Saturday, 11 August 2007

Of Social Good and Individual Rights - Follow up to Lucy Huang's Letter

Another forum letter appeared today as a follow up to Ms Lucy Huang's letter (which I've included in the blog here). Lucy's letter has elicited strong opposing views about en-bloc sales. Some said she should blame herself for buying at a premium during a booming market, others said that she needs to respect the majority vote because of societal norms. Yet others said, if the majority vote is all-important, then reinstate the 100% majority vote. (You can find the exchanges in the post's comment.) I will address these issues in the next few days but here's the letter which empathises with Lucy's plight. Here Jane touches on a crucial issue - that of the individual rights of home owners.

For the record, I strongly believe Lucy to be a victim of enbloc sales, rather than someone who signed the CSA. Of course, any interpretation of a text is possible but given the way she had framed her situation, the dominant reading is that she did not wish to move from her two homes. If Lucy reads this, please feel free to expand on your letter.

Straits Times Online Forum
10 August 2007
En-bloc sales: What happened to fair treatment and rights of minorities?
Ms Jane Ee

I READ the letter, 'Govt should intervene in property market' (ST, Aug 8), and it strikes a chord.

I am also one of the thousands who are being turned out of our homes because of the en-bloc frenzy.

Being forced to seek legal advice, we were told that the only protection that we have by law is that we will minimally get what we paid for our home 10 years ago without bank interest.

We have spent weeks searching for a new home in frustration and realised that we too can only downgrade or move to the very borders of Singapore.

Many of us own a home. If someone walks in through your door today and demands that you exchange your home in Central location with his in Choa Chu Kang, how would you feel?

If someone demands that you sell your house at the price you paid for 10 years ago without bank interest for the mortgage that you have arduously serviced over the years, what would you do?

You can throw the person out the door. Yet, this is exactly what some minority owners in en-bloc sales are forced to accept, without choice.

It is ironical that, as a Singaporean who has worked hard to own our home in this land, I am made to ponder the prospect of losing our home and wonder, in the name of facilitating en-bloc sales and supposed progress of the nation, what has happened to fair treatment and the rights of individual Singaporeans?

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