URA announces plans for new leisure destination

URA announces plans for new leisure destination

 

In just three years, Singaporeans will be able to enjoy a new attraction in the southern part of Singapore as the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) plans to develop the area around Alexandra and Labrador Park into a recreational and leisure hub.

 

Berlayer Creek is a place where you can find mangrove swamps and exotic birds. But not many people are aware of the natural treasures available there.

 

With few amenities, access to the place is near impossible, but this is set to change in the next few years.

 

A mangrove trail, called the Berlayer Creek Mangrove Trail, will be built, complete with lookout points, a plaza and a boardwalk.

 

Ler Seng Ann, director of Conservation & Development Services, URA, said: “The construction will be carried out carefully such that the eco-system will not be affected.”

 

The Urban Redevelopment Authority will also be sprucing up a stretch of area along the eastern bank of Alexandra Road, between Depot Road and Telok Blangah Road.

 

The 830-metre stretch – to be called the Alexandra Road Garden Trail – will have footpaths and cycle paths. It will connect to the Southern Ridges recreational corridor and the Horticulture Park (HortPark), which were opened on 10 May.

 

The new trails will lead to the 330-metre Bukit Chermin Harbour View Walk, which promises a breathtaking waterfront view of the Keppel Harbour and Sentosa from an elevated boardwalk on the sea.

 

The whole stretch will be called the Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk, and construction is scheduled to start next year.

 

“The projects aim to enhance the Southern Ridges and southern waterfront as a leisure, recreation destination. When the project is completed in 2011, the public can visit the place from either Labrador MRT station or take a bus to Southern Ridges and walk all the way to VivoCity,” said Mr Ler.

 

The plans were unveiled a few days after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially opened two pedestrian bridges, the Henderson Waves and the Alexandra Arch, linking Mount Faber to Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park. – CNA/so

 

Source: Channel NewsAsia

Development plans taking shape in Punggol

Development plans taking shape in Punggol

 

Punggol residents can expect a new shopping mall as large as Junction 8, in their town centre, when the Housing and Development Board (HDB) launches the first sale site at Punggol in the next two to three years.

 

The site will be used for a mixed commercial and private residential development.

 

Earmarked as Singapore’s waterfront town, much of the activities in Punggol will centre around a new waterway.

 

The HDB has completed technical studies for the waterway.

 

It will now explore ways to integrate eco-friendly features and how to make it safe and vibrant for different recreational options.

 

Work on the waterway is expected to start next year.

 

Mah Bow Tan, National Development Minister, said, “We are actually going to dig a major waterway, over four kilometres long and four metres deep; the width will varying depending on where it is. In three to four years’ time, we should have the new waterway completed.”

 

HDB has also launched a new design competition to get the private sector involved in the design of the waterway landscape.

 

A Waterfront Housing Design Competition will also be held to develop more concrete plans for a new generation of public housing.

 

Mr Mah said, “HDB is going to launch and build another 4,000 new homes in Punggol later this year for sale under the BTO (Build-to-Order) programme. So if you add it all up, we are going to have more than 20,000 new flats in Punggol.”

 

Going forward, HDB plans to launch the first public housing site along the waterfront in the next two to three years, after major works of the waterway are completed.

 

Some land will also be set aside for private residential projects.

 

HDB said fun and adventure await residents along the coastline.

 

Work on the coastal promenade will begin soon, while the development of a Rustic Park at Coney Island will start next year. – CNA/ms

 

Source: Channel NewsAsia

On the market

On the market

 

In this weekly column, we bring you a sampling of properties up for sale. In the spotlight this week: Good-class bungalows

 

Belmont Road, freehold

 

Land: About 22,000 sq ft

 

Price: $28 million

 

Located in prestigious district 10, this bungalow has a wide 27m frontage and is designed in a tropical Balinese fashion.

 

It has 12,000 sq ft of built-up area and comes with eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, an outdoor pool and a private courtyard.

 

Windsor Park, freehold

 

Land: 19,200 sq ft

 

Price: $15.8 million

 

This district 20 bungalow site is a plot of elevated flat ground that has stood vacant for 40 years.

 

It faces the north-south direction and overlooks the MacRitchie Nature Reserve. The price works out to about $822 per sq ft (psf).

