18 March 2010
Trilogy: Part B – The Generals said
Contrast the above ministerial comment with the Hansard record of what was said in Parliament for the passing of this law: Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (31 July 1998), vol 69 at cols 601-607, the Minister of State for Law said: "… As a result, these buildings cannot take advantage of enhanced plot ratios to realise their full development potential, which would have created many more housing units in PRIME 999-year leasehold or freehold AREAS FOR SINGAPOREANS. A SECONDARY BENEFIT is that these developments, especially the older ones, could have been REJUVENATED through the en-bloc process." [Capitalization emphasis by The Pariah.]
The “for Singaporeans” bit totally escaped the conscience and consciousness of Minister Mah! Let's not forget that Mr Mah is obviously very much a "thinker" as he even urged us to do "Three Thinks" before committing to buy real estate (viz, "Think carefully; Think long-term; Think about the unexpected" – Straits Times, 2 Sep 2009). Such deep and thoughtful advice coming from a "thinker" minister to go to Woodlands if you can't afford Tampines after en bloc carry dead serious weight! Or is it dead weight?
Sorry, my two left feet get entangled at times. I recall that Minister Mah happens to be the Tampines MP within that GRC (Group Representation Constituency). So what was Minister Mah saying? Was he trying to get his Tampines constituents to move to Woodlands because that is nearer to Johor Bahru (JB) so that when these constituents grow old and fall ill, it'd be a shorter hop over to the JB nursing homes (that's the "option" as offered by his colleague, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan)? Hmmmm ... now that I "think" about it more deeply, it probably makes sense because when you are old and sick, you wouldn't want to travel very far. Sheesh ... they do think of everything, don't they? Worth every bang for the buck we pay them, man! Or should I more accurately describe it as "mega-bang" for the "mega-bucks"?
“For Singaporeans” was purportedly the “primary” benefit, eh? Instead, what was “secondary benefit” morphed into “fundamental reason” and “people to naturally redevelop” ostensibly referred to corporate developers because ordinary citizens do not undertake redevelopment projects!
LTSA is pegged at kindergarten level (eg, "financial loss" formula is beyond the wildest dream of any financial adviser-accountant-economist rolled into one; how Reserve Price and Apportionment Method are set by volunteer laypersons without any substantiated basis by an independent valuer, but with guidance from savvy marketing agents who get no fee for no sale, and locked-in with vacuum-packed legalese crafted by professional lawyers who also get no fee for no sale, etc). Hence, it wouldn't be altogether inappropriate to go back to nursery rhymes that we learned in kindergarten! In line with the spirit of en bloc sales, let's clear our throats for the best collective falsetto that we can manage, eh? Ready? Here goes:
– Up and away for corporate developer-buyers post-en bloc ... Three years after 2006-07 en bloc frenzy, with progressive recognition of project revenue from developmental projects, we are starting to get headline news in Feb-Mar 2010 about developers’ profits at historic best:
Do you get the picture now? So, what's your rating for the above picture?
- R(A) rated: Restricted (Artistic)?
- X rated: Artfully obscene?
- XXX rated: Artlessly obscene???
Or did they occur unwittingly? If so, then what is the Gahmen doing about it?
Multiple choice answers:
Hence, it begs the question as to who are these “owners” who will enjoy such “viable alternative”?
Target population of 6.5mn in 40-50 years’ time was announced at the time when Singapore’s population stood at 4.6mn as at Jun 2007. Population ramped-up to 4.99mn as at Jun 2009. Based on the aforementioned Department of Statistics’ numbers, it would be reasonable to extrapolate that, at same rate of increase over the last two years, target population would be hit in 10 (not 40-50) years’ time! [Geez, would this be another instance where it could not possibly be foreseen with ministerial vision? If people who deservingly earn millions of bucks can't see, then who else can see? You and I? You must be kidding!]
Hence, “owners” with this “viable alternative” must be from part of this foreigner deluge - please read on for the explanation.
This foreigner segment is NOT the S Pass holders and entry level Employment Pass holders who are more likely to partake of the HDB housing pie – much to the heartlanders’ chagrin. Instead, these are the foreigners who can afford to buy at the rates that yield developers the stratospheric profit levels cited above. Some may even be part of “hot money” inflows given the level of investment purchases despite the persistently poor rental yield (please see the graph in Part C-3.4(j) of this trilogy). http://singaporeenbloc.blogspot.com/2010/03/trilogy-part-c-pm-said-i-am-saying.html
B-2.2 Communism, Counter-Feudalism, Democracy. Nearly a fortnight passes as the moon waxes towards being full, in ST Forum Letter (4 Sep 2009), MinLaw said: “The Government's land acquisition schemes have mostly affected land owners. The general public, on the other hand, have been the primary beneficiaries of such acquisitions, through public housing, building of infrastructure for public benefit and various other developments, including the building of condominiums - the latter allowed condominium owners to enjoy the land which was originally enjoyed by land owners.“