Concerned Marsiling residents cite financial problems, small size of new apartments at HDB dialogue on government acquisition

SINGAPORE — Mr Tan Chun Heng had just moved into his four-room apartment in Marsiling with his wife and 21-year-old son two weeks ago after completing renovations.

So when the news came on Thursday (May 26) that the government was going to acquire his flat, which was fully paid for, and that his family had to move out again, he snapped.

The 48-year-old chief executive told TODAY on Sunday: “I had a bankrupt business so I did some Uber and Grab jobs, some consultancy work, one at a power station. I finally got a job. which I loved and I worked all the time way up to a general manager (position).

“It took 10 years to get to where I am now. I don’t want to go back to another home loan and then go back to a smaller room and pay for more renovations.”

Mr Tan had collected the keys to his apartment at the end of March this year and had planned it to be his “final resting place” as he lived in the area as a boy and he likes the size of the apartment, which is of approximately 104 square meters. . The proposed replacement four-room apartment would be smaller, at around 90 m².

“Assuming I want to fulfill my family dream of living in a bigger space, I would have to opt for a five-room apartment which I have to stock up on. I would have to struggle for a few more years,” he said.

Mr Tan is among the apartment owners whose apartments will be acquired by the government to redevelop and expand the existing Woodland Checkpoint which borders Malaysia.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) held a dialogue over the weekend for Marsiling residents affected by the move.

TODAY has reached out to HDB to find out more about what was shared and the concerns raised.

Residents of blocks 210 to 218 on Marsiling Crescent and Marsiling Lane, which include 732 apartments, 53 rental apartments, a rental kiosk, six rental shops and a rental restaurant, will have until the second quarter of 2028 to move out, l Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said Thursday.

HDB will construct approximately 1,100 new replacement apartments along Woodlands Street 13 for residents whose apartments will be acquired. The new apartments are approximately 10 minutes walk from Marsiling MRT station, compared to approximately 25 minutes walk from the existing apartments at Marsiling Crescent and Marsiling Lane to the same station.

Speaking to TODAY at block 213 Marsiling Crescent, where the two-day dialogue was held, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, MP for the area, said a majority of residents he spoke to seemed ” quite positive” due to the improved accessibility of the new apartments and the location.

However, he noted that some have expressed concerns about their finances.

“Some may have just bought (their apartments) and therefore have existing loans and then have to weigh the options. Others, for example, talk about comparing apartment sizes, but at the same time, they also see the pluses and minuses,” he said.

He added that the most worried residents are those with existing loans. “Each unit is quite different when it comes to finances because everyone is at different stages of paying off their loan… It’s a wide range so we really need to get the details,” he said. declared.

Affected apartment owners are entitled to several housing benefits, which include compensation based on the market value of their apartment on the date of acquisition and the possibility of buying a new apartment with a new 99-year lease at a subsidized price.

They can also receive a grant of up to S$30,000 and take out a home loan from HDB for the purchase.

HDB will provide apartment owners with a moving allowance, as well as stamp and attorney fees, to help cover expenses incurred during the shift.

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