Just learnt that in a condominium in the east of Singapore had their Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the council comprising mostly of a particular nationality was removed by the owners who turned out in force. Reason for the unhappiness was that the decisions of the council were made for the benefit of the same nationalities of the council members, excluding others.
With Singapore being an open country, increasingly there are fault lines created when different nationalities purchase real estate here. Birds of the same kind would flock together. When sufficient numbers exist, they would influence the outcome of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) as in the case of the condominium in the east. Common sense would dictate that these council members ought to have considered the interests, culture and sensitivities of owners of other nationalities. Unfortunately, this is an ideal that can never be achieved in practice.
In the past, the disputes in estates are often based mostly on how well the estate is managed, cleanliness, how reasonable are the by-laws and how efficiently the funds are deployed. With the increasing aggregation based on nationalities, this creates a new dimension in estate management. Would we see more AGMs where different nationalities clash on how the estate should be managed, tainted by the common practices of a particular nationality?
For the HDB flats, there is a policy of ethnic quota for any block of flats to manage aggregation by race. This is a legacy of the government’s policy of not allowing enclaves of a particular race to develop and a genuine intent to get the population to live harmoniously with each other. In this instance, the people of different race have a common country – Singapore where they call home. But for different nationalities? Would the government enact a law that limits the percentage or number of a particular nationality from buying property in a strata private estate? Unless such laws are enacted, we would see more of nationality based disputes happening in private strata estates.
Most of the foreigners are here for a short time and once they have achieved their objectives, they are gone. Perhaps to the western countries or back to their home country. There is nothing at stake for them to change the way they live nor practice. If any estate were known to have nationality based dispute, new buyers would be scared off and the value of the estate in question would drop. The minority owners would have to sell at a loss and exit that estate. Perhaps with the exit of the minority owners, the new entrants into the estate may be more of the majority nationality. Such nationality based disputes in strata private estates would be a challenge for owners to live with and for those in estate management to cope with. It may result in even those who are in estate management have to be of the same nationality in order to be able to interact or communicate effectively with the majority nationality.