 

Binjai Park, freehold

 

Land: 20,000 sq ft

 

Price: $19 million

 

A single-storey house now stands on this sprawling piece of flat rectangular land, situated on the top of a hill.

 

The district 21 parcel faces south and is located near a cul-de-sac. Its asking price works out to about $960 psf.

 

Source: Straits Times

En-bloc woes at Toh Tuck Road

En-bloc woes at Toh Tuck Road

 

Residents complain of noise, dust, as developer builds showflat

 

‘It’s like living in a shipyard’

 

IT’S not chirping birds that wake them now, but pounding hammers.

 

By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof

 

 

18 May 2008

 

IT’S not chirping birds that wake them now, but pounding hammers.

 

And it has been driving some Goodluck View residents up the wall.

 

The 20-year-old Toh Tuck Road estate has been sold en-bloc, but residents have been given a six-month grace period and need to move out only by August.

 

Long before that, in March, developer Hiap Hoe Limited started building the show flat.

 

Mr Paul Makselon, who rents an apartment there, said he has to endure the ‘noise outside his window’, every day from 8am.

 

Said the engineering consultant: ‘It’s like I’m living in a shipyard. It’s all right if they build the showflat in the middle of the road or somewhere further away, but it’s hard to live here when there’s all that noise so close to your home.’

 

The fence surrounding the showflat sits barely 2m from his window.

 

From his three-bedroom apartment, he can see and hear the workers.

 

Work on the showflat is expected to be completed by the end of July, according to a circular distributed by the estate’s management agent.

 

Yet, Mr Makselon’s patience is wearing thin.

 

Said the Singapore permanent resident: ‘My son has to prepare for an exam and he has complained that he is finding it hard to focus. He shuts his windows to block off the noise.

 

‘I find it difficult too because I work from home.’

 

His neighbour upstairs, Madam Tracy Dean, said that sometimes the noise can be a little too much for her.

 

At such times, she leaves the apartment.

 

Said the IT consultant: ‘I really look forward to rain because I know the workers will have to stop work. All that grinding and banging can drive you up the wall.

 

‘Even with the windows closed, the noise filters into my flat.’

 

Mr Makselon and his family plan to move out within three weeks.

 

Madam Dean will leave for Bangkok in August.

 

Said Mr Makselon: ‘We didn’t sign up to live like this. They work without considering that there are still people living here. I’ve had enough.’

 

And it’s not just the noise. MrMakselon claims dust and mosquitos have also been invading their homes.

 

He said he complained to the estate management when construction workers used the swimming pool toilet, leaving trails of mud.

 

He claimed that by starting work on the showflat, the developer was breaking the en-bloc agreement.

 

His landlord, Mr John Tilley, also said the developers should not be working there before August.

 

‘We (tenants and owners) are expected to leave by 21 Aug. But it’s extremely unreasonable for my tenant to live in such conditions,’ Mr Tilley said. ‘The six months grace period is meant for those still living here to find alternative accommodation. ‘

 

INCONVENIENCE EXPECTED

 

But a spokesman for Hiap Hoe said the company had not broken any rules.

 

There are no ‘hard and fast rules’ on building a showflat during the six-month free stay period, she said.

 

She added: ‘Some inconvenience is expected. But so long as we abide by the construction rules and try to minimise the inconveniences, the issue is unavoidable.

 

‘Building showflats during the free stay period is a very common practice in en-bloc developments. There is no clause that says we start work (on the showflat) only after all the occupants have left.’

 

The spokesman said they had received some feedback expressing unhappiness over the construction work.

 

She said no piling work was done, except for the erection of metal beams for the showflat.

 

The sale of the new development is scheduled for the third quarter of 2008.

 

Source: The New Paper

Landlord locks out 167 foreign workers

Landlord locks out 167 foreign workers

 

S’pore company allegedly owes $23,500 in rent for Joo Chiat quarters

 

By Alvin Lim , Gabriel Yue

 

On Wednesday, some foreign workers had to endure a six-hour wait to gain entry into their Joo Chiat quarters.

 

The reason? The landlord of two double-storey shophouses, shared by 167 workers from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, had locked them out.

 

This is the third time this has happened within a period of five months over the issue of late rental payments.

 

When The Sunday Times visited Joo Chiat at about 6pm last Wednesday, we saw workers milling around Joo Chiat Square, an open space next to their living quarters.

