PAP and WP accusing each other of misinterpretation of WP’s 2019 working paper on BTO supply

A working paper by the Workers’ Party (WP) on Singapore’s housing policy, published in 2019, was the subject of debate in Parliament on Friday (Feb 24).

What’s the gist?

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said the WP had suggested cutting back on building new Housing Board (HDB) flats in 2019 and should acknowledge that it was wrong in its assessment. WP Members of Parliament said that the Government’s interpretation of its position in the 2019 paper was taken out of context.

Issue origin:

A Facebook post by PAP website on Feb 8 referenced the WP’s 2019 working paper on HDB resale prices, stating that WP MPs called for fewer HDB flats to be built back in 2019.

Source: WP’s 2019 Working Paper

Minister Lawrence Wong’s explanation:

During Mr Wong’s round-up speech for the Budget 2023 debate on Friday, he addressed concerns from both PAP and WP MPs about soaring property prices. He said that if the government had heeded the WP’s advice and cut back on the building of new flats, there would be a much bigger supply-demand imbalance today.

“If we had ... heeded (the WP’s) advice - since they don’t want to call it a proposal - and if we had done so and cut back on the building of new flats and their subsequent proposal to allow singles under the age of 35 to buy new flats, we would be faced with a much bigger supply-demand imbalance today,” Mr Wong added.

“Let's all show some humility in this. What happened could not have been predicted and let's refrain from passing judgment of the benefit of hindsight."

WP’s response

WP chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh rebutted by reiterating that his party’s housing paper had been published in response to the Government’s Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme.

MP Leon Perera (WP-Aljunied) weighed in, saying that while the paper had highlighted a risk of BTO vacancies if the Government continued to build in the same pattern, it did not attach a specific timeframe.


Both sides are accusing each other of misinterpretation of the 2019 working paper and offering differing opinions on the subject.

In other words, there is no conclusion.

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