SINGAPORE: This year’s Geylang Serai Bazaar made the news recently due to the price for stall rentals. Food guru KF Seetoh weighed in on the issue in a recent Facebook post, asking “How did we get here?’

$18,000 a mth a stall, for the Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar , easily, the world’s most expensive pasar malam stall offering an unproportionately cheap menu. Even top pop-up markets in prime time New York or LA cannot hold a candle to this.

Justifying our world’s most expensive city reputation i guess. How did we get here?,” the Makansutra owner wrote in a much-shared post on Tuesday (Mar 21).

CNA reported on Tuesday evening that around one-fifth of the over 900 stalls at the bazaar, which started on Mar 17 and runs till April 22, is still unoccupied.

The report quotes organisers as attributing the empty stalls to competition from other Ramadan bazaars, as well as to the fact that some vendors are now operating businesses out of their homes.

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However, vendors have said that some have chosen not to participate in the bazaar due to high costs. One vendor, Mr Suriyah, told CNA that he is paying $18,000 for a stall space this year when eight years ago, this cost him between $8,000 to $10,000.

Businessman and former presidential candidate Mr Tan Kin Lian also weighed in on the high cost of rental at Geylang Serai Bazaar in a Facebook post

“The stall operators need to generate revenue of $600 a day just to cover the rental. There is also the cost of workers and the cost of the goods that are sold.

The high rental will have to be covered by the high prices paid by customers. The stall operator needs to work long hours to generate enough revenue to cover the cost and hopefully make a profit.

Is it feasible to set the stall rental at a modest rate, maybe $3,000 a month or $100 a day. With lower rental, will the stall operators sell their products at lower prices, and make the customer happy with a good deal?” he wrote.

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“Sahur Hero” goes out at 2am to give food to those in need