 

The number swelled to more than 160 by 11pm.

 

A Bangladeshi worker, who wanted to be known only as Alim, said: ‘Our company owes the landlord money.’

 

The workers are employed by a Singapore company called Deluge Fire Protection. Based in Joo Koon Crescent, its track record includes installing fire-protection systems for VivoCity.

 

The Sunday Times witnessed the firm’s human resource manager, MrTan Poh Peng, instructing the workers not to move around and talk to the media.

 

He also spoke to a police officer – a patrol car had arrived at the scene earlier – and was overheard threatening to break into the shophouses.

 

At about midnight, one of the locks at the shophouses was broken. Shortly after that, landlord Mohamed Ali appeared.

 

He marched up to Mr Tan to talk things over with him.

 

MrMohamed Ali alleged that Deluge owes him at least $23,500 in rent.

 

He said: ‘I managed to get some payment the last two times I locked the dormitories. I was really fed up this time.

 

‘When I threatened Deluge with locking up the dormitories again, Mr Tan told me to go ahead.

 

‘I feel sorry for the workers too. They are the real victims. But I have no choice. It’s the only way I can get the company to pay me,’ he added.

 

The workers were allowed to return to their quarters at 12.15am though the money issue apparently still had not been settled.

 

The lockout is not the only problem faced by the workers.

 

The Sunday Times found their quarters dirty and smelly. The 80 or so workers in each shophouse slept in bunk beds.

 

‘This place is not fit for animals, so how can it be fit for people to live in?’ lamented one Indian worker who declined to be named for fear of being sent home.

 

Other workers said there were cockroaches, rats and even snakes. Two weeks ago, they had no water for 10 days, they said. The electricity supply was also cut off for a week.

 

Mr Mohamed Ali said non-payment of rent was the reason. However, he added that he had asked contractors to install ventilation systems, additional fans and even an air-conditioning system.

 

‘I removed the air-conditioning system at a loss of $16,000 after I was told that air-con is ‘too good’ for the workers,’ he said.

 

Asked about the living conditions, Mr Tan said: ‘This is one of the better dormitories around.’

 

But a worker from Bangladesh, who gave his name as Imran, said: ‘If Mr Tan says this is very good, then what is bad to him? No toilet, electricity, tap, ventilation. This is considered good condition?

 

‘He can say that because he doesn’t have to live here.’

 

He added: ‘But we cannot push all the blame to the company. Mohamed Ali is also not good. By locking us out, he doesn’t treat us like human beings too.’

 

But their days at the Joo Chiat shophouses are numbered.

 

The Urban Redevelopment Authority has issued an eviction notice and the workers have to move out by Friday.

 

It said that the shophouses were not sanctioned for use as workers’ quarters.

 

Mr Mohamed Ali insisted that the place was sanctioned and suggested that the eviction had more to do with the fact that the local residents might have objected to the presence of so many foreign workers.

 

A resident, who wanted to be known only as Madam Ang and who owns a shop directly opposite the quarters, said: ‘They should live in proper dormitories. ‘

 

Mr Tan Ann Kiong, project manager of Deluge, said the company had been in a rush to house its workers and did not make thorough checks.

 

Deluge has found alternative dormitory accommodation in Sungei Kadut. But some workers like Imran are not sure if relief is in sight.

 

‘We may be moving soon, but who knows if our new place would be much better? There have been too many empty promises and I dare not hope for too much,’ he said.

 

Source: Straits Times

Kallang with more bite

Kallang with more bite

 

Kallang Leisure Park is now a dining haven after a $70-m makeover

 

By Rebecca Lynne Tan

 

Once a quiet mall, Kallang Leisure Park (below) has had a swanky $70-million facelift and become a dining haven.

 

The place, which unveiled its new look in November last year, is slowly drawing in the crowds, especially on weekends and when there are concerts at the nearby Singapore Indoor Stadium.

 

But there is potential for far more traffic.

 

A spokesman for Jack Investment, which owns and manages the building, says the revamp was timely as the building is about 15 years old. It also wanted to spruce up for increased traffic that will come when the new Circle Line station in front of the mall opens by 2010.

 

Other developments that will bring traffic include the Sports Hub, to be ready in 2011.

