Old model of a hawker centre works well

It is hard to believe that some hawkers have to pay more than $4,600 a month, based on the breakdown of monthly fixed operating costs for a hawker at Hawker Centre@Our Tampines Hub (Hawker centre model to be fine-tuned: Amy Khor, Sept 8; and Rental of $3,000 for hawker stalls not representative; Sept 11).

I do not see any benefits for patrons and stallholders, given the higher food prices and with stallholders paying so much more than their counterparts who are operating under the older model of a hawker centre.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) currently manages about 107 markets and hawker centres.

It has been managing such centres for decades with an experienced division and has done a good job.

I do not understand why the NEA had to rope in social enterprises for the alternative management model for new hawker centres.

Although these are not-for-profit organisations, they still need revenue to support their staff and operational costs, and this could come from a hawker's profits.

The NEA should capitalise on its wealth of experience and expertise.

In fact, the current no-frills model for hawker centres works very well. Plus, the cashless unified e-payment system will be implemented soon.

Cost effectiveness is the key to delivering affordable quality food in such community dining rooms.

For the benefit of stallholders and workers, the no-frills model should stay.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2018, with the headline 'Old model of a hawker centre works well'. Print Edition | Subscribe