Yet we’re still a little unsure about what’s to become of our housing policy.
The cold atmosphere of the lecture theatre has already been warmed by the heat of the debates by the National Development Council (NDC).
In the initial half of the third committee session, many issues from the previous day were raised and repeated yet again regarding the existence of the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP). Little headway was made, with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) even calling for an moderated caucus to address the factual inaccuracies of the lack of need for EIP.
Finally, the exasperated Worker’s Party (WP) called upon the council to discuss on more essential matters - on whether there are other better alternatives to supplement or replace the EIP first. Should there be viable solutions, the state of the EIP can then be more efficiently debated upon.
The Council proceeded in this direction, thankfully.
The Worker’s Party started off strong with the fact that the EIP is still a housing policy at heart and the current EIP only stifles the current housing market, which Singaporeans are concerned about. As such, solutions should focus more on the the economic impacts of the matter. While his statement met with disagreements from some parties who argued that EIP is a racial integration policy, there’s no denial that there is some degree of truth in what the Worker’s Party has said.
In response, there were more calls for solutions to supplement the EIP instead just like current communal get-together opportunities. However the Ministry of Law (MOL) was quick to point out that even these opportunities have their limitations. After all, how many people actually attend and are interested in these Community Centre-initiated activities?
With these in mind, the Council has finally presented their first working papers and draft resolutions to further enhance social integration. However, we’ll still need to be a little more patient before we know the outcome of the EIP. Until then, sparks will fly.