HDB, You’re Confusing: Are Flats Getting Smaller or Not?




Are HDB flats getting smaller? Maybe we ought to get a tape measure, because HDB doesn’t seem to know either. Our content partner H88 spotted a discrepancy in HDB’s statements: While Mr. Khaw says our flats aren’t shrinking, a report last November says they are. You might remember the statement by Dr. Cheong Koon Hean, which was about as well received as a stand-up comic in a funeral parlour:

Mr Khaw says HDB flats have not shrunk, but HDB CEO Dr Cheong Koon Hean says they have

Recently in a dialogue session organized by REACH, Mr Khaw Boon Wan addressed a member of the public who was concerned about the shrinking size of HDB flats. According to the news report, Mr Khaw says that HDB hasn’t been aiming the shrinking ray at HDB flats. This statement contradicts what was said by HDB CEO Dr Cheong Koon Hean last November (which caused quite a stir).

Back then, according to the CNA report, Dr Cheong said that although HDB flats have gotten smaller, the standard of living has not decreased.

According to the CNA article – Smaller flats do not mean lover quality of living:

Public flats in Singapore may be getting smaller but this has not lowered quality of living, says Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) CEO, Dr Cheong Koon Hean…

…The size of HDB flats has shrunk by five to 10 per cent over the last 20 to 30 years…

That report had the Internet up in arms! Many ‘concerned citizens’ were saying that the CEO was out of touch with reality. We thought she could have chosen her words better.

And then today, the article on Today said,

On public flats, Mr Khaw said that, based on his checks, HDB housing norms have not changed for the past 15 years:

“There’s been this misunderstanding that HDB has somehow in recent years shrunk the units but we have not. If you visit our new three-room, four-room and five-room (flats), they are very comfortable.”

So have HDB flats shrunk or not? It is very rare that we get two contradictory statements from two high-ranking members of the civil service. So who is right? Mr Khaw of course! He outranks Dr Cheong!

But seriously, we wonder what data Mr Khaw has been checking. On the ground, there is a feeling among Singaporeans that HDB flats have become smaller and smaller. They can’t be wrong can they?

Even URA has revised their “average unit size” downwards for calculating potential units for the sites they’ve been selling to developers, according to a Business Times report we mentioned in late 2010.

We hope there will be some clarification in the next coming days because we are quite puzzled by it all.

Image: Wikipedia. Sources via CNA and Today.

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