Leong Mun Wai’s latest adjournment motion is intended to seed ungrounded expectations of VERS

leong mun wais latest adjournment motion is intended to seed ungrounded expectations of vers

SMS Sim Ann hopes that PSP Leong Mun Wai will be more responsible in debates in Parliament. That’s a wishful hope.

By now, we recognise that LMW is not interested in responsible debates, much less being factual and accurate. He uses the parliamentary immunity he enjoys to repeat misinformation as often as he likes.

Seeding ungrounded expectations of VERS

Leong Mun Wai’s latest adjournment motion is meant to seed ungrounded expectations of a windfall from VERS. This in turn, will lead to unhappiness when people do not get the windfall they thought they should get.
Who benefits from this unhappiness thus created? Leong Mun Wai of course.
Thus, his latest speech in Parliament is his initial attempt to doom VERS to failure before details of the scheme were even available, before the scheme has even begun.


Why is there a scheme called VERS?

VERS stand for Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme.
Why did the government decide on a scheme called VERS?
Many of the older estates were built in a hurry in the 1970s and 1980s because of an acute housing shortage. Marine Parade, for example, was built in 3 years.
This means to say that all the blocks of flats in Marine Parade will run out their lease within 3 years of each other. It means that in a short span of 3 years, the Government would then have to take back a whole estate, and there will be a whole estate of people looking for new homes. Within 3 years, Marine Parade will become ghost town, so to speak.
HDB will then have to tear down and rebuild the old flats in a hurry, just like they did in the 1970s.
To avoid this, the Government intends to redevelop old estates progressively (over 20 to 30 years). Thus, when flats are 70 years or older, they will be selected progressively and offered VERS.
“So some flats, you redevelop when you get to 70 years old, some 75, some 80 and you stretch it out over 20, 30 years and progressively do things in a measured and considered way.
Those moving out will have somewhere to go to, and those staying will have rejuvenation to look forward to. This is why it makes sense for the Government to take back flats progressively over several decades, starting from about 70 years onwards, and stage out the redevelopment,” PM Lee Hsien Loong said in his NDR speech in 2018 when he first unveiled VERS. 



VERS will be less generous

The Government will buy back these flats but the compensation will NOT be generous like SERS.
As PM Lee said, there will be little financial upside.
Unlike SERS which is compulsory, VERS will be voluntary. Homeowners will vote for it just like the way they vote for the HIP (Home Improvement Programme). 

Homeowners, therefore, have a choice either to vote for VERS or continue to live in their flats until its lease run to zero, and then return the flat to the government and find a new home.
VERS is thus a scheme to deal with what to do when flats run out of their lease, and how to continue to put a roof over people’s head.
We might as well familiarise ourselves with the scheme to avoid being manipulated by politicians like Leong Mun Wai who portrays himself as a voice for the people but is actually a self-serving politician.
The Government has to use finite resources in the most responsible way. The Government is not the God of Fortune throwing money in every policy.
The educated elite supporters of LMW’s prosperity gospel, who also advocate for the government to save less for the future, can try to explain where the money will come from in order to continuously throw money at everyone.
Where’s the money going to come from? Don’t just say ‘it is possible’.


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