Does Minister Khaw know his work?

Does Khaw know his work?

In a written Parliamentary reply to a PAP MP in July 2013, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that 200 first-time applicants have not succeeded applying for a new flat after three or more attempts.

Khaw said that these applicants will be given 4 ballot tickets in their next application.

It is understood from his statement that unsuccessful applicants are given an additional ballot upon every unsuccessful attempt.

A check with the HDB website shows that this information is inaccurate.

According to this webpage, an unsuccessful applicant will only get the first additional ballot upon two unsuccessful attempts.

By 3 unsuccessful attempts, he would have been entitled to 2 additional ballots or a total of 3 ballots, not 4.

This does not take into consideration that an unsuccessful applicant will only know he is unsuccessful after about 9 months when all the flats are taken up, which the applicant could have applied for up to 4 rounds of new flat releases (which occurs bi-monthly).

Mr Khaw also repeatedly emphasized that the HDB queue for new flats has largely been cleared.

Again, a check on the HDB website shows that there were:

  • 10,000 applicants for 4,000 new flats in September 2013
  • 11,000 applicants for 5,000 new flats in November 2013
  • 11,000 applicants for only 2,600 new flats in January 2014

In every case, the number of applicants is more than double of the number of units available.

Given the high over-subscription rate running to thousands of unsuccessful applicants, it is unlikely that only 200 people are left with multiple unsuccessful attempts.

Many are flocking to new flats due to the high prices of resale flats, which despite the recent cooling measures bring down the cash-over-valuation, are still selling at a high valuation.

The MND and HDB should be aware that painting rosy pictures not reflective of ground reality will not save the ruling party from a backlash at the next general election in 2016.

Melvin Tan

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