Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong (Hougang): Mr Chairman, I speak once more on 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 same floor lift access. As this is a very real issue affecting a number of my residents, especially those with mobility needs requiring assistance to assess the stairs outside their units when they need to go out or come home, not to mention inconvenience to ambulances bringing people to the hospital and also additional charges for delivery items. I feel pain when residents told me that their parents or grandparents had to be carried when accessing the stairs next to their unit.
First of all, I would like to see an update on the current number of HDB blocks in Singapore with incomplete lift access for all flats. We were last told that there were about 150 such HDB blocks in Singapore.
At COS 2021, the Minister said that the lift access housing grant of up to $30,000 was introduced in 2020 to assist residents with urgent mobility or medical needs to move to another flat with direct lift access.
May I ask the Government for an update on the total number of grants given so far, as well as its percentage over the total number of such HDB units without same floor lift access?
The Minister also said in COS 2021 in response to my previous calls, therefore blocks where the costs are still too high, it would not be prudent to offer the LUP, but the Government will continue to explore new technical methods to bring down LUP cost.
The lift access housing grant is not an option for most residents with whom I have spoken to on this issue so far. As I have mentioned in my Budget debate speech, it is never easy to ask people to shift the different address and it is definitely not an empathetic solution. Many residents still cannot accept HDB’s explanation of the issue of cost; something which could have been avoided, if HDB had tender out lift upgrading projects consisting of these blocks with problematic designs, together with the bulk of the HDB blocks with no design issues for LUP access.
I would like to see an update on HDB’s effort in seeking new technical methods to bring down LUP cost for the affected blocks. I hope the HDB will work on this issue expeditiously to bring lift upgrading to all blocks in Singapore lacking lift access, including the remaining six blocks in Hougang so the affected residents can enjoy full lift access soon.
Ministry of National Development
2 March 2023