Losing money building and selling HDB flats – is this another frog thinking of the PAP?
Based on the pricing of HDB flats, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan seems to suggest YES. We must charge the PAP for the use of public infrastructure. Besides considering the value of lands, he suggests we have to consider the infrastructure costs, like roads and MRT in pricing HDB flats.
Now compare this to every election in the past and the one in 2016. What are the infrastructure costs for the PAP before and during the election? Of course, these come from the use of public institutions, main stream media, the so-called public funded grassroots organisations, the friendly unions and not to forget the election department. Some may argue unions and MSM are not private-owned infrastructure and so they should be excluded. You judge for yourself whether you accept this argument.
Accordingly to Mr Khaw, you need to consider these basic costs as there are no free lunches in this world. But how come, we cannot charge the PAP for incurring these costs out of the pocket of tax payers.
Before I go further, here is the original speech of Mr Khaw:
"You need to acquire a piece of land; you need to reclaim a piece of land. All those costs money to tax payers and we are just trustees of tax payers and those costs are to be accounted for. And even when you have got that land prepared, and then land is only valuable when we invest in infrastructure, roads, MRT, etc etc. And all those costs billions of dollars. So to say that land cost is pittance and therefore should be excluded from total construction cost; I myself think it is not quite an appropriate argument." http://news.xin.msn.com/en/singapore/hdb-is-not-making-money-out-of-building-homes-says-national-development-minister-khaw-boon-wan-1
So, the PAP is only the trustee of tax payers. Buying a piece of land for HDB flats costs public money. Establishing and making use of the public institutions, grassroots organisations are also using public money. Why is the PAP not considering this a cost? Why only the PAP can have free ride on using these facilities and infrastructures?
Has the trustee of tax payers and public money fairly discharge its duty? There is no infrastructure cost when it is for the PAP, for example the use of community centres, schools, even libraries. On the other hand, however, infrastructure cost is charged to flat buyers. Buyers must pay for the land and infrastructure costs.
So, Mr Khaw talks about infrastructure cost. Do foreign investors pay infrastructure cost? Why are we spending so much money in Suzhou Industrial Park to develop the infrastructure? Can we charge the investors?
We want investors to make contributions to our country. We invest and improve the infrastructure in advance. Otherwise, investors will not come. Public housing is an investment on the people. But HDB flat buyers are treated differently. They have to pay the market value for the lands and the infrastructure costs.
So, the government is not treating the selling of flats as an investment on its citizens!
What is the political infrastructure cost for the PAP? Oh, you may consider SG Conversation and all related publicities as one. You can also consider Population White Paper as another one. They use the public infrastructure without paying the infrastructure cost. They are campaigning in advance for GE2016 without paying infrastructure cost as compared to HDB flat buyers.
Of course, these costs are not included in the election declaration of expenses for the PAP candidates.
No wonder, the PAP is enjoying huge economic profits as I argued in my previous postings. The PAP’s mind-set is these are not costs to them. Anywhere, tax payers have to settle the bills of infrastructure development.
This is why there is a double standard here. HDB is not making money in fact losing money for every flat sold because it needs to pay for the land and infrastructure. Any costs incurred will add on the selling price of a flat.
However, the PAP is not paying the use of public institutions before and during election. How can we ask them to pay the infrastructure costs? Perhaps, the only way is to vote them out.
Back to the frog and butterfly story, the PAP thinks of themselves as butterflies and treats the citizens as frogs. Once we look at the infrastructure costs, we begin to realise who is the frog and who is the butterfly.