The site where the [email protected] stands was where HDB built the first rental blocks in Tanjong Pagar in 1963.
At the key handover ceremony for the [email protected] on 13 December 2009, Mr Lee Kuan Yew said the transformation of Singapore’s landscape has been breath-taking.
As Mr Lee recounted, in the 1960s, most Singaporeans lived in over-crowded shop houses or squatter huts. People were poor and life was hard. There was no running water, no modern toilets, no expectation of a better future.
The immediate task of the Government was to tackle this housing crisis, and build homes in the shortest time possible. It would have been easier and simpler to build simple rental one and two-room flats to give people a roof over their heads, Mr Lee said.
But right from the very start, Mr Lee Kuan Yew wanted a home-owning society to give every citizen a stake in the country. Mr Lee said ownership is critical because we were an immigrant community with no common history.
Mr Lee recalled that when he got HDB to launch the homeownership scheme in 1964, there were many skeptics.
“We had little reserves then. Singapore was still in Malaysia. Our future looked bleak. The post-war baby boom and the high unemployment added to our pressures. Our construction industry was low in skills and lacking in building management. Few believed a home-owning Singapore was possible,” he said.
“Against the odds, through grit and determination, we housed the nation progressively and systematically,” he added.
Home ownership is a success story shared by all Singaporeans
From the 1980s...
Why the resale market was liberalised
“From the 1980s, we moved towards a market-based system. By liberalizing the resale market and allowing HDB prices to move in tandem with the economy, we unlocked the value of HDB flats to allow citizens to share in the fruits of the nation’s growth,” said Mr Lee.
“The [email protected] stands in place of the basic 10-storey rental housing blocks built in March 1963 and completed at the end of the same year. The first 50-storey HDB block, the tallest HDB block in our history, is a significant milestone on our way forward. It is the first public housing designed through an award winning international competition. A distinctive feature is its twelve sky bridges that link all 7 blocks forming one of the longest continuous sky gardens in the world.
“The [email protected] is a strong testament to our tenacity and capabilities as a people, to get to where we are today,” Mr Lee said. It is an example that if the nation continues to do well, we can build more flats of this standard.
“𝐖𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐲𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐚𝐜𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐒𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐞’𝐬 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐭𝐡. … 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐭𝐡 𝐩𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐒𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐰𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐲 𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝.”