HIP II upgrading of flats will focus on common maintenance: Minister
Two new Housing Board upgrading plans to be rolled out in one to two decades' time continued to be of interest, with four MPs trying to glean more specifics on what they would cover.
Yesterday's Parliament sitting marked the second in a row in which MPs sought more details about the Home Improvement Programme II (HIP II) and Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (Vers), both unveiled at August's National Day Rally speech.
Yesterday, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said HIP II, a second round of upgrading for HDB flats around 60 to 70 years old, will focus on common maintenance issues that occur in ageing flats.
But what these would be will only be revealed later.
"We will need to study the specific scope of works, including taking into consideration the condition of our older flats, closer to the launch of HIP II," he said. HIP II will be launched in about 10 years' time.
The multi-billion project will also be a huge financial commitment for the Government.
As such, "we will also need to see how to pace the works to take into account fiscal sustainability and the capacity of our construction industry", he said.
He later told Workers Party chief Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) that the HDB would study some of the suggestions he raised during supplementary question time, which included methods to slow down the water seepage in between floors.
Mr Wong also told Mr Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) that older rental flats will be eligible for HIP II, as they are with the ongoing HIP I.
He added that there will be no wastage of public funds in carrying out both HIP II and Vers, which lets HDB dwellers vote to go "en bloc" and sell their ageing flats to the Government.
He was responding to Mr Chong Kee Hiong (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC), who was concerned about unnecessary expenditure on blocks that might go through HIP II, then be slated for redevelopment under Vers a few years later.
Mr Wong added that how flats will be valued have to be worked out further, to ensure that Vers is "fiscally sustainable in the long-term".
Mr Wong also told Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) and Mr Alex Yam (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) his ministry would consider their suggestions to lower the minimum age to be eligible for the Lease Buyback Scheme in future reviews. The minimum age is currently 65.