 

Currently, the four-storey mall houses Filmgarde – a six-screen cineplex run by Jack Investment – a bowling alley, an ice rink and a karaoke outlet.

 

But those looking for food will find an interesting mix of eateries including a Koufu food court and several one-of-a-kind restaurants such as Rosti, which specialises in the Swiss potato pancake dish, and Donut & Donuts, a Korean doughnut store.

 

There is also a branch of Korean supermarket chain Sol Mart, which caters to students from the Singapore Korean School located just off nearby Guillemard Road.

 

Also in the mall is Korean yogurt bar Yoguru, the Korean term for yogurt, which sells a special pomegranate and red dragonfruit- flavoured frozen yogurt.

 

Owner Sam Lee, 32, says: ‘It’s hard to find good retail space these days. I see this as a long-term investment. With the opening of the Circle Line and the Sports Hub, traffic flow would definitely increase.’

 

Restaurant owners say the mall can be a little quiet on weekdays, but many ride on their reputations and loyal customer bases.

 

Mr Maxtein Oh, 42, group general manager of Thai Village Holdings which manages the Thai Village chain of restaurants, says: ‘A lot of our customers come to our restaurant because they know our brand. We opened here the day after our Oasis outlet closed.’

 

The Akashi Japanese Restaurant chain opened Akashabu in late March, offering shabu shabu, or a Japanese-style hot pot.

 

Mr Mervyn Goh, 36, who owns the chain with his two brothers, says: ‘We chose Kallang because the concept suited the crowd there.’

 

And the crowds go there because of the convenience. The building has ample parking in the surrounding open-air carparks and there are more than 250 lots in the basement.

 

Sales operations manager David Chin, 48, who was there for lunch on a weekday, says: ‘I work around here and it’s easy to find parking.’

 

David Tan, 37, a doctor, adds: ‘It’s convenient and the food standard at Kallang Leisure Park is quite good. You can get good value for money.’

 

The mall, which has a Cold Storage outlet, also attracts residents who live in nearby Tanjong Rhu, a condominium haven that is just a five- to 10-minute walk away.

 

Ms Kylie Bond, 36, an Australian mother of four who lives down the road from the mall, says: ‘I love that there’s parking on just one level, and how it leads straight to the supermarket. ‘

 

Housewife Nariko Kong, 34, says she used to go to the mall even before the renovations, mostly to dine. She now goes there more often for foot reflexology, food and grocery shopping.

 

She says: ‘It’s so much better. It’s cosy and clean, and there’s so much more variety now.’

 

Source: Straits Times

More bite for bikers

More bite for bikers

 

Mountain bikers who crave the thrills and spills of going off-road have a new playground on Pulau Ubin

 

By Sandra Leong

 

Heavy rain beats down on mountain biker Tan Hong Chun, 29, as he steadies his bicycle at the top of a slope as high as a four-storey building.

 

He may be a commando officer, used to rough and tough army demands, but the slope – called the GraveDrop – gives even him cause to pause before he plunges. He grips his handlebars and then pushes off, skidding and jolting over slippery rocks.

 

The action man is taking his chunky-tyred, rugged bike for a spin at the newly-opened, 45ha Ketam Mountain Bike Park on the north-eastern island of Pulau Ubin.

 

If the GraveDrop sounds too scary, there are routes to suit all levels, from regular dirt-road riders such as Mr Tan to beginners, within the park’s 10km off-road trails that twist around the fringe of the disused Ketam Quarry site.

 

The National Parks Board (NParks) built the bike delight at a cost of $1 million, including planting over 1,000 trees at the site, and says it is Singapore’s only bike park to meet international standards for mountain biking contests.

 

It’s also the largest area in Singapore dedicated to the sport. There are four other areas: off Chestnut Avenue at Upper Bukit Timah, along the periphery of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Kent Ridge Park, and a parcel of land starting at the intersection of Tampines Avenues 7 and 9.

 

A handful of unmarked trails also exist, but NParks director of conservation Wong Tuan Wah says riders are discouraged from going on non-designated trails in nature reserves and forested areas, for their own safety and also to avoid disturbing wildlife and vegetation.

 

If you’re more familiar with a leisurely spin along East Coast Park, mountain biking caters to your inner adrenaline junkie.

