Singapore govt acquiring Marsiling HDB blocks: Some residents voice concerns

Published date28 May 2022
Publication titleMalay Mail Online

Some Marsiling residents have expressed worry about the sizes of the new flats they will be relocated to in order to make way for the expansion of the Woodland Checkpoint.

One resident also said that he is concerned that the housing benefits he gets in today's dollars may be worth less when he has to move out by 2028 if inflation remains high.

They were responding on Thursday (May 26) to news earlier in the day that nine Housing and Development Board (HDB) blocks will be acquired by the Government to redevelop and extend the existing Woodland Checkpoint that borders Malaysia.

Residents living in blocks 210 to 218 at Marsiling Crescent and Marsiling Lane, which includes 732 flats, 53 rental flats, one rental kiosk, six rental shops and one rental eating house, will have till the second quarter of 2028 to move out, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority on Thursday.

HDB will build about 1,100 new replacement flats at Woodlands Street 13 for residents whose flats will be acquired. The new flats are about a 10-minute walk away from Marsiling MRT station compared to the roughly 25-minute walk from the existing Marsiling Crescent and Marsiling Lane flats to the same station.

Devi Pushpanathan, 53, said she was shocked to hear that she will have to find a new place to live with her seven other family members when HDB officers visited her flat earlier in the day to deliver the news.

'The first thing I'm scared of is that the new flats are very small,' said Devi, who lives in a four-room corner unit at Block 213 with her children and three grandchildren. 'I don't know if I'll be able to fit my stuff, my prayer items.'

Four-room flats in her estate are more than 100sqm in size, while four-room flats in new Built-to-Order projects tend to be smaller at around 90sqm.

The flats at blocks 212 to 218 were built in 1980 and 1982. Blocks 210 and 211 are standalone buildings that house about a dozen shops and eateries.

Devi bought her flat 22 years ago on the resale market for about S$200,000 (RM640,400).

She hopes that the amount she gets when her flat is returned to HDB will be sufficient for her to afford a new five-room unit and that she will no longer have to fork out cash to service the loan for the new flat on top of using her Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies for repayments.

'Now I'm paying cash and CPF,' said Devi, who works the night shift as a packer at a medical goods company. 'So if going to the new flat means everything will be covered, then our burden is...

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