S’pore Couple Married in Batam So Each of Them Can Keep an HDB Flat Each

There are two things that are infamously hard to do in Singapore: love, and housing. However, people are still striving for the best of both worlds, some maybe going a little bit too far.

A widow and a widower from Singapore recently tied the knot in Batam, Indonesia, in what could be described as a highly strategic move to keep both of their HDB flats.?

The man has been single for more than 10 years, while the wife had inherited her flat after the death of her husband. Both of them are nearly 60 years old.

In Singapore, it’s already hard enough to own one HDB flat, and owning more than one HDB flat is even more taboo, much less allowed for married couples altogether.

According to the HDB regulations, if they had registered their marriage in Singapore, one of them would have been required to give up their home.

These two lovebirds have a combined total of nine children and seven grandchildren from their previous marriages.

“If we sell one of our flats, where would our many children and grandchildren live? So, the best way was to have a secret marriage to legalise our relationship while retaining our flats,” said the widower when interviewed by the press.

If you’re scratching your head wondering why this required a trip to Batam, here’s the scoop.

The couple decided to get married in Batam in early 2023, which they saw as a convenient and less pricey alternative to the marriage syndicates in Thailand that charge around S$863 for a similar service.

According to the widower, “We thought a secret marriage would be the best way to keep our flats and still make our relationship official.”

Their nuptials, which took just 15 minutes, were held in Sekupang, Batam, witnessed by their family members. They returned to Singapore on the last ferry of the day.

To give them some credit, they still managed to throw in a brief ‘honeymoon’ for good measure.

Is This Even Allowed?

Here’s where it gets sticky: While they might have a fancy certificate from Batam, it’s not worth much back home. Secret marriages, like the one these lovebirds had, are not recognised by Singapore law.

An anonymous kadi, who is a Muslim judge or legal scholar, mentioned that he’s been approached by several couples looking to do the same but had turned them away.?

“These secret marriages violate Singapore’s regulations,” he said. “I don’t know where they end up getting married—maybe Thailand—but these marriages don’t hold any legal weight here.”

In other words, these couples might end up with a marriage certificate that’s more of a souvenir than a legal document.

“The couples involved risk facing legal issues in the long run,” the kadi concluded.

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