 

You negotiate off-road obstacles such as uphill climbs, downhill descents, narrow tracks, sharp corners and drop-offs, where the rider has to ‘jump’ or ‘drop’ from one height to another.

 

The Ketam park roll-out comes ahead of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games to be held here, where mountain biking will be one of the 26 events. Races will be held at the Tampines trail.

 

Singapore, in fact, has a national team of mountain bikers representing the Republic in events such as the South-east Asian Games. But the members LifeStyle spoke to say they are left largely to train on their own and fund their own pursuits.

 

Mr Lee Zi Shin, 32, who runs an online portal for cyclists named Togoparts which has 13,500 registered members, says: ‘The driving factor behind people taking up mountain biking has got to be the availability of terrain in Singapore. So the Ketam trail is a big plus for them.’

 

LifeStyle went with three seasoned cyclists, including Mr Tan, for an early look at the trail on a wet Wednesday last week.

 

Colours for skill levels

 

Despite boasting some menacingly named obstacles – besides GraveDrop, you’ll also come across features called Black Cobra and Strangler – Ketam is also built for leisure riders.

 

So if you don’t own a mountain bike, which can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars, you can get a bumboat as usual from Changi to the jetty area and simply hire a suitable two-wheeler from one of the numerous rental places in the area.

 

However, mountain bikers warn that it can be a hazardous sport and advise wearing a safety helmet and sticking to beginner-level trails until you have more experience under your saddle. Some parts may also not be suitable for children.

 

Injuries are not uncommon. Experienced rider Lee Chuen Ling, 37, an in-house legal counsel, says: ‘If you want to take up mountain biking, you better be prepared to fall. But it serves to remind you that you are human and that you need to improve your skills.’

 

To help you tell if you are on the right path, the park has colour-coded sections for each skill level, in accordance with standards set by the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

 

There’s the Blue Square, for beginner riders; Black Diamond for those who are moderately skilled; and Double Black Diamond, which is not for the faint-hearted.

 

If you want even more thrills, there is a Dirt Skills Park and a Freeride Skills Park, which are manmade circuits featuring various obstacles to test riders’ skills.

 

Ketam was launched officially yesterday morning by Senior Minister of State for National Development and Education Grace Fu.

 

The idea to build a mountain bike park on Ubin was first discussed by NParks in consultation with the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association (Saca) in late 2001, says Mr Robert Teo, the assistant director overseeing Pulau Ubin at NParks.

 

‘The natural undulating terrain and expanse available at the site offered an ideal setting. Moreover, mountain biking is a very popular activity for visitors to Pulau Ubin,’ he adds.

 

Construction took place from November 2006 to September last year. Also included as consultants in the process was a local company named DirTraction, which specialises in building mountain biking trails, organising cycling events and holding training clinics for both mountain bikers and road cyclists.

 

One of DirTraction’ s founders, Mr Max Mager, 45, notes that some areas of the park were inaccessible to machinery or heavy vehicles, so members of the mountain biking community did volunteer manual labour over ‘countless weekends’.

 

He says: ‘I sent out an e-mail asking for help and about 10 volunteers came to carry the rocks with their bare hands or with wheelbarrows. Two even came all the way from Malaysia.’

 

The opening of the Ketam park, which is free of charge, comes with increased interest in mountain biking.

 

At yesterday’s Hentam Ketam, a duathlon race organised by Togoparts to mark the opening of the Ubin bike park, about 100 mostly Singaporean competitors signed up to run and bike around the trails.

 

Another 100 signed up for a leisure ride.

 

A DirTraction race last month, the Bike Asia 100 Mountain Bike Rice, also saw close to 300 competitors signing up, of which 80 per cent were Singaporean. Come July 20, it is organising another race at Kent Ridge, called Krankin’ At Kent Ridge.

 

Groups such as the Zheng Hua CSC Cycling Club at Bukit Panjang are promoting mountain biking at a grassroots level, says its president Jefferson Ng, 46. The club has 25 members aged 18 to 47, including coaches who teach beginners basic skills.

 

He says: ‘It’s part of our development programme. We are also doing talent-spotting at the primary school level.’

 

Mr Mager says it is planning to organise races at the schools level to popularise the sport.

