Lease Buyback Scheme

Recently, National Development minister Khaw Boon Wan announced that MND was reviewing the Lease Buyback Scheme to include 4-room and 5-room flats.

I’m glad to hear this. It was a proposal that the Workers’ Party had made in our 2011 Manifesto (Chapter 8: Public Housing):

“The HDB’s Lease Buyback Scheme has seen a very low take-up rate since its inception. The eligibility criteria for the Scheme should be reviewed to extend it to more households who may be in financial need. It should be extended to lessees of 4-room or larger flats so that more elderly will benefit from the scheme. In addition, HDB should provide better public education on this complex scheme so that there will be a higher take up rate among the elderly.”

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

6 thoughts on “Lease Buyback Scheme”

  1. Hello Gerald, why isn’t anyone making noise about the taxi fare hikes? It is getting beyond ridiculous – Singapore is simply unaffordable and it is impossible to go on living here like this. I hope you raise the issue. How come S’poreans are not protesting? Can people really afford the increases? Doubtful… but as ever, Singaporeans tend to accept everything and keep their mouths shut.

  2. Hi Eu En, I posted a comment about this on the WP Facebook page (

    “ComfortDelGro’s taxi fare ‘revision’ comes at a time of heightened economic uncertainty amidst other increases in costs of living. We note that the Government has chosen not to regulate taxi fares. We urge the other taxi operators to consider retaining their current fare structures as a means of differentiating themselves. This would increase commuters’ choices and could increase competition for customers.”

    This has attracted over 240 comments, suggesting that there are many people who are seized by this issue.

    I will be studying this issue more and raise the appropriate questions in Parliament.

  3. Thank you Gerald. Those of us in the middle-class are likely to slip back to upper lower income group. We are already living quite frugally, and have cut back on a lot of frills. It might just be cheaper to own a car! I am wondering how others with children and elderly to care for cope without a car and have to rely on taxis for hospital visits or other essential errands.

  4. Suggestion: I think a comprehensive review of taxi services is necessary. For the longest time, Singaporeans have had to put up with 1) no cabs especially as midnight approaches 2) no cabs when it rains 3) rely on phone bookings and pay higher charges. We would accept it with grace if the taxi services are pleasant. Instead, I’ve lost count the number of times we have had to listen to gripes by drivers or listen to their unwelcome music or rude services when they are changing shifts and I could go on. These days drivers moonlight and I endured a property sales pitch from one of the drivers; drivers reluctant to help with bags at Changi or during grocery runs. In my view, these increases are highly unjustified. I’m beginning to wonder why the cost of living is so high in Singapore. How do Singaporeans afford mortgages, car, family, elderly and recreation? How much do they earn? Does the civil service really pay so much? There is so little scrutiny of their work and so little accountability that it seems unfair that they continue to even reap bonuses (even in hard times) while the rest of us pay the price.

    Where is the salary review PM Lee promised?

  5. One more thing: does any other country charge these absurd surcharges? How do they structure their fares? The media have once again failed abysmally to address issues of real concern to Singaporeans. We’ll have to depend on WP to expose everything.

  6. Why 99 yr lease is important….. because there is a lease buyback scheme

    A single flat buyer born in the 1970s buys a hdb flat also built in the 1970s. If the flat is not selected for SERS, will the owner be able to abstract money out of his flat other than renting out a spare room? It is also important to consider that his cpf might have been wiped out or left very little for retirement by the time he finishes paying his housing loan. The flat might not even be eligible for the goverment lease buyback scheme as there is not much excess lease left to sell back to the goverment since we need to keep 30 years lease of the flat at age 60 or 65 and sell it back to the goverment the remainder as the flat owner has a similar age as the flat. The goverment should speak up openly about this as the prices of aging flats are too pricey.

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