Photo of elderly poor resident at Lor 3 Geylang from CNA

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) yesterday (June 20) announced that they will be evicting homeowners living in Lorong 3 Geylang by 2020. Many of the homeowners are retirees who bought the houses with a 60-year lease in 1961, and a total of 191 houses are affected.

According to an 80 year old Singaporean elderly, SLA officers knocked on his door and “offered assistance”, which is to tell the homeowners to buy or rent in the open market. The “assistance” is confirmed by a media release from SLA:

“Those who do not already have alternative housing have various options, including buying an HDB flat or private property, renting on the open market or living with family members.”

Many elderly lamented about poverty and that they are too old to work to even rent a HDB room, nor are they able to secure any bank loan to finance a new HDB purchase.

State propaganda media CNA wrote in their article saying that their neighbours are gloating and happy to see these people get evicted. A CNA reporter interviewed a “neighbour” who commented that the area is dirty and rundown. The government’s deputy secretary at the Law Ministry chipped in saying:

“Since 2010, agencies have received over 400 complaints on issues such as general cleanliness, illegal dumping and illegal parking from residents in the vicinity.”

In a media interview, the Chief Executive of SLA said the redevelopment of the area will be “exciting” but did not comment on the status of the elderly homeowners who are going to be homeless:

“As a general policy, upon lease expiry, the state land and the property will revert back to the Government. In this case, there are exciting plans to rejuvenate the Kallang area and this site will be slated for public housing.”

The SLA Chief Executive also did not specify what “exciting plans” are in place for the area or give a schedule of the new redevelopment after demolishing the houses.

By 2059, HDB flats in Stirling Road will be the first to reach the end of the 99-year HDB lease and all homeowners will be expected to be evicted without compensation – regardless if the occupant is an octogenarian retiree who lived past his housing lease. Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong confirmed earlier in March this year, that the government will not pay a single cent for compensation when Singaporeans’ HDB lease is finished.

The 99-year lease clause of HDB flats essentially make home ownership a depreciating asset and liability in Singapore, and effectively render all HDB occupants as renters. The purpose of the law is a societal design to ensure Singaporeans and their descendants forever remain a middle and low class workforce, so they would not inherit wealth from their parents who worked their entire lifetime.