Workers’ Party Urged Gov to Reduce Number of BTO Flats in 2019

MP for Kebun Bahru SMC Henry Kwek has called out the Workers’ Party for urging the government to build fewer BTO flats back in 2019.

In a letter to state media outlet The Straits Times, Kwek chastised the WP for “criticising the Government for not building even more flats while glossing over its own proposal to cut back the BTO programme.”

He said:

“The WP said in 2019 that the Government should build no more than 9,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats a year. The Government was building 16,000 to 17,000 flats a year then. The WP wanted this drastically and immediately reduced. It said that otherwise, there could be a “vacancy rate problem” and “resale market uncertainty”.

Mr Perera now says the WP had intended that the reduction to 9,000 BTO flats per year would be supplemented by older flats acquired under its proposed Universal Sale and Lease Back (USB) Scheme.

But this explanation directly contradicts WP chief Pritam Singh’s recent statement that the Government should have built more BTO flats (which in turn also contradicts the 2019 WP proposal to build fewer BTO flats).”

Kwek questioned the feasibility of the WP’s suggestion to acquire more USB flats, saying:

“If, in Mr Perera’s view, a reduction to 9,000 BTO flats a year would not have been a problem, then why is Mr Singh now saying that the Government should have built more than the 16,000 to 17,000 BTO flats it had built per year?

Also, it will be 12 years before any HDB flat is old enough to qualify for the USB Scheme. So neither Mr Perera (nor anyone else) could have believed that the USB flats would supplement the BTO supply in the near term. His explanation does not wash. The WP wanted to reduce the supply of BTO flats immediately because it believed (erroneously) that an oversupply was imminent.”

This follows the public housing debate in parliament earlier this month.

Opposition MPs from the WP and NCMPs from the Progress Singapore Party had urged the government to build more HDB flats ahead of demand.

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