More than a builder of flats, he raised building productivity

The passing of Dr Michael Fam was a sad news as we prepare for SG50.  He was very much a part of the Singapore Story.

Among his many accomplishments, he gave 14 years of his life to HDB and public housing.  He brought his immense expertise from the business community to bear. Dr Fam served on HDB Board from 1969 to 1983, first as a Board Director and later as Chairman, HDB from April 1975 to July 1983.

Under Dr Fam’s leadership, public housing doubled its stock from 200,000 units of flats (in 1975) to 400,000 units (in early 1980s). Many of the flats in Bt Batok, Clementi, Hougang, Jurong, Tampines and Yishun were built during his term of leadership.

For new precincts, Dr Fam steered HDB to improve its planning and design concepts, achieving high design standards comparable to private homes.  For old estates, Dr Fam helped HDB to upgrade their general living environment.

In late 1970s, when many local HDB builders shied away from HDB projects as the construction industry faced rising cost, Dr Fam deftly guided HDB in negotiations with foreign contractors and concluded agreements with international contractors to build over 50,000 units using prefabricated and industrialised methods of construction. He also helped to nurture a group of reliable and skilful local public housing contractors. His efforts swiftly ensured that the HDB building programme stayed on track.

Dr Michael Fam had lived a good and meaningful life, touching the hearts of Singaporeans, including many living in HDB towns.  Thank you, Dr Fam.

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