Singapore — Following the backlash after the National Environment Agency (NEA) raised hawker rent, local entrepreneur Kumaran Pillai criticized the entire move and both Amy Khor’s and Grace Fu’s responses.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Jun 29), Mr Pillai wrote that Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor’s and Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) Grace Fu’s responses did “not augur well for PAP”.
After Makansutra founder KF Seetoh took to social media to criticise the NEA for allegedly raising hawkers rent by almost 40 per cent amid trying times. In a Facebook post published on Saturday (Jun 26), NEA appears to have addressed the matter by highlighting a “discussion online that NEA has increased a hawker’s stall rental by a significant percentage during this period.”
NEA clarified that the typical tenancy of hawker stalls is for three years and that the rental “is kept unchanged” throughout that period.
“The renewal of tenancy three years later will be based on prevailing market rates assessed by independent professional valuers,” said NEA.
The agency added that rentals upon renewal could be higher or lower; however, they have not exceeded S$300 in recent years.
In his post, Mr Pillai questioned: “If rentals are based on demand and supply, why is NEA raising rent especially when there is both a demand and supply shock in the last 18 months since the outbreak of COVID19?”
He also pointed out that since there is a new tray-clearing initiative, “doesn’t this help lower the costs?”
Mr Pillai added that at a time when hawkers are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, it is not clear as to why the government needs to raise rents.
“So much for wanting to keep our hawker heritage alive. And getting young ones to take up hawkering. Worst of all is to get our young ones to take up cleaning jobs at hawker centres”, he wrote.
On Saturday (Jun 26), Ms Khor shared NEA’s post. She wrote: “Hawkers are the backbone of #OurHawkerCulture. We will continue to support them through this #Covid19 pandemic and beyond. Read NEA’s post below to understand how stall rentals are renewed after the typical tenancy of 3 years”.
Ms Fu also shared the NEA’s post on her page but did not comment on the matter. /TISG
Read related: KF Seetoh: Hawker to quit and close permanently following NEA’s 40 per cent rental raise
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