The National Day Rally speech on 29 August delivered by PM Lee Hsien Loong had plenty of notable developments of worthy concerns for most Singaporeans.
The $9,000 for NSmen and the changes in HDB and private property ownership has raised the biggest concern amongst many living in Singapore – both PRs and Citizens alike.
Nevermind the generous handout of $9,000. No one is bothered about that money because concerns are focused towards having a roof above your heads and making money out of property investments.
The inability for HDB owners to own private properties locally and overseas is of major concern to many. It is understood of course that whilst it is the government’s interest to protect citizens who are unable to afford ‘heavily subsidised’ HDB units, the current measures in place have further placed middle-income earners hoping to make the shift into a wealthier life, stuck in a rut.
I find this measure extremely dampening to singles like myself who hope to own reasonably priced private property overseas and renting them out whilst living in a ‘heavily subsidised’ HDB unit which cost about the same as my private property, when I get married or when I turn 35, whichever comes first.
Restrictions in place now require HDB home owners who own private properties overseas to sell their properties within 6 months or be forced to sell their HDB unit and move into a private property in Singapore. Otherwise, the wiser option would be to keep your mouth shut and hope and pray that the authorities have no inkling about your private home overseas that you have paid for in advanced in planning for your retirement.
What’s worst about this new measure is that for Singaporeans who have parents who own properties overseas, inheriting them also instantly puts you in a spot. You’d be forced to sell that property even if you have other family members living in them if you want to own a HDB unit or you’ll have to sell your HDB unit, purchase a private property in Singapore or pack your bags and live in that private property overseas.
As a country filled with immigrants and PRs from neighbouring countries, many are affected by this policy which spells, ‘If you have money to invest overseas, better invest it here if you want to remain here because we are running out of it’.
How I see the policy being crafted is a means towards ensuring that people who want to live and own a home in Singapore, to put all their money here. There shouldn’t be a question of PR any longer, the moment you gain PR status here and buy a home here, you should live the rest of your life here. Stop planning to migrate out.
This policy should be looked beyond what’s being mentioned at face value.
I may be jumping to conclusions on this but with the recent expenditure to tide Singaporeans past the economic downturn, I’m of the assumption that this nation is raising more money for it’s reserves that has been used up considerably.
Aside from that, with the clampdown of regional neighbour, Indonesia, on corruption. Many corrupted and rich Indonesians now face problems to run to neighbouring Singapore with their money where their predecessors used to find ease, simply because Singapore does not have an extradition treaty with Indonesia.
Another such regional neighbour, Brunei, who had billions of dollars invested in Singapore could also be withdrawing their investment dollars in anticipation of their own loss of wealth with the decline in the country’s sole natural resource which once made them the richest in the world, OIL.
Hence, I’m definitely satisfied with my hypothesis above that the policy in place for HDB home ownership is directly linked towards the immigration policy and the declining amount of money in Singapore’s reserves.