Put priority on helping vendors make transition

As the deadline looms for the Sungei Road market to close, more comprehensive initiatives are needed to help the vendors secure new stalls to hawk their wares (Sungei Rd vendors receive more help; June 17).

Absolute priority should be given to these vendors when allocating stalls at hawker centres and to ensure minimal overhead costs are incurred due to the inconvenience.

The Government would need to walk the ground to find out and address the concerns of these vendors to facilitate effective solutions for them.

More subsidies and rebates should also be given to them over the first three to six months, as they adjust to their new locations. Financial assistance schemes should be made available to all vendors.

The National Environment Agency should compile a list of the 200 hawkers and help to inform customers on where they are moving. Brochures detailing the move can also be given to these vendors to distribute to their customers.

Perhaps the Government could also give them a decal to place on their new stalls stating that they are from the Sungei Road market. This will make customers aware of them and preserve the branding of the stalls.

Since the market is part of Singapore's heritage, having a photo exhibition or a book about the old site should be considered. Proceeds from these initiatives could help vendors cope with rental costs.

I urge the Government to beef up efforts to help the hawkers get a new stall or other financial help, as most belong to the pioneer generation of Singaporeans who have sacrificed tirelessly in their efforts for the country's development.

Darren Chan Keng Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Put priority on helping vendors make transition'. Print Edition | Subscribe