About 37 families in the 191 two-storey terraced houses in Geylang Lorong 3 are expected to hand back their homes to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) by the end of this year without compensation.
The residential properties are set to be returned to the SLA upon the units’ 60-year lease expiry – which ends on 31 December – and will later be demolished for future public housing plans, as reported by The Straits Times (ST) on Monday (16 Nov).
“As a general policy, leasehold land will return to the State upon lease expiry to allow land to be rejuvenated to meet the changing social and economic needs of Singaporeans,” the SLA told ST.
The properties were meant to accommodate people displaced from attap houses in Kampong Koo Chye that were destroyed in a fire back in the 1950s.
On June 2017, the SLA announced that the two-hectare land would be handed over to the state with no extension.
Meanwhile, documents seen by ST indicated that demolition works for the properties will commence in the third quarter of next year, and is expected to complete by the first quarter of 2023.
The Housing Board, however, did not disclose details about the future housing plans.
Of those 37 households, the SLA noted that 30 families have managed to find alternative housing, while the remaining seven are “considering renting another property in the interim”.
It was highlighted in the report that five units have been returned “voluntarily” to the authorities by families who have moved out.
As for the other 149 units, they are mainly rented out to foreign workers as well as for religious activities.
The SLA said that it worked with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to reach out to the employers of the foreign workers living there to arrange relocation for them.
It also advised occupants conducting religious activities there to consider renting spaces in industrial or commercial premises, or co-locating with religious organisations operating in other areas.
HDB lands are sold to developers to build private condominiums, says blogger Philip Ang
Some of the HDB lands were not recycled to build affordable public housing, but instead were sold to developers to build private condominiums.
This was highlighted by blogger Phillip Ang in his write-up back in 16 September 2018, titled “PAP ministers lie about recycling land to provide affordable public housing”.
“PAP [People’s Action Party] ministers have repeatedly told Singaporeans that public land will be recycled after 99 years to construct affordable public housing. Unfortunately, they are being economical with the truth,” Mr Ang wrote.
“In reality, PAP has been taking back HDB flats – even before the end of the 99-year lease – but did not subsequently construct public housing: the land was sold to private property developers,” he added.
Referencing to a netizen’s post on HDB flats in Alexandra area being taken back by the Government under SERS, the blogger noted that five condominiums are sitting in the land vacated by HDB dwellers:
According to the latest information from propertyguru.com, these condos are going for:
- The Metropolitan Condominium (Capitaland) – S$1,150,000 to S$2,950,000
- Ascentia Sky (Wing Tai) – Up to S$9,333,333
- Echelon (Freshview Developments) – S$940,000 to S$7,806,400
- Alex Residences (Singland) – S$950,000 to S$13,000,000
- Artra (FEC) – S$1,485,000 to S$2,600,000
Then, there is Margaret Ville to be built on where HDB flat Block 6C used to sit on Margaret Drive. Margaret Ville (MCL) is currently priced at S$842,000 to S$2,000,000.
What’s more, it is noteworthy that during the General Election (GE) in 1988, PAP candidate Dr Seet Ai Mee had assured the residents of Hillview estate that their flats would not be acquired by the Government. Dr Seet won the Bukit Gombak seat, but later lost to Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) in the following GE.
However, PAP managed to retain its seat at Bukit Gombak in 1997. Two years later, the HDB flats at Hillview were placed under SERS.
Today, the HDB flats at Hillview have been replaced with HillV2 mall and condominium.