Permanent Residents (PRs) will now find it a little bit harder to get a HDB flat after new regulations were announced last Friday.
For PRs married to a Singapore citizen, HDB is going to withhold $10,000 of such couples’ housing subsidies when purchasing a resale flat in an attempt to encourage PRs to take up citizenship. Alternatively, you’ll have to pay a $10,000 premium when buying a new HDB flat. The money will be returned once the PR takes up citizenship or the couple produces a Singaporean child.
A new ‘Ethnic Integration Policy’ (EIP) has also been imposed (yes, such things are institutionalized in Singapore) for PRs to prevent enclaves from emerging. If you’re unfamiliar with the EIP, it places a quota for homes for different ethnic groups in a block or neighbourhood. For PRs, it’ll be 5% at neighbourhood level, 8% at block.
Many see this as a move by the government to appease the rising public outcry on the influx of immigrants over the last few years. This, together with the rise in school fees for foreigners, is an attempt to achieve a sharper differentiation between Singapore citizens and PRs.
Do you think this is a good step in the right direction? Or just window dressing to cover up what is now generally perceived as woolly policies?