Photo of Indranee Rajah from Straits Times

Continuing the propaganda campaigns over the loss of confidence in HDB housing, Senior Minister of State for Communications Indranee Rajah openly lied that HDB lessees are owners solely because some have made profits from the sale. The minister in-charge of government propaganda conveniently omitted the fact that Singaporeans paid for the HDB lease with a 30-year mortgage debt to get the right to resell the lease, and deliberately misled the public by mixing up property ownership with lease ownership:

“Singaporeans have been able to keep the profit from the sale of their Housing Board flats, and that proves that they are owners, not mere tenants. Everybody who has actually made a profit on the sale of an HDB flat, you cannot say that it’s not an asset. Of course it is…If you’re not the owner, then you don’t get to keep the profit either. Owners get to sell because you transfer the right to the property. If you’re a tenant, you don’t get the right to sell, you just get the right to live in it but you don’t have the right to deal with the property.”

Along with another Senior Minister of State for Communications Janil Puthucheary, the two propaganda ministers were speaking to ruling party supporters at the Grassroots Club in the Prime Minister’s constituency of Ang Mo Kio GRC.

Minister Indranee Rajah then proclaimed that HDB housing will always appreciate during the “early” part, and depreciate to zero “necessarily”. Lying again, the PAP Minister said that “any asset”, including freehold properties, have a “life cycle” that would depreciate the asset to zero:

“Like any asset, HDB flats have a life cycle. During the early part of the lease, the value of a flat would appreciate. “But towards the end, as the lease gets shorter and shorter, the market value will necessarily go down.”

The incorrigible Minister who was a former lawyer then made a second lie, claiming that the government’s Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) would pay end-of-lease apartments market rate:

“This is why the Government has introduced the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme. The scheme, announced by PM Lee in his rally speech, allows residents living in selected precincts and whose flats are older than 70 years old to vote on whether to sell their flats back to the Government before the leases expire.”

At his National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had already confirmed that VERS would not pay the market rate of Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) and also revealed that the government had not yet worked out details of VERS.

Minister Janil Puthucheary, an ex-Malaysian who has never served conscription, then commented on the rising cost of living and passed a mediocre advice advising Singaporeans to not use 4G data when downloading games and movies:

“The essentials of connectivity such as text messaging, do not require a lot of data. Instead, it is the downloading of videos and games which ends up racking up data costs.”