 

He’s also on the lookout for new trail locations like Ketam, but says this is hard as there is no established ‘tender or lobby system’ through which to make proposals.

 

For now, there’s the new playground on Ubin to explore. GraveDrop anyone?

 

sandral@sph. com.sg

 

 

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Danger zone

 

Four spots to look out for at the Ketam Mountain Bike Park on Pulau Ubin:

 

1 Freeride Skills Park and Dirt Skills Park

 

The former is for Bike Trail enthusiasts – stunt riders who nagivate manmade obstacles without letting their feet touch the ground. The latter is also known as a ‘pump track’, where riders negotiate a series of small mounds in the fastest possible time.

 

2 GraveDrop

 

Situated within the difficult Double Black Diamond trail, this obstacle is arguably the most challenging in Ketam. Riders have to make a steep, winding descent down uneven rocks from an elevation of about 50m.

 

3 Golden Orb and Overshot

 

These two obstacles are next to each other but the Golden Orb is a Black Diamond, while the latter is on the (harder) Double Black Diamond. Both involve rolling down some complicated rock structures of varying heights.

 

4 Quarry View

 

This is probably the most picturesque spot in the Blue Square trail (the easiest level). Overlooking the quarry, you coast down a series of small slopes before hitting an exhilarating big one.

 

Source: Straits Times

A financial tool you can TRUST

A financial tool you can TRUST

 

The usefulness of trusts has not diminished with the recent abolition of estate duty. Lorna Tan looks at why people set up trusts and presents some interesting real-life trusts

 

DESPITE the scrapping of estate duty in February, trusts – once a financial tool used by families to minimise death duties on the estates of family members who had died – have not lost their shine.

 

In fact, they are still the chosen instrument for those with certain purposes to fulfil, such as succession planning or wealth protection.

 

Trusts are legal arrangements that allow you to give away your assets, such as shares or property, to named beneficiaries. A trustee, typically an institution, will administer these assets.

 

Before its abolition, estate duty was imposed on the estate of a person who had died if his assets exceeded certain limits – more than $9 million for residential properties and more than $600,000 for movable assets.

 

Why people set up trusts

 

·  Guarding against spendthrift heirs

 

Trusts are still the best way to guard against the dissipation of a family fortune by spendthrift or quarrelling heirs.

 

Rather than making outright bequests, you can use a trust to provide your heirs with a regular income while preserving the capital for future generations, said Ms Claire Tham, a partner at Hin Tat Augustine & Partners.

 

After all, studies have generally shown that the old saying about family wealth disappearing in three generations is true.

 

·  Fending off unfavourable divorce settlements

 

Closely linked to the issue discussed above is the distrust some might feel towards a son-in-law or daughter-in- law.

 

The desire not to have this ‘interloper’ make off with the family’s riches is strong motivation for many entrepreneurs to structure their wealth in such a way that divorce settlements do not result in a transfer of wealth to the interloper, added Ms Tham.

 

·  Warding off creditors

 

Individuals who are in business might want to ring-fence the assets they have set aside for loved ones so potential creditors cannot touch these assets.

 

However, an individual who transfers his assets less than five years before he becomes bankrupt could find that they are not actually protected from creditors, said law firm Characterist LLC.

 

Some might want to ensure that certain persons do not benefit from their estates, for instance, the black sheep who might blow away the family fortune, said OCBC Trustee director Raymond Chee.

 

·  Philanthropy

 

Instead of making a one-time gift to a charity, you can use a trust as a platform for sustainable philanthropic activities.

 

In most cases, the underlying assets are invested to generate a regular stream of income that is then used to fund charitable purposes. This creates a legacy that will survive long after the individual dies, said Mr Chee.

 

·  Maintaining confidentiality

 

Publicity-averse individuals might find it comforting that their trustees are obliged under Singapore law to keep their affairs secret, highlighted Ms Tham.

 

This gives trusts an added advantage over wills. One of the drawbacks of a will is that the executors have to obtain probate, which means that the contents of the will enter the public domain. Trusts, in contrast, can be kept confidential.

 

In Singapore, the trustee has a duty to keep confidential the details of the trust. This duty arises both under common law and under the Trust Companies Act.

 

How much trusts cost

 

Fees are charged on a case-by-case basis, with the two main components being the set-up fee and the annual fee.

