Vivian Balakrishnan orders NEA to drop "archaic" hawker rule

An "archaic" rule that hawkers holding National Environment Agency (NEA) licences must apply in writing if they want to sell "restaurant type" dishes has been scrapped. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JASON QUAH
An "archaic" rule that hawkers holding National Environment Agency (NEA) licences must apply in writing if they want to sell "restaurant type" dishes has been scrapped. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JASON QUAH

An "archaic" rule that hawkers holding National Environment Agency (NEA) licences must apply in writing if they want to sell "restaurant type" dishes has been scrapped.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan made the announcement on Monday night in a Facebook post.

He had apparently seen hawker-stall holder Daniel Goh's Facebook post last Friday about the licensing requirement.

Mr Goh, 39, who runs craft-beer stall The Good Beer Company at Chinatown Complex, said a neighbour had just renewed his licence and spotted the odd condition that "in the case of a cooked food stall, no restaurant type of dishes shall be sold unless the licensee has been authorised to do so in writing by the Director-General of Public Health".

Mr Goh asked: "How do you define 'restaurant'?

"Here the government is trying to encourage more innovative food ideas, but there you have restrictions... There are great developments in the Singapore hawker scene, and it would be a great pity to throw a spanner in the works."

In his Facebook post, Mr Balakrishnan said: "I agree with Daniel, and have instructed NEA to remove this archaic rule from the hawker stall licence with immediate effect."

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