Fact vs Fiction: Sim Ann refutes misleading SERS claims again


Knowing that he would not succeed in painting the Government as inconsistent or uncaring, Non-constituency Member of Parliament Mr Leong Mun Wai changed tack and made new claims, wrote Senior of State Sim Ann in a Facebook post today (Jan 10).

This after the SMS for National Development dispelled Mr Leong’s false and misleading narrative in Parliament yesterday.

“This is not the first time Mr Leong has made an issue of this SERS exercise. He must know from our previous replies that he would not succeed in painting the Government as being inconsistent or uncaring,” said SMS Sim in the Facebook post.

Just as Mr Leong changed tack with the following claims, SMS Sim has just the answers to help us differentiate fact from fiction.

Claim #1: The Ang Mo Kio SERS exercise is unprecedented

Mr Leong: SERS at Ang Mo Kio is different from previous exercises. This is the first time residents have to top up cash to get an equivalent replacement flat in the same area – defined as the same size, same flat type, near their current home and on a fresh 99-year lease.

SMS Sim: SERS compensation is based on the market valuation of the acquired flats with some additional benefits, and the exact same approach was used in the Ang Mo Kio SERS exercise.

Secondly, compensation for SERS has never been pegged to the purchase price of comparable flats in a similar location on a fresh 99-year lease. Therefore, any attempt to frame the market expectation of some into a policy commitment would be erroneous.

Claim #2: The Government is being disingenuous

Mr Leong: The Government have not been upfront about Claim #1 and has shown a lack of transparency and compassion in its compensation package.

SMS Sim: The Government has been honest with the public on the objectives of SERS, and homeowners involved in this SERS exercise were briefed on what to expect. In addition, the Ministry of National Development has listened to ground feedback and shown flexibility with its policies.

For instance, providing a lease buy-back scheme to seniors or a shorter 50-year lease to older residents who do not require a 99-year lease but want to live in a similar area. As a result, 99 per cent of SERS residents in Ang Mo Kio do not have to top up to their purchase for a similar type flat with a 99-year lease or a similar-sized flat on a 50-year lease.

Claim #3: The compensation formula for SERS will be used for VERS

Mr Leong: If the Government uses the same compensation formula as SERS for VERS, then VERS will be “AMK SERS for all”.

SMS Sim: Since VERS is not SERS, the terms cannot be as generous as SERS. The Government has been clear and forthright about this from the beginning, and Prime Minister Lee also spoke on the issue during his National Day Rally. With the details for VERS still unannounced, it would be irresponsible to undermine VERS by creating ungrounded expectations.

For SMS Sim, Singaporeans deserve responsible debate from parliamentarians. And yet this debate with Mr Leong is, unfortunately, one that involves confusion and misleading claims.

“I hope Mr Leong will not disappoint us again when engaging in a full debate in Parliament on the valuation and pricing of BTO flats and the proper use of National Reserves,” SMS Sim concluded in her post.

And that is something we hope to see as well.

Cover Photo Credit: MCI YouTube