 

According to Mr Luke Peng, the chief executive of SG Trust (Asia), fees vary depending on the complexity of the trust structure, the volume of activity carried out and the size of the assets held.

 

For instance, for a simple trust that holds US$5 million (S$6.9 million) in assets with minimal transactions, SG Trust’s set-up fee starts at US$5,000. The annual fee is based on 0.2 per cent of the assets held, with the minimum fee being US$5,000 to US$7,500.

 

British and Malayan Trustees (BMT) recently launched a trust aimed at the mass affluent market. This can be started with as little as $50,000 for a set-up fee of $3,000 to $5,000 and an annual fee that might be as low as $1,000.

 

According to its brochure, the BMT Provident Trust caters to individuals who might decide to transfer some of their assets into a trust at a later date.

 

This is because the time might not be right yet for them to make key decisions about the disposal of their assets.

 

For trusts with lower initial amounts, the investments will usually be conservative in nature, and could include fixed-term deposits, money market instruments, capital-protected funds and unit trusts.

 

lorna@sph.com. sg

 

 

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Reasons for setting up trusts

 

Here are some real-life trusts provided by lawyers and trust firms.

 

Cases from Characterist:

 

Money safe from creditors

 

Businessman Leslie Tong (not his real name) set up a trust immediately after receiving a large inheritance of $4 million from his father.

 

He is married to a housewife and has young children. He allotted the entire inheritance he received to the trust for the benefit of his spouse and children.

 

By doing so, he knows that if his business fails, his inheritance will not be lost as it will be safe from creditors.

 

He can then have the peace of mind to be aggressive in his business deals, knowing that his inheritance will be passed on to the next generation.

 

As he considers himself to be savvy about investments, he appointed himself as the trustee during his lifetime, and a corporate trustee in the event of his death.

 

Maintaining grave

 

A traditional Chinese man, Mr Wee Hock Leng (not his real name), wanted certain ceremonial traditions to be observed after his death, and to ensure that his children would maintain his grave.

 

He set up a trust to put aside $200,000 for the children to carry out the requisite traditional rites and to maintain his grave for 20 years.

 

He directed that after 20 years, any remaining monies could be distributed to designated beneficiaries.

 

Protecting stamp collection

 

Mr Michael Lim, an ardent stamp collector, has a 12-year-old grandson who shared his hobby.

 

His collection was of substantial value and he did not want anyone to sell the stamps for money.

 

So he set up a trust for a trustee to take possession of the stamps, with directions for the trustee to hand over the stamps to his grandson when he turns 25.

 

 

 

Cases from SG Trust (Asia):

 

Providing for disabled child

 

Mrs Patricia Tan (not her real name) has several children, one of whom is mentally disabled. She was concerned that upon her death, her disabled child would not be properly taken care of by his siblings, so she set up a trust to provide for his needs.

 

Cash not squandered

 

A successful entrepreneur with many children, Mr Benjamin Tay (not his real name) had accumulated much wealth.

 

Unfortunately his children were spendthrift and lazy, choosing to live off his wealth rather than supporting themselves.

 

Mr Tay decided to set up a trust, allowing his children to receive only lump sum distributions on a regular basis. Only his grandchildren could benefit from the trust assets.

 

Cases from Amolat & Partners:

 

 

 

Setting marriage conditions

 

A rich Indian woman, Madam Supiah Jayakumar (not her real name), set up a trust of her bungalow and directed that her youngest son – then leading quite a wild love life – should get a share only if he married a woman of the Indian race and of the Hindu religion.

 

The trust was set up five years ago and back then, the property was worth about $3 million.

 

Helping good causes

 

Mr Philip Khoo (not his real name) set up a trust of $500,000 to provide for an orphanage in Vietnam. He directed that the trustees should help the orphanage in providing shelter and food.

 

One of his trustees was a monk involved with the orphanage and another trustee was an accountant, an old friend of his.

 

 

 

Case from Goodwins Law Corp:

 

Not affected by divorce rules

 

The United States and Canada are countries with high tax jurisdictions. Mr Bill Andrews (not his real name) has an only daughter who is 24 years old and married to an American.

 

He would have liked to give her a huge sum of money, but was afraid of the liberal division rules on divorce in the US.

