to move or downgrade their lifestyle.
Some who expected a SERS windfall have ultimately been left disappointed since the terms offered by the government are not as lavish as they would have liked.
But, and more importantly, there are residents who have no desire at all to leave, or to pay some $100,000 for a replacement flat regardless of whether the lease is for a “fresh” 99-years.
They bought their existing flats, many have already paid in full, and now they can only watch as their homes are cruelly wrested from them.
Charting the direction of Singapore’s housing policy, our late first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, wrote this in his memoirs:
“My primary preoccupation was to give every citizen a stake in the country and its future. I wanted a home-owning society.”
One cannot help but ask if this vision still holds water today in a nation of where majority of Singaporeans are leesees.
In the case of the Ang Mo Kio SERS project, the government has not explained what the reclaimed land will be used for.
It would at least be more acceptable to affected residents if the land had to be redeveloped for national interest.
What would be utterly heartless is if the government bulldozed the homes of long-time residents, many of whom are elderly folks, so it can enrich its coffers with more commercially-viable developments.
Such a move would not be surprising – the SDA has, on more than one occasion, condemned the government’s ruthless and selfish growth-at-all-cost behaviour that puts profits over people.
Apart from this, there is the issue of the HDB could have done more for affected residents besides a take-it-or-leave-it replacement flat offer.
It is woefully wrong to make residents, who are already forced out of their homes on a the government’s whim and fancy, downgrade their living space if they cannot afford a $100,000 premium.
Rumblings of SERS were already heard 8 years ago, when the 4 affected blocks of flats were not eligible for the Home Improvement Programme (HIP).
Surely the government had ample time to think up solutions that could ease the move for residents, instead of a one-size-fits-all plan?
The SDA is speaking up for affected residents, disgruntled and dismayed by the callous treatment they have received.
We urge the PAP’s Ang Mo Kio GRC MPs, one of whom is our current Prime Minister, to have the courage to do the same.
A government must not treat people as mere economic digits.
As leaders of the nation, ministers and MPs must, most importantly, have a heart for the people.
Singapore Democratic Alliance