Why Singapore and Shenzhen Housing model is totally different to provide subsidised housing for the masses

SG housing is not just a matter of building and providing housing at affordable levels for the different levels of income.

Sharing a post from South China Morning Post (SCMP) about how China’s city of Shenzhen is looking to drop their Hong Kong model of public housing in favour of Singapore’s, Ho Ching said that housing in Singapore is not just about building and providing housing at affordable levels. It is also about having a proper savings scheme and separating government annual revenue from land sales proceeds.

The SCMP article highlighted that Shenzen, one of the most expensive cities in China, is looking to bring about a “second housing reform” by providing more affordable public housing. The measure is part of the government’s promise to offer 1.7 million homes by 2035, 60% of it being subsidised.

SCMP noted that as of 2018, only 20% of homes in Shenzen were government-funded, compared to 45% in Hong Kong and over 80% in Singapore. They want to change this by offering subsidised homes at half the prevailing market rate, according to a consulting paper issued by the Housing and Construction Bureau of Shenzhen.

Shenzen’s plan is to split the subsidised homes into three parts: public rental flats leased at 30% the market rent, affordable homes at 50% the market rate, and other homes at 60% the market rate.

By adopting the Singapore model, SCMP says Shenzen is echoing President Xi Jinping’s pledge to build homes “for living in, not for speculation.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has also praised Singapore before for its housing policies, saying that it inspired her in the formation of her own policies relating to Hong Kong’s housing crisis.

SCMP noted that this new model could work in Shenzen as the city’s economic outputs are higher than Hong Kong’s.

Going back to Mdm Ho’s Facebook post, the Temasek CEO noted that in Singapore, CPF contribution rates have been gradually built up to the 37% today which is “just nice to cover mortgage payments” so that buyers won’t have to use their take-home pay. But she cautioned this is just one of many factors to consider.

Additionally, Mdm Ho said “a complete housing solution is also about separating govt annual revenues from land sales proceeds.”

On this note, she explained how money from land sales in Singapore is not allowed to be used directly for government annual spending as land is considered part of Singapore’s collective heritage.

Read more at http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2019/09/17/shenzen-is-looking-to-adopt-singapores-housing-policy-ho-ching-says-its-more-than-just-providing-affordable-homes/

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Lessons our Government never learn (taking shortcuts)

A lesson for the elites that run our GLCs. Contributed by Rachel Ash

Banwarilal was a samosa seller in an Indian town. He used to sell 500 samosas everyday on a cart in his locality. People liked his samosas for last 30 years, because he cared for hygiene in preparation and selling, would use good quality oil and other ingredients, provide free chutneys with samosas. He would throw all unsold samosas to poor people, cow, dogs etc and did not sell unsold stale samosas to people next day.
Banwari earned good reputation and enough money from samosa selling and he never faced downfall in his sale in last 30 years. He was able to fund his son’s MBA education in a famous private college in Noida out of his earnings.

Recently his son Rohit completed his MBA and came back home as he could not get appropriate placement. Rohit started taking interest in his father’s samosa business. He had not been involved in his father’s business earlier as he considered that to be an inferior job.

During MBA, Rohit read a lot on recession. He read that it is coming up in global economy and how it will affect job prospects, increase unemployment etc. So he thought that he should advise his father of the risks in the business of samosa selling on account of recession.

He told his father that recession may cause fall in sale of samosas, so he should prepare for cost cutting to maintain the profit.

Banwari was glad that his son knows so much about business and taking interest in his business. He agreed to follow advice of his son.

Next day, Rohit suggested using 20% used cooking oil and 80% fresh. People did not notice the change in the taste and 500 samosas were sold.

Rohit was motivated by the profit made by this savings. Next day he suggested increased share of used oil to 30% and reduce the quantity of free chutney.

That day, only 400 samosas were sold and 100 samosas were thrown to poor people and dogs.

Rohit told his father that recession has really set in as predicted by him, so more cost cutting is to be done and they would not throw stale samosas but would fry them again next day and sell them. Quantity of used oil will also be increased to 40% and to make only 400 samosas to avoid wastage.
Next day 400 samosas were sold but customers were not feeling good old taste. But Rohit told his father about savings because of his smart planning. Father told him that he may be knowing better, being educated.

Next day Rohit decided to use 50% used oil, do away with sweet chutney and provided only green chutney, made 400 samosas. That day only 300 samosas could be sold as people started disliking the taste.

Rohit told Banwari “Look , I had predicted great recession is arriving and sales would fall. Now this is happening. We will not throw away these 100 stale samosas but would fry and sell them tomorrow.” Father agreed to his MBA son.

Next day, 200 fresh samosas were made with 50% used oil, 100 stale fried samosa were offered for sale but only 200 could be sold as people sensed the drastic fall in quality.
Rohit said that recession has really set in and now people have no money left to spend so they should make only 100 samosas and recycle 100 stale samosas and stop giving paper napkins .

After this only 50 samosas could be sold .

