POFMA correction direction issued to The Alternative View for implying HDB profits from Ang Mo Kio BTO flats
SINGAPORE: Facebook page The Alternative View has been issued a correction direction for suggesting that the Housing & Development Board (HDB) profits from the sale of Build-to-Order (BTO) flats at Central Weave @ AMK.
The direction was issued under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).
The case involved a Facebook post three days ago, said the Ministry of National Development (MND) in a news release on Sunday (Sep 3).
In the post, The Alternative View reproduced the headline of an AsiaOne article stating "Ang Mo Kio BTO flats: Strong demand for 5-room units despite prices of up to $877k". The post contained an image of the Minister for National Development Desmond Lee holding a bag of money.
The post also included a caption: "How much profit is HDB reaping from this?"
MND said in its news release: "Implicitly this post is stating that HDB is making profit from the sale of the Central Weave @ AMK Build-to-Order (BTO) flats, which are part of the August 2022 BTO sales exercise.
"This statement is false."
The Alternative View will be required to publish a correction notice and provide access to the correct facts.
HDB will not profit from the sale of the flats, MND said.
"In fact, it will incur a loss from this project, as the estimated amount to be collected from the sale is lower than the estimated total development cost of the project.
"If we take into account the CPF housing grants that HDB will extend to eligible buyers, the deficit is higher still," MND said.
The HDB incurs a deficit every year, MND said, adding that "the amount HDB collects from the sale of flats in every financial year is less than the costs it incurs, including the total development cost (comprising land cost and construction cost) and CPF housing grants".
For the financial year 2021/2022, HDB incurred a deficit of S$3.85 billion in its Homeownership Programme.
In the last three years, the average deficit incurred by HDB was about S$2.68 billion per year.
The deficit is mainly due to "significant subsidies" for new flats and the disbursement of CPF housing grants for eligible buyers, MND said.
"Because of this, most first-timer buyers use less than a quarter of their monthly income to service their housing loans.
"Close to 90 per cent of first-timer families service their HDB loans using CPF with little or no cash payments," the ministry said.
The annual deficit is funded by the Government and is reflected in HDB's audited financial statements published every year, MND added.