Kampung spirit reigns in Punggol North

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to your 23 Mar 2010 report on MP Ms Penny Low’s experiences in running her Punggol North constituency.

She described the disappointment of resident Mr Kevin Tang when his $252,000 five-room flat bought in the late 1990s shrunk by a value of $20,000 in 2001. He felt heartsick and frustrated that his neighbour bought his flat so much cheaper. This episode tells us the disturbing effects that HDB price fluctuations have on ordinary citizens. Even though the price of Mr Tang’s flat has shot up to $380,000 today, it doesn’t change the fact that his paper gain will always be $20,000 less than his neighbour’s. Looking forward, a new resident who pays $380,000 today for a similar flat close to Mr Tang’s will experience a more terrible heartsick because he will be paying $128,000 more than Mr Tang for essentially the same flat. Mr Tang’s $128,000 paper gain will be offset by his new neighbour’s $128,000 loss. The country as a whole gains nothing. Furthermore, no matter how much Punggol flats continue to appreciate in future, the paper gains by Mr Tang’s new neighbour will always be $128,000 less than those of Mr Tang’s.

HDB price should not be allowed to fluctuate up and down like the stock market. It is after all, a basic necessity first and foremost. Its price should therefore be kept low and stable like the price of rice, water and all other basic necessities in life.

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