PM on cost concerns, rising expectations

Dear PM Lee,

I refer to the comments you made at the PAP annual convention as reported by Straits Times on 2 Nov 2009.

You said that cost of living is not higher compared to a year ago. But according to HDB figures, flat prices have jumped by 30% over the last three years and many resale flats, even those in far flung outskirts have easily gone up by $100,000. So how can you say that cost of living is the same? How can you brush aside the increased burden of housing weighing on the people?

Please do not let air-conditioning detract from the fact that housing costs have increased dramatically. Even the Buddhist monk needs a temple to stay in. Likewise, the people need roofs over their heads much like they need to eat rice.

On what basis do you say HDB flats are affordable? Not everyone earns multi-million dollar salaries like you do you know? In a letter to the forum dated 12 Sep 2009, HDB revealed that applicants for 3-room flats have a median household income of only $2000. If this $2000 is shared amongst a family comprising two adults and two children, each will get a measely $500 for basic sustenance. What left over money will they have to pay for the HDB monthly instalment of $460, let alone to save for old age?

The 20% discount that the government gives is not even enough to make up for the more than 30% increase in flat prices over the last three years so the people still end up paying more to the government despite government discounts.

Therefore contrary to what you said, what we ask is not there. We ask for stable flat prices much like we ask for stable price of rice. It is not that we forget what we have received, it is you who must understand that we are paying more than what you are giving us.

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