June 27, 2007

Flats: Give newlyweds living near parents priority

MY FIANCEE and I joined the balloting for a four-room HDB flat in Bukit Merah in February under the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers) and we received a queue number in excess of 2,000.

Altogether, there were more than 2,100 applications for the four-room flats, of which only the first 1,000 applicants were invited to select from among 400-plus units.

According to the HDB website then, priority would be given to first-time buyers and those under the Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS).

However, this did not appear to be the case in our case. My fiancee and I are first-timers and we qualify under the MCPS. We would thus have had four times more chances in the balloting than those who were second-timers or who were not living near their parents. If we had been given priority, why was our queue number in excess of 2,000?

I would like the HDB management to relook the balloting procedures for the Bi-monthly, Sers and other schemes.

Why not give priority to first-timers in the balloting? Newlyweds need a new home in which to start a family. Having just started working, resale flats, which cost much more, are beyond their reach, even with the $40,000 housing grant, especially amid the soaring property market.

Second-timers wanting to upgrade or downgrade their home can wait because they have a house to live in.

Moreover, the Government is encouraging young people to set up families early and to live near their parents.

How can we set up a family without a roof, especially when our parents' place (a four-room flat) is small and congested?

I hope the HDB will look into this matter and resolve the problem quickly.

Leonard Tan Choa Wei