Rohit told his father ” Now recession has taken people in its grip. People have lost income. So, this business will be in loss and they should stop selling samosas and do something else.”

Now his father started shouting, “I did not know that they teach cheating in the name of MBA. I lost my money in getting your MBA education. In last 30 years of samosa selling, I never had recession but your greed for profit brought recession in my business and caused closure. Get out of my business and I will get it back to earlier level. If you want, I can hire you for washing dishes as that is the only thing you can do despite being MBA educated.”

Thereafter , Banwari started following his age old wisdom and fair practices in business. Within a month his sale reached to 600 samosas.

*Recession is nothing but convergence of greed of government to extract more taxes, greed of big businesses to be more profitable by reducing quality and using unfair practices and also of careless arrogant employees giving pathetic service as long as profits are coming.

Recession is the punishment given to businesses and government by people by restricting their spending.Mr Tan

My comment – Yeah. I want to share this story with LHL and his Singapore elites that run our government and GLCs.

Never use grants to buy HDB, other than compound interest, you will be subject to levies and penalties, so is it really affordable?

Today’s Straits Times headlines read “Higher grants, more choices for first time flat buyers”.

I will be blunt. To me, never mind how HDB mixes and matches or adjusts their grant structures, HDB Grants are still dirty words. Let me explain.

HDB is a monopoly with a social mission of building truly Affordable flats to house our citizens. That, they have done well in the early years of our independence but over the decades, HDB has become too greedy and cunning. On one hand, pap ministers, especially former National Development minister Mah Bow Tan kept intoxicating and brainwashing Singaporeans that HDB flats are affordable but I urge readers to think harder and deeper if that is really so. If HDB flats are truly affordable, then there is no need for any housing grant whatsoever. I repeat. If HDB flats are truly affordable, then there is no need for HDB to extend generous housing grants to their buyers whatsoever.

Grants are not free money. I repeat. Grants are not free money and they must be repaid back to HDB with interest years later when the flats are sold. What have happened to many people alearly is that after their flats have been sold and the compounded interest on their grants paid back to HDB, they then realised that they are left in a negative equity position. Their seemingly profits from their appreciating flat prices is gone and the balance in their CPF is also low or locked away. Never underestimate the power of compounding interest and interest on those very generous HDB grants could snowball to very, very large sums years later. Please ponder.

If HDB flats are truly affordable, then there is no need to load the buyers with SHG or AHG etc. It maybe too late to wish that greed has not overcome and blinded policy makers at HDB to just build and sell flats the old, good and honest way instead of pricing their flats exorbitantly and use housing grants to masssge and mask unaffordability superably well. Think.

I thank you all for reading my post again.

Will the US-China trade war ends soon?

Quora: Did Trump outsmart China by unexpectedly doubling down on tariffs on Chinese goods imported to the USA? Are we seeing the beginning of the end of China-US trade war as US economy suffer together with the global supply chains?

Ridzwan Abdul Rahman, Self employed (2000-present) answered.

Think about it: many of the products that are being tariffed are products from US manufacturers in China. And the US manufacturers are manufacturing in China because China provides them with the best place for them to manufacture their products.

Companies are interested in profits, so China must be the place to manufacture and give them the most profits. Meaning good, high quality products at a good price.

The US manufacturers will remain in China until the tariffs make China no longer the place that will give them the most profits. When that happens, they will move production for the US market to another place but the costs there will be higher than in China without the latest tariffs.

In other words, the US manufacturers will lose some profit when they move out of China as a result of additional tariffs. They will only move out production for the US market, while production for the rest of the world will remain in China because it is cheaper to manufacture in China, without tariffs.

Will China lose when the US companies move out? Yes. Only a little, because the bulk of the manufacturing will remain in China. It will not kill them.

Meanwhile, the US manufacturers will have to pay tariffs and pass the extra cost to the US consumers. Or, if they move production to another country, the consumers will have to pay a higher cost for the products because of the higher production cost. So,either way, US consumers will lose too.

I am a Singaporean voter and this is what I expect

A very well written article by a young Singaporean to be read before one votes this coming GE :

I am a Singaporean voter. I want our policies to be thoroughly examined by different political parties in the Parliament.

I know all the candidates have different strengths, weaknesses and abilities but that is exactly the whole idea. A policy paper can be better scrutinized by different people with different perspectives, angles and insights. Ultimately, Singapore and Singaporeans benefit from better policies. Good policies can withstand scrutiny, no matter who came up with them.

I am a Singaporean voter. I want our anti-corruption department to be completely detached from the power of any government, regardless of political party

The department should be a checks-and-balances asset for the people of Singapore. The anti-corruption department should report directly to the people and conduct regular and random checks on every single branch of the state and government to ensure nobody plays under the table. Nobody.

I am a Singaporean voter. I want our civil service, army, police and judiciary systems to be independent from any politically-motivated decisions from any incumbent government.

