MND sees Tengah, Bidadari as potential new towns
By Joanne Chan | Posted: 12 October 2011 1852 hrs
SINGAPORE: The government sees Tengah and Bidadari as potential residential towns as it plans ahead for a growing population.
This was mentioned on Wednesday in the National Development Ministry's addendum to the President's Address.
The addendum was issued by Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
Highlighting his ministry's commitment to achieve sustainable economic, social and environmental outcomes, Mr Khaw said: "We will balance competing land demands to achieve sustainable economic, social and environmental outcomes. We will create underground space and reclaim from the sea, wherever viable.
"We will also build infrastructure ahead of demand and start to prepare for new towns at Tengah and Bidadari. They will not be needed soon, but we are planning ahead so as to retain flexibility."
Mr Khaw also reaffirmed his ministry's goal to provide good, affordable housing.
He noted that more Singaporeans are now eligible for housing grants and public housing, after the income ceilings for singles and families were raised in August.
Mr Khaw acknowledged the "sudden rise in housing prices following the sharp economic recovery has worried many Singaporeans".
He said his ministry is "taking active measures to address the temporary imbalance in supply and demand."
The monthly income ceiling to buy executive condominiums (ECs) was raised from S$10,000 to S$12,000 in August.
As of end-September, the HDB received 140 bookings from buyers who previously did not qualify.
Singles too have benefited after the income ceiling for a housing grant was raised from S$3,000 to S$5,000.
HDB has approved 75 applicants who were previously not eligible.
HDB is also speeding up the construction of new flats.
To cater to needs such as wanting to stay near parents or to take advantage of a location's amenities, HDB said that where possible, it will build its new flats in mature estates such as Queenstown and Bishan.
Another aim is to provide vulnerable families with a roof over their heads.
Madam Praveen, 27, has benefited from the Public Rental Scheme.
Previously staying with her parents, Madam Praveen now has a two-room rental flat in Punggol.
Madam Parveen, who lives with her husband and two children, had faced difficulties in getting a rental flat.
"My parents had to sell their house and we had no place to stay. I got rejected the first time because they said my husband is a foreigner... I had to give birth to my son in order to get this rental flat," she said.
To qualify for a rental flat under the Family Scheme, the main applicant must be a Singaporean and the other a Singaporean or Permanent Resident.
HDB said the stock of rental flats will be increased to 57,000 units by 2015.
But rental housing is not a long-term solution, and HDB said it will work with social agencies to render help.