On 10th December 2014 I received a letter from SLA to notify that my lease rental will be increased by 50% effective from the date of their letter. This letter was dated two days earlier on 8th December 2014. I am also warned that my December rent now have a shortfall because they have deducted my December rent based on the old rate. I am to be given 9 days from the receipt of their letter to make good my rent arrears and to make sure my bank have sufficient money for the rent increase henceforth.
Being a good citizen, I wrote back to them with my cheque for the rent arrears created by them for me and I also expressed my disappointment on the sudden increase without any advance notice and without any reason for the hefty increase. I reminded them of the current economic situation and outlook is bleak for SMEs. I also pointed out to them that their action is high handed, conceited and dictatorial.
A few days later a lady from SLA phoned to talk about my letter. She was very polite and listen to my grouses but at no time did she explain or justify their action and of course there was no apology. I find the phone call rather patronizing. It is like some superior being who have decided that a phone call to humour me and let me express my grouse will be suffice to placate a simple minded citizen.
Before the current government took control, in the 1950s, most citizens are afraid of government officials. Policemen would lord over common people and nurses in hospitals would scold patients who are too slow to respond. This was despite of the fact that they were known a Civil Servants, paid for by citizens’ tax money and suppose to serve the people who paid for them. We have 50 good years after the government put a stop to this, but then, time have changed. Today the term Civil Servants are not used. There are many elite Scholars in civil service and they are very well paid. They were civil but only up till now. Are we now going back to the old days where the superior government officials could dictate and threaten the common men and do we want to accept this new social order?
I have recently received a reply from SLA. It says that the rent increase is “based on current market rent” and they have “taken into account rent transactions for farms”
My rent is reviewed every 5 years. I am not aware that our economy has grown by 50% over this period, it is likely closer to 15% and as for transactions for farms, I still see many vacant lots in my neighbourhood, overgrown with weeds for the last 15 years I have been here. On top of that, many of us have been given notice that our leases will not be renewed, presumably the government has other usage for the land. Those us who are affected by this notice are now winding down our operations. Is that the boom market they are talking about our are they too busy celebrating their own 50% salary increases to bother explaining to the masses?
This letter was written by Lim Tian Soo.
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