Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chinese official lauds HDB success

SINGAPORE’S public housing programme is testament to the foresight of its leaders.

That was the view of Dr Fang Xinghai, head of the Shanghai Municipal Government financial services office, who arrived here on Sunday. He is visiting Singapore for a week as the 30th Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellow.

Speaking last night at a welcome dinner in his honour at the Shangri-La Hotel, Dr Fang noted that it was because of the foresight of Singapore’s leaders some 40 years ago that 80 per cent of the population today have benefited from the public housing programme.

‘In Shanghai, we’re facing this (housing) problem. The middle class are squeezed by housing prices,’ he said. ‘While we don’t have plans (for public housing) yet, I think it is already a bit too late for Shanghai because most of the land has already been leased out for the next 70 years.’

In the past three days, Dr Fang has visited various government ministries, private enterprises and even attended a Meet-the-People session in Jurong East. The session was hosted by Senior Minister of State (National Development and Education) Grace Fu, who is an MP for Jurong GRC.

Last night’s welcome dinner was hosted by Public Service Commission chairman Eddie Teo, who is also chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellowship. He described Dr Fang as someone who has made significant contributions to the development of China’s financial sector, particularly in Shanghai.

Established in 1991, the fellowship programme invites outstanding individuals for high-level exchange visits to Singapore.

Candidates are picked based on their proven track record or extraordinary potential to contribute to the development of their nations and promote international understanding and goodwill.

Dr Fang is the second exchange fellow from China.

Source: Straits Times, 15 Apr 2010

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