There are “no plans” to evict residents on Pulau Ubin or to develop an adventure park on the island, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and Ministry of National Development (MND) said in a joint statement Friday.
The statement came after a photo posted by Twitter user Ivan Kwan on Monday showed a letter sent to a Pulau Ubin resident by Housing and Development Board (HDB) and dated 12 March 2013 asking for the resident’s house to be cleared for the development of an “adventure park on Pulau Ubin”.
“The planning intention is to keep Pulau Ubin in its rustic state for as long as possible as an outdoor playground for Singaporeans. Given this, there is no need for the residents to move out,” SLA and MND said in the statement in response to inquiries from Yahoo! Singapore.
The agencies explained the background behind the letter to residents. As far back as 1993, households on the island were told they would be affected by a public development project, which included a recreation park. Those affected by the development of these facilities were given resettlement benefits and the project took place in phases between 1994 and 2005.
During a recent SLA review, it was found that not all households claimed their resettlement benefits, so the agency sought to “re-establish” the eligibility of households for the benefit and check if the households wanted to remain or relocate. HDB’s role is to help SLA determine residents’ eligibility and compute benefits.
The government agencies explained, however, that based on a census survey last month, 22 households from Pulau Ubin were residing on state land without a temporary occupation licence (TOL).
“They can continue to stay on State land if they obtain a TOL from SLA, and pay a fee for the use of the land, similar to any other use of State land,” they said.
The fee would be pegged to the market rate, but given some households could find that difficult if their rent were to be revised immediately, SLA will phase the rent such that households will only pay full market rate from the sixth year onwards. Government will also provide other forms of assistance as may be necessary to those households that need it and qualify for it, the agencies said.