Get hawkers involved in running new-model centres

Let's break away from the social enterprise model of hawker centres because those running the operations do not have the relevant experience and do not know how to propose or implement the appropriate policies.

For example, how about centralising the sourcing of raw ingredients by working with wholesalers to get the best rate for the hawkers?

Talk to hawkers, get their views and form a committee that includes the hawkers to implement the best way to tackle issues such as clearing cutlery, crockery and trays.

Alternatively, we need to mandate that all patrons in hawker centres need to clear their tables and trays after eating to create a better environment to dine in.

Management could control the supply side of crockery and cutlery by working with firms or even with polytechnics and universities to develop low-cost biodegradable items to be used in all hawker centres. If a plate or bowl with the cutlery were to be developed with a biodegradable tray attached, diners need just discard the whole tray in an appropriate bin for recycling after every meal.

To simplify things, there could be just one company taking care of supplying the raw materials, one company supplying the cutlery and crockery, and one company taking care of the collection of trash.

Operational hours of the centre will depend on individual stallholders as they alone can decide how much they need to earn a living.

I believe we can move forward in this debate in a more amicable manner.

Gabriel Ong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2018, with the headline 'Get hawkers involved in running new-model centres'. Print Edition | Subscribe