Statement by Mr. Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC at the presentation of the Petition for More Inclusive Provision of Public Housing for Single Parents.
Sir, I present to Parliament a Petition under Standing Order No 18. The Clerk has endorsed this Petition as being in accordance with the rules of Standing Order No 18(5).
This Petition is presented on behalf of Quek Chee Kian, Lee Man Qi, Renemarlina Bte Osman, Jesvinder Ms Kaur, Koh Xin Hui Christabel, Lim Sing Hwee and Saleha Binte Khamis, all of whom are single parents. They represent other single parents of like opinion facing difficulties securing their basic needs, in particular with regards to public housing.
Sir, the petitioners say that the current provisions on public housing are not inclusive. In a study conducted by AWARE, it was found that 95% of single mothers who sought public housing faced difficulties.
Firstly, unmarried parents and their children are not recognised by HDB as a family nucleus. Secondly, long debarment periods prevent divorced parents from accessing purchase and rental flats.
The petitioners urge that such problems should not be addressed solely by discretionary case-by-case exceptions, but by having rules, which are more inclusive.
In addition, pursuant to Articles 2 and 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Singapore has obligations under this international Convention to ensure the rights of the child without discrimination on basis of their parents’ marital status, and to take appropriate measures to ensure every child’s right to an adequate standard of living, in particular with regards to housing.
In light of the increasing number of single-parent families in Singapore, the petitioners recommend that these families should be equally supported to meet this basic need and should not be discriminated against.
Sir, on a personal note, as a parent to three young ones, I cannot imagine going through my parenthood journey alone and I can appreciate how difficult it must be for single parents. I sincerely hope we hear from the petitioners and respond positively to their call for equal support for single parents.
The petitioners pray, and I quote:
“One, amend Section 47 of the Housing and Development Act by inserting, immediately after paragraph (b) of subsection (1), the following paragraph:
(c) Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) above shall not apply to any person who has legal custody of a child and who has been given care and control of that child, notwithstanding that-
Two, amend Section 65 of the Housing and Development Act by inserting, immediately after subsection (2), the following subsection:
(3) In exercising their powers under subsection (1) above, the Minister and the Board shall not discriminate against any person with legal custody of a child on the ground of such person’s marital status.”
Three, refer the issue of access to public housing for single-parent families, and Singapore’s conformity with its obligations under CRC as pertains to this issue, to a Select Committee for further consultation and deliberation.
I will now hand the Petition to the Clerk.