Govt introduced new SERS options because of concerns of older residents: Desmond Lee

The Government recognises the concerns of older residents and that’s why additional Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) options were introduced, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee.

The new options include offering residents an option to purchase a similar flat type at the replacement site on a 50-year term and giving seniors an additional option of taking up the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) on their existing flat and then buying a new replacement flat of the same flat type on a short lease.

He was responding to an adjournment motion raised by Member of Parliament Nadia Samdin – MP of the Ang Mo Kio HDB blocks selected for SERS – in Parliament on Jul 4.

“To some of them, a brand new 99-year term may be less important than a similar sized flat in a familiar locality. Looking ahead, the flats involved in future SERS exercises are also likely to be older, with shorter remaining terms, and these needs may arise too,” he said.

Addressing the 540 or so residents aged 45 years and above in the Ang Mo Kio SERS exercise, he said they can consider the 50-year lease option which provides them with a home for life, until 95.

“They should not need to top up for a replacement flat of the same type. Nearly all will even be able to move to a replacement flat of the same size with no top-up,” he assured them.

The minister added that these additional options will not be limited to the Ang Mo Kio exercise and will also apply to the ongoing Marsiling acquisition exercise, and to future SERS exercises too.

Striking a good balance

The authorities aim to strike a good balance between meeting the needs of existing residents and redeveloping the site to provide for future housing needs of Singaporeans, Minister Lee added.

He noted that different residents have different expectations and needs.

“For instance, some residents shared that they want to continue to live in their flats, and not make way for SERS, regardless of the benefits. Others would like to exchange their flat with a flat of the same size but with double the length of lease, without paying for the longer lease, or to be provided with replacement flats in more prime locations,” he said.

He added that HDB will look into the concerns and try their best.