“Don’t cast protest vote, says [Lee Kuan Yew]”. “Pretty please,” he didn’t need to add. Quoth the big man himself, from today’s Pravda:
The current contentious issue on the affordability of public housing was given another airing by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew who cautioned Singaporeans not to cast a protest vote against the ruling party over this.
Making fun of the ST’s editing is like shooting fish in a barrel, but I can’t resist: that should be “current contentious issue OF the affordability of blah blah blah”.
And yeah, ordering (begging?) your electorate not to cast a protest vote is a dead giveaway that you’re not campaigning from a position of strength.
As Singaporeans lament rising flat prices, he said they ought to understand that the Government sells them at a subsidised price, below market rate, so that they can own an asset that will appreciate in value over the years.
It adds to their wealth and this is an asset-enhancing policy Mr Lee believes citizens should not find fault with.
If they do, they must be ‘daft’, he said, at a dialogue during a housing conference as part of a series of events to mark the Housing and Development Board’s 50th anniversary.
What the Great Leader doesn’t mention is that HDB flats are a wealth trap. The HDB’s rules prohibit borrowing against an apartment except for reverse mortgages, so the only way to realise the gain in your apartment’s value is to sell the place and go back to renting.
With Singaporean house prices as crazy as they are right now – the going rate is somewhere north of 30 times annual rent – that might not be such a bad idea.
And if National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan is unable to defend this policy, ‘he deserves to lose’ at the next general election, he quipped, to laughter from the participants, including a chuckling Mr Mah.
You say “quip”, I say “veiled threat”. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.
But if Mr Mah loses to the opposition, he warned that Singaporeans better sell their flats fast as they would no longer be of any value.
This is priceless: “vote for us or your most valuable asset will be ripped out from under your feet and the sky will fall down.” The PAP must be pretty bereft of policies if they’re resorting to scaring the electorate into line.
Related: Minister Tan has announced that he’ll be looking into the skyrocketing prices of HDB flats.
Amid concerns that speculation could have pushed resale flat rices up, he said the HDB is reviewing its rules and policies to ‘see if there’re any rules that are encouraging or allowing people to speculate on HDB flats’
He should be looking at the MAS’s policies instead. That enormous asset bubble might have something to do with Singapore’s rock-bottom interest rates, imported from the USA via Singapore’s currency peg.