Land Leases for Religious Purposes

MP Sylvia Lim

Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied): Madam, religious organisations need a place to operate from. Today, many organisations operate on land which is leased to them by the Government for 30 years and subject to renewal thereafter.

I understand that some temples and churches find the sums charged for the issue and renewal of land leases to be very high. The sums they need to raise often require significant fund-raising efforts, which in turn take their energies away from their main mission of practising and propagating their faith.

I am aware that the Government is alive to these worries. The Ministry of Law has announced that it is reviewing its policy in this area and had been consulting religious groups. The review has been going on for some months now. In answer to my Parliamentary Question filed in October last year, the Minister stated that state land parcels, including those allocated for Place of Worship use, were required to be sold at fair market value. He explained that this meant that the parcels of land were generally sold through a competitive tender process where the highest acceptable price becomes the land price for the specific site. He attributed the rise in prices due to the competitive bidding process.

I understand that the Government review of land allocation and pricing framework for land for places of worship is ongoing. In the meantime, could the Ministry clarify what it is considering to mitigate the high prices and when the review will be completed?

Ministry of Law
27 February 2023

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