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Thread: En bloc sales: Have laws to protect minority

  1. #1
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    Default En bloc sales: Have laws to protect minority

    Feb 9, 2007

    En bloc sales: Have laws to protect minority


    I REFER to the article, 'Couple lose fight on collective sale' (ST, Feb 6).
    I sympathise with the couple who lost the fight when the Strata Titles Board ruled that their CPF principal amount and accrued interest owed to their CPF accounts are not considered a financial loss.

    My condominium is also going through an en bloc sale. That very term now sends shivers down my spine. With large estates like Waterfront View and Gillman Heights being demolished, where are the owners to find another abode? Demand is outstripping supply and home prices have escalated. The amount reaped from an en bloc sale would rarely get an owner an equivalent property. New developments that spring up on properties that have gone en bloc are almost double the price per sq foot of the original.

    Also, friendship and neighbourliness are thrown aside in the name of progress. En bloc sales are blind to whatever reasons a family may have for not wanting to move, be it proximity to the children's schools, elderly dependants and amenities or plain attachment to one's home or neighbourhood.

    So what benefit is there for the majority? It is the developer, the marketing agent and speculators who benefit.

    Will the Government consider the environmental cost of destroying perfectly sound buildings in the light of the scarcity of sand that Singapore is facing?

    With all the negative consequences of en bloc sales, I request lawmakers to put themselves in the shoes of the minority and protect their quality of life.

    Valerie Ong Guek Kim (Mdm)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: En bloc sales: Have laws to protect minority

    Thank you, mr funny, for putting that letter on this website. The writer of that letter demonstrated clearly how a sizable number of the public do not understand the principle behind the enbloc sale.

    The principle is very simple. The government wants to have the resident population growing to 6 million over the next 10 years. Where does Singapore find the land to house this additional population?

    The enbloc sale allows an existing estate currently housing, say for example 100 units, to be redeveloped to house 150 to 200 units. Without the enbloc sales, the scarcity of available land would undoubtedly push the home prices to an even much higher figure than what we see now and in the next few years. There should be no doubt in anybody's mind that the enbloc sales help to moderate the price increases while opposition to enbloc sales drive up the prices much faster through choking off the supply of land.

    The writer of that letter quite clearly called for the government to "protect the minority" by scuttling the enbloc sale of her estate and others. So does she expect the government to watch the scarcity of land drive up the housing prices? This would be a loss-loss situation where housing prices in Singapore goes up to astronomical levels due to lack of land, and yet those in old estates do not benefit from the higher prices when enbloc sales are blocked.

    On a micro scale, the writer of that letter presented a number of points against the enbloc sale. Some of the points I thought are quite valid. However, I have read it very carefully and could not find anywhere that suggest she wanted the flaws to be fixed. She brought up each of those points so that the enbloc sales would be stopped. Yeah, right, as if the government would give up on the 6 million population target, or else would watch the scacity of land drive up the prices even further.

    It is said that if you ask the right question, you are already halfway to getting the answer. In much the same way, if you complain about the right thing, you are halfway to getting your complaint resolved. In this case, the writer wanted the enbloc sales to be stopped - that's the wrong thing to ask for. If the writer instead focus her complaint on some specific problems that the enbloc sale is creating, then there's a good chance that her complaint could be resolved.

    As a specific example, if the problem is the proximity to the children's schools or elderly dependants, then I would imagine there's a good case for the enbloc laws to provide her with an equivalent unit in the new development.

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