Mayor of Central Singapore District Denise Phua has come under fire for statements in parliament regarding the affordability of HDB flats, which Singaporeans have deemed as “patronising” and out of touch with reality.
Phua, who is also PAP MP for Jalan Besar GRC, was providing a rebuttal to the PSP’s Leong Mun Wai, who had proposed a new housing scheme which he termed the Affordable Housing Scheme to replace the existing Build-to-Order (BTO) scheme.
Using the example of a Tengah BTO flat, Leong had said that a Singaporean family would only need to pay S$140,000 upfront for the flat compared to the BTO scheme in which they must pay S$350,000 upfront.
Singaporeans took offence with Phua’s statement that:
“This way, according to Mr Leong, a Tengah flat, which is quoted at S$350,000, would go for S$140,000, and I guess it would just take one to two years of annual pay, erm one’s annual pay, to pay up this flat.”
They were baffled that the mayor believed most Singaporeans earn S$140,000 in two years.
The median gross monthly income from work, including CPF contributions for full-time employed residents here is S$5070, according to the Manpower Ministry.
Across to years, that would bring one’s salary to S$121,680, including CPF contributions.
Half of full-time employed residents earn less than this.
Phua’s statement was shared extensively online, and drew a lot of brickbats from Singaporeans.
Many have questioned whether her yearly salary of S$660,000 a year as mayor, and the additional S$192,500 allowance as a MP, have blinded her to the plight of average Singaporeans.