HDB targets frivolous applicants
I don't really see what's the problem with people adopting the apply-first-and-see-how attitude. If you don't like the flat, you should have the right not to buy the flat. You're not buying a bowl of fishball noodles. The flat cost many times your salary. The buyer should be at least entitled to a moment of painful doubt.
If it cost many times your salary, the 1 year penalty is relatively light compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Again, how will this help the genuine buyers? Or how does the frivolous applicants hurt the genuine buyers? If buyers before them backed out, these genuine buyers would naturally move forward in the queue. Of course, your choices might be limited because you're still somewhere at the back. But hey, you're now presented with an opportunity you previously had not.
It's funny. Would the policy makers themselves buy a flat they do not like? Do they actually talk to people who are going to be affected by their policy?