Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong (Hougang): Mr Chairman, I return to the issue of lift upgrading for the six blocks of HDB flats in Hougang SMC where there are still certain units which do not have the same floor access to lift and this is a very real issue affecting a number of my residents. We were told that there are about 150 such HDB blocks left in Singapore. At COS last year, the Minister replied to my cut and said that for blocks where the costs are still too high, it will not be prudent to offer the LUP. He also said that while the Government continues to explore new technical methods to bring down LUP costs, the Government had also introduced the Lift Access Housing Grant of up to $30,000 in 2020, which is supposed to assist residents with urgent mobility or medical needs to move to another flat with direct lift access.
While this may provide an option, shifting can be a more complicated decision for many, more than one would imagine, especially if the residents have been living in the same flat for a considerable time. Some prefer to stay on, even if it meant carrying their elderly relative on their back, or together with the relative’s wheelchair down two flights of stairs. But a year on, residents in affected blocks have continued to speak to me of their frustration with no same floor lift access. Unsurprisingly, the Lift Access Housing Grant is no panacea to many of the residents who spoke to me. Many residents feel frustrated by HDB’s explanation of the issue of costs, something which could have been avoided if HDB had tendered out lift upgrading projects consisting of these blocks with design issues together with the bulk of the HDB blocks with no design issue for LUP access to all residents in the blocks, as former Hougang Member of Parliament Png Eng Huat had raised in the House way back in 2014.
I would like to seek an update from the Minister on HDB’s quests for new technical methods to bring down LUP costs for these affected blocks in Singapore. I also hope that HDB will work on this issue expeditiously to bring lift upgrading to all.
8 March 2022
Ministry of National Development