Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Three Perspectives on Land Acquisition

Read three rather interesting articles from three different sources - Business Times, The New Paper (really), and a Blog.

First, A/P Mak Yuen Teen from NUS Business School wrote a letter to the BT Editor, in response to a BT article on Saturday (here) about a possible MinLaw review of the enbloc amendments. The letter really deserves to be read in its entirety (available here) but let me extract some really great points from A/P Mak:

However, I would like to urge the government to go further than that. I hope that we do not approach en bloc rules purely from the perspective of urban renewal or economic development. En bloc sales should also not be driven primarily by the commercial interests of property developers, consultants, agents and advisers, but rather by the interests of those who are personally affected by en bloc sales, be they majority or minority owners, and the wider interests of society.

As we move towards a more caring society and recognise people with more diverse talents than just academic and business success, we should also take into account the wider societal and environmental impact of en bloc sales.

Can we have the moral authority to play a leadership role on the world stage, which is increasingly concerned with wider societal and environmental issues, if we disregard them in our own backyard?

What are the wider societal and environmental costs of tearing down perfectly good buildings and dislocating communities compared to the economic benefits?

Let's hope the government has the foresight, and the courage, to take the higher road of considering, seriously taking into account, the "societal and environmental impact" of enbloc sales. These have been raised in Parliamentary Debates in 2007 and back in 1999, so it's a matter of whether the policy makers and law reviewers want to assume the "moral authority" or not.

The 2nd article is from the New Paper (available here), about a man who refused to sell his home, despite agents badgering him to. While it's about a landed property, his tenacity and refusal to sell his home should be an exemplar to all stayers, whether they live in condos, or landed homes. As he said, "I want to stay here until they have to move me out". How I wish that can be the case in condos!

Finally, a rather interesting enbloc blog "Enbloc Outlook 2008" appeared recently, very quickly populated over the last few days with enbloc news. From my quick reading of it, especially the blog post of 14 April (here), I'm assuming that the blogger is pro-enbloc, and lives in Tampines Court. He/she gave, what I must admit, a good argument for the sale of Tampines Court to be pushed through. Still, while I'd love to argue point by point, recent workload and events have limited me to posting his/her link here. Feel free to write on his/her blog.

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