A raging fire destroyed much of a wet market and coffeeshop in Jurong West t Block 493 Jurong West St 41 on 11 Oct – affecting about 45 stallholders. Police reported earlier today that they had arrested a 41-year-old man for his suspected involvement in causing the fire and that he will be charged in Saturday.

Meanwhile the Southwest Community Development Council and Mr Ang Wei Neng, a Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC, met the affected stallholders yesterday (13 Oct). Those affected were offered S$500 in financial aid and were given a choice of relocating to other market and food stalls, some of which are located in the nearby areas.

The Housing & Development Board and the National Environment Agency were also in the meeting with the stallholders and assured them that they will be given help to relocate quickly, so that they may resume their businesses in a short period of time.

Mr Ang, speaking to reporters after the session said that the stallholders were “grateful” that they were able to get the leases from the alternative sites listed without having to go through the bidding process.

Many of the affected stallholders where anything but “grateful” about the help extended to them.

Speaking to the TODAY newspaper some stallholders said that they were not keen to move to the alternative sites.

67-year-old stallholder Mr Teo Yew Ngee who rented a flower shop at the wet market razed to the ground said that the nearest stall available for him was at Queenstown.

In adding that the stall offered was “too far”, Mr Teo said: “They’ve given us S$500 … but it’s not enough for our daily expenses (in the coming months).” He suffered about S$10,000 in losses.

Another stallholder who wanted to be identified only as Mr Cheng took issue with the lease period of the new stalls offered to them. According to Mr Cheng, the new stalls come with a short lease of 3 – 6 months.

He said: “If I invest S$10,000 just for a three-month lease, I might make another loss again, so this doesn’t really help us.” Mr Cheng ran a fishball noodles stall at the affected coffeeshop.

It may take a year to rebuild the wet market. The rental and conservancy charges for the affected stall holders will be waived during this period.