Singapore takes pride in being a multiracial country. However, each racial group faces different realities and challenges and may progress at different rates.
During the National Day Rally, PM Lee shared that the Malay community has made significant progress over the past decade.
However, there is a worrying trend of more Malay households staying in rental flats.
Addressing the issue after the rally, the Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said more from the community need to aspire to own homes.
On Sunday (29 Aug), PM Lee spoke about several issues regarding race and religion.
When delivering his speech in Malay, PM Lee brought up data from Census 2020 showing more in the Malay community have attained higher educational qualifications and progressed well at work.
Malay household incomes have also gone up on average.
Despite these positive numbers, the census also showed worrying statistics like the increasing proportion of Malay households in rental flats.
From 2010 to 2020, the number of Malay families living in 1-room and 2-room HDB rental flats increased more than twofold, from 9,100 to 18,600.
In comparison, the number of Chinese families living in rental flats went up from 28,000 to 28,700. For Indian households, it increased from 4,600 to 6,800.
Minister Masagos spoke about the issue following the National Day Rally, reiterating that it’s a worrying trend.
According to TODAY Online, he said that rental homes are cheap and very affordable.
However, when people get used to this, they can lose aspirations to own homes.
This brings about the worry that Singapore will have a generation entrenched in living in rental homes.
During his speech, PM Lee also stressed the importance of homeownership and called on the Malay community to help more members recognise how it helps secure a better future.
Minister Masagos shared that authorities are reaching out to members of the Malay community, advising them to aspire to own homes because it’s an asset that every Singaporean should have and should not give up on.
Referencing census numbers, Mr Masagos said the increase in Malay households living in rental flats coincided with a drop in the number of persons per household.
One possible reason for this is that HDB provides more rental flats to prevent overcrowding in Malay homes, reported TODAY Online.
Mr Masagos elaborated that young couples who are not ready to own a home could end up moving into rental flats.
This could lead to the problem deteriorating as rental flats are much cheaper than putting down a deposit or paying a mortgage for their own home in the short run.
When addressing this, PM Lee said authorities need to help more rental flat households recognise that renting is only a temporary housing solution.
Ultimately, these households should be encouraged to have a stable income and move towards homeownership, progressing with the rest of society, reported The Straits Times.
Singapore boasts one of the highest homeownership rates in the world.
Nonetheless, discrepancies in homeownership along racial lines are concerning.
Hopefully, with the government’s help, more rental flat households will progress to owning a place they can call their own in the years to come.
Do you live in a rental flat? What are your thoughts on the issue? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
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Featured image adapted from PropertyGuru.
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