SINGAPORE: The highest bid for a hawker stall from Oct 13 to 26 was S$5,999 for one located at Golden Mile Food Centre. This is according to the list of five highest tender bids for the period published by the National Environmental Agency (NEA).

Rental fees have reached unprecedented highs recently. In September, the NEA’s list of tender bids from the hawker stall bidding exercise from August this year showed that a stall at Newton Food Centre drew an eyebrow-raising bid of more than S$6,800 a month.

In September, the highest bid for the month was S$6,800 for a stall at Marine Parade Food Centre, which caused worry to hawkers who expressed concern over how the hawker who won the bid would be able to make their rental fees.

The winning bid at Golden Mile in October was more than S$500 than the bid that came in second, S$5,310 for monthly rental fees for a stall at Bedok South Road Food Centre.

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Mothership notes that the Golden Mile Food Centre stall was a former drinks stall whose owner has since passed away. The stall may be found on the underground floor at #B1-22. The winning bidder is Shahnazar Alam bin Mohd Sager, who outbid at least four rivals, placing bids from S$3,676.84 to S$4,780.

Some Singaporeans reacted with alarm to the S$6,800 rental fees at Newton Food Centre and Marine Parade Food Centre earlier this year. After the price of the Newton Food Centre stall made the news, a letter from Mr Martin Lee Ming Han was published in The Straits Times Forum.

“I believe that the bidding system is unfair to hawkers. It puts them in a competitive situation where they have to bid as high as possible to secure a stall. This can lead to high rents, which will eventually be passed on to consumers in the form of higher food prices,” wrote Mr Lee on Sept 17.

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A response from Mr Andrew Low, Group Director, Hawker Centres Group at the National Environment Agency, was published a day later.

“The open tender process ensures that stalls are allocated in a fair and transparent manner. There is no minimum bid price and a stall will be awarded to the highest qualifying bid. Successful bid prices for stalls awarded are also published online as a reference to guide tenderers in placing bids. Some tenderers have secured stalls for as low as $1,” Mr Low answered. /TISG