I dislike the practice of parachuting newly-resigned civil servants, army or police officers or judges into the political sphere weeks or days before elections. This presents a serious conflict of interests because these newly-converted politicians still hold networks of influence within their old jobs and that may present dilemmas in crucial decision-making. Imagine if we go to war and our generals hesitate to act because they are considering military decisions based on answering to ex-colleagues-turned-ministers on which electoral constituency to defend or retreat from. Wouldn’t that be a disaster if they lost battle initiative due to such considerations?

I am a Singaporean voter. I understand all policies cost valuable taxpayers’ monies.

I am not a rabbit. I don’t eat carrots dangling in front of me. I am not a dog. I refuse to be tamed or intimidated by fear-mongering tactics. I am not a crazy person either. I don’t intend to bankrupt Singapore or Singaporeans over poorly-planned policies. I am, however, keeping an open mind to alternative suggestions to current policies. I don’t mind these alternatives be thoroughly debated in Parliament because there is always a chance to find moderation and suitability in them until these policies can meet the needs and wants of Singaporeans.

I am a Singaporean voter. I want my government to work for me, not against me and certainly not for themselves. I want my politicians to earn their keep, not sleep through in Parliament and just nod their heads in agreement to pass policies into bills which are not clearly understood by the people.

Governments are servants to the people. If they lord over their own voters, they are not governments. They are called tyrants. I understand the need for attractive pay to entice the best talents and minds into a government. However, I want such salaries to be pegged to real performance in their terms of office. This is called meritocracy. Any member of parliament who naps in parliamentary sessions should receive a pay cut for that month. No excuses. Any member of parliament who has contributed no constructive suggestions to any policies in a year should receive a pay cut for that year. Any member of parliament who broke the laws of Singapore should receive a demerit ceremony in public and serve the necessary sentence in whichever way deem fit by the people of Singapore.

I am a Singaporean voter. I want Singapore to survive longer than any political squabble or contest.

If any political party claims that Singapore will collapse or be in ruins if they are voted out of power, that means we have built the country in the wrong way. All political parties face the possibility of total dissolution but as a Singaporean, I want Singapore to possess a robust system where it can survive any change of power from any political party. This means the civil service, army, police and judiciary system must remain apolitical if they understand such a national need beyond political competition.

I am a Singaporean voter. Vote not for Singapore’s past. Vote not for Singapore’s present. Vote for Singapore’s future.

Forget CareShield, I rather buy private insurance as it does not take care of our needs

Stupid scheme as it does not take those who have pre-existing conditions and make it compulsory when you can never make a claim. It does not serve us as it makes more sense to buy private insurance then compulsory participation as it only eats our money. When you run a National insurance scheme, your purpose is to breakeven and not to lose money, but the government has used it to be their “money cow”. Contributed by Oogle.

The CareShield Life Bill was passed in Parliament on Monday (2 Sep) after its second reading. The Bill makes it compulsory for Singaporean born in 1980 or after to pay CareShield Life insurance starting 2020. However, for those born in 1979 or earlier, the premium is optional. Future cohorts will join when they turn 30.

While providing arguments about the Bill in Parliament, Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Anthea ONG highlighted a few concerns regarding the Bill like adding mental health in the ‘severe disability’ category, include non-severely disabled individuals in the group, supporting under 30 Singaporeans who may have disabilities as well as discrimination against women.

Under the Bill, a Singaporean is categorised as ‘severely disabled’ only when he/she is unable to perform three or more physical activities of daily living (ADLs) like washing, dressing, feeding, toileting, walking, and transferring.

However, Ms Ong noted that ‘severe disability’ is defined in too narrowly in the Bill as it failed to include those with mental health conditions.

In fact, she said that this is troubling given that the Ministry of Health announced in 2017 that 12.4% of locals aged 18-74 suffer from minor psychiatric conditions like anxiety or depression, and is estimated to rise to 14% this year.

Ms Ong also noted that there are a lot of schemes in the country that that require one to have ‘severe disability’ to be eligible for it. However, there are many people out there who don’t make the cut because they can only, for instance, perform two ADLs and have other mental conditions that affect their cognitive ADLs.

Although they should be qualified to receive the schemes designed for them, these individuals don’t get it as they’re labelled as “moderately disabled rather than severely disable”, Ms Ong said.

Additionally, Ms Ong stated that she understands that CareShield Life premiums are “gender-differentiated due to actuarial assessments”, but it shouldn’t be the case as other healthcare subsidies and benefits in Singapore are given equally to both men and women. She added that women may live longer than men, but they have to carry on with their life with less financial resources.

Ms Ong also questioned the need to discriminate individuals below the age of 30 as illnesses and disabilities can hit citizens regardless of the age, including children diagnosed with life-limiting diseases.

Therefore, she said, “We should consider allowing children and youth to be enrolled into this national long-term care insurance, with premiums paid by their parents either through their Medisave accounts, or through government hand-outs like Baby Bonus.”

Read more at www.theonlinecitizen.com/…/nmp-anthea-ong-raises-concerns-…/

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