Life Corporation: Conduct In Winning Tender Was Open And Transparent

Life Corporation, the parent company of Eternal Pure Land, has defended its conduct in winning the tender for a Fernvale Link site where it had originally planned to build a commercial columbarium.

Making its first comments since news emerged last week that it had ignored land use gazettes by planning to build a commercial columbarium even though it is not affiliated to any religious organisations, the company said yesterday in a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange that the tender process was open and transparent. “Life Corporation provided all information required and requested in accordance with tender conditions,” it said. It added that it understands recent public sentiment that ownership of such land development should be by a non-profit religious organisation.

“It has always been (the company’s) intention that the temple component of the development … be headed by religious individuals,” Life Corporation said.

Repeated calls and email queries sent to the company by TODAY have gone unanswered.

The plans to build the commercial columbarium had riled some would-be residents of the Fernvale Lea Build-to-Order (BTO) project, so much so that they asked the Housing and Development Board (HDB) for a refund on their flat. An online petition was also started by current and would-be residents around Fernvale Link, where the proposed temple site is, in a bid to stop the development.

Last Thursday, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed in Parliament that the HDB awarded the site to Eternal Pure Land “under the impression that the company (was) a vehicle for a religious organisation to build and own a Chinese temple”.

Mr Khaw said the HDB officers made the wrong assumptions and awarded the tender to Eternal Pure Land, which made the highest bid.

The Government will ensure that the original plan of building a Chinese temple is reinstated. It is also in discussions with the company. The authorities have also embarked on a review of its land-tender process for places of worship, prompted by feedback.

Life Corporation had announced the successful tender on July 21 last year. Adding that it has made preliminary plans regarding the operation of the temple, the company said in the filing that it is “sensitive to recent public and Government comments”, and it is exploring with the Government whether a “mutually satisfactory and viable solution can be found in due course”.



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