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Singapore’s Minister of National Development Lawrence yesterday (Sep 20) announced a new scheme called the “Lift Enhancement Programme” (LEP) requiring HDB residents to pay S$50 million, or 10% of the $500 million cost, to add additional “recommendations” to “modernise” the existing HDB flats.

Despite having to pay for Service and Conservancy Charges (SNCC), Singapore HDB residents are now made to subsidise the government’s obligation to deliver safe and operational HDB lifts.

The S$500 million LEP scheme affected around 20,000 HDB lifts will be implemented over 10 years, and will increase the burden of Singaporean HDB residents who live in HDB blocks with lifts that have been operational for less than 18 years.

Minister Lawrence Wong also added that Singaporeans have to pay higher SnCC charges so that more funds can go into the sinking fund, that is invested in the stock market.

“Besides lifts, there will be other cyclical maintenance and replacement works such as facade repair of HDB blocks, cyclical repainting, and replacement of water pipes or tanks. These expenses will also go up as estate infrastructure ages. With higher expected long-term expenditures, town councils will likely need to contribute more to their sinking funds, and set aside more funds for future lift replacements through a new Lift Replacement Fund.”

The PAP coordinating chairman for PAP Town Council MP Teo Ho Pin has announced last week that the monthly SnCC charges for all PAP Town Councils will be raised. Only the Opposition Workers Party-held Aljunied Town Council will be an exception, for now as the Opposition party did not make a comment on raising SnCC charges.

Minister Lawrence Wong then went on to wax lyrical about raising the SnCC charges:

“This is the basis of Singapore’s success. We do not leave things to chance. But we look over the horizon, plan, and prepare for the future. This is the way to ensure a good and safe HDB living environment for all Singaporeans.”

It is unknown if the payment for the LEP will be in lump sum cash, or CPF. Nonetheless, the Singapore government will still be charging Singaporeans to pay for the basic delivery of safe HDB lifts.