I know my heading may sound ridiculous especially coming on the heels of G announcing that it would spend $500 million on building facilities for elderly Singaporeans and no less than the Prime Minister urging fellow citizens to support them!
However, I look at it this way.
The $500 million would be spent over five years; so fact is, it’s only $100 million a year. And many of the old-old in Singapore today may not be around to smell, let alone use, the facilities that are currently no more than a twinkle in the G’s eye.
Also, given the vociferousness of the anti-senior facilities lobby, the NIMBY snoots from Toh Yi to Bishan and Woodlands aren’t going to be won over so easily — simply because Mr Lee Hsien Loong urged them to 🙄
So IMHO the G should employ some knuckle duster tactics, albeit figuratively of course.
Besides standing firm on sites already identified for the facilities to be created, the HDB should be tasked to embed elderly facilities into all new-builds under its purview. BTO, Sers, DBSS etc.
Give every applicant who has at least an elderly person in his family who will be living with him/her preferential treatment. After all, those who don’t value the old in their family — or the elderly in themselves in the future — aren’t likely to make good parents. So why waste preferential treatment on “moi, moi, moi” couples?
And, G, pse don’t just stop at public housing. Pse identify private property ripe for development near MRT stations and such like and invite public-private sector partnerships to create elderly facilities in their new builds!
Allow greater density ie plot ratio for developments that embrace putting seniors in the heart of all they build! And by the same corollary, those who say no could see them having to pay extra development charge as a penalty.