 

He decided to put the money into a trust that would not be affected by matrimonial division rules on divorce. This is because the trust would own the money and not his daughter.

 

Source: Straits Times

Top? Top of what?

Top? Top of what? 

Where do you see this?

 

On anything that refers to a building under construction, ranging from hoardings to property advertisements.

 

 

What does it mean?

 

When a building is completed, its owners will apply for a Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC), but this takes some time to obtain.

 

In the meantime, the owners can ask the Building and Construction Authority to issue a Temporary Occupation Permit, or TOP, for the building. This allows them to occupy the building even before the CSC is received.

 

During construction, developers often provide an estimated TOP date, which indicates the year – and sometimes even the month – when the building is expected to be completed.

 

 

Why is it important?

 

No one can move into a building, whether office or residential, until it has obtained the TOP.

 

For many homebuyers, the TOP date also marks the deadline by which they have to pay up the bulk of their home loans. Under some schemes, buyers pay an upfront deposit of 20 per cent of the home’s purchase price, with the rest payable upon the TOP date.

 

 

So you want to use the term. Just say…

 

‘We’re getting married this year but our condo will obtain the TOP only in 2010, so in the meantime, we have to find another place to live in.’

 

Source: Straits Times

Wife not automatically entitled to half of HDB flat

Wife not automatically entitled to half of HDB flat

 

Q I am filing for divorce. My wife and I have an HDB flat with a joint-name tenancy status of equal share. Both of us are working, and we are childless.

My wife, however, did not contribute anything to the payment for the flat, as well as to the monthly loan instalments. We agreed to get divorced, and that I would pay her a lump sum that she had agreed to.

 

Is my wife still entitled to claim 50 per cent from the sale of the flat when our divorce case is finalised? Can I retain the flat while my divorce is being finalised?

 

A You did not indicate when you were married. There are statutory restrictions on a couple filing for divorce within the first three years of their marriage. You can only commence divorce proceedings within the first three years of your marriage if the court gives you permission to do so.

 

You must prove to the court that your case is one of exceptional hardship or there is exceptional depravity on the part of your spouse. If you are unable to do so, you will only be able to commence divorce proceedings after three years from the date of your marriage.

 

Your Housing Board flat is a matrimonial asset subject to division when the court deals with the divorce. You did not state whether you purchased your flat directly from the HDB or the open market. You also did not mention the type of HDB flat that you purchased.

 

These are important as there are restrictions imposed by the HDB on whether parties are eligible to sell their flat on the open market. This depends on whether they have fulfilled the requisite minimum occupation period, the type of flat they purchased, whether they have obtained a Central Provident Fund Housing Grant and whether they have taken a loan from the HDB.

 

You should verify with the HDB as to your eligibility to sell the flat. If parties are unable to sell the flat on the open market, then it has to be surrendered to the HDB upon the finalisation of the divorce proceedings.

 

You have indicated that you wish to retain the flat. This can be an alternative to surrendering it to the HDB. However, in order for you to retain it, you must satisfy one of the eligibility schemes as prescribed by the HDB.

 

You may wish to consult the HDB’s officers as to the various eligibility schemes they offer. Assuming you are eligible to retain your HDB flat, the court can make an order allowing you to retain it. This, however, means that you will have to pay your spouse her rightful entitlement to her share of the flat.

 

As to your query about your wife claiming 50 per cent of the proceeds arising from the sale, this is on the assumption that you are eligible to sell the flat on the open market in the first place.

 

Your wife may also decide to claim half of the flat’s value in the event you decide to retain the flat. Your wife is not automatically entitled to 50 per cent of it. The court takes into account many factors when deciding how much each party will be entitled to. This will depend on the financial contribution each party makes to the acquisition of the flat.

 

You mentioned that your wife did not contribute any payment for the purchase of the flat or towards the monthly instalments.

 

She will still be able to establish her claim to the flat by relying on her indirect contributions, such as looking after the home or caring for the family or any form of assistance rendered to you in the carrying on of your business.

 

The extent of her indirect contributions will invariably depend on the length of your marriage. If your marriage is of a short duration and you do not have any children, your wife’s indirect contributions may not be as substantial as compared to a case involving a lengthy marriage where parties have children.

 

Raymond Yeo

Partner

Harry Elias Partnership

 

Source: Straits Times