SINGAPORE — The Minister for National Development Desmond Lee has filed a ministerial motion on ‘affordable and accessible public housing’ in response to an earlier motion filed by Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) non-constituency members of parliament Leong Mun Wai and Hazel Poa on the public housing policies.
This was announced earlier in the week by Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for National Development, who said that the motion by the People’s Action Party MP is to ‘affirm the importance of keeping public housing affordable and accessible, while protecting the interests of both current and future generations of Singaporeans, and to endorse the government’s commitment to these twin goals.’
She explained that while the two motions may sound similar, they are different. “Implicit in the PSP’s motion is the claim that the Government has not done enough to deliver affordable and accessible HDB flats, strengthen the owner-occupation intent of public housing, protect retirement adequacy or keep public housing inclusive. We disagree with this claim,” said Ms Sim.
According to the Order Paper for the Feb 6 parliamentary session, the Leader of the House has stated that there shall be a simultaneous debate on the motions; ‘That, notwithstanding the Standing Orders, the Motions on “Affordable and Accessible Public Housing” and “Public Housing Policies” be taken together, and the debate on these Motions and on any amendment proposed thereto be proceeded with simultaneously as though the debate were on a single Motion.’
The motion filed by the PSP’s NCMPs on the public housing policies is to call upon the government to ‘review its public housing policies in order to deliver affordable and accessible HDB flats to all Singaporeans, strengthen the owner-occupation intent of public housing, protect retirement adequacy and keep public housing inclusive for every Singaporean of each generation.’
In response to the announcement of the ministerial motion, PSP’s Leong Mun Wai posted on his Facebook page, saying, “It is well within the government’s rights to do this, but Singaporeans should be aware that this strategy allows the Minister to open the debate with an extensive statement advancing the government’s position that will undoubtedly be covered extensively in the mainstream media.”
Leong further explained that the government disagrees that it has not done enough to deliver affordable and accessible HDB flats. “But if this was true, housing affordability would not be top of mind for many Singaporeans and there would be no need to spend so much parliamentary time debating this issue, which has generated keen public interest. Singaporeans will be the judge of whether enough has been done to ensure that public housing remains affordable,” added NCMP Leong.
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