Jan 19, 2009

Be realistic in asking price

HOUSING Board flat owners who face difficulty in selling their units to buyers from the ethnic groups are advised to be realistic in their asking price.

National Development Minister said given a large number of resale flats available in the market, and with about 30,000 transactions annually, they should be able to find buyers.

While acknowledging that there could be a small number of households that may need more time to find a suitable buyer for their flat because of the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP), Mr Mah said: "This is a small inconvenience that Singaporeans must live with to ensure racial harmony in our society."

He said this in a written reply on Monday to a question from Marine Parade GRC MP Lim Biow Chuan, who had asked if the EIP could be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for residents who could not sell their flats to buyers of other races.

The EIP was introduced in 1989 to ensure a balanced mix of the various ethnic groups within HDB estates.

"By providing HDB residents of different races with more opportunities to interact, the EIP fosters ethnic tolerance and understanding, and strengthens our social cohesion and national unity," said Mr Mah.

"The EIP is applied consistently to all races. Exceptions made to EIP can undermine the objective of maintaining a balanced racial mix and result in the creation of ethnic enclaves.

"However, HDB does exercise some flexibility under very exceptional circumstances. For example, it has allowed households of mixed marriages or parentage to be re-classified to meet the ethnic criteria."