Too many additional charges in new hawker centre model

Extensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders in the not-for-profit hawker centre model have shown that the new system is not producing the desired results (Teething problems with new hawker centre model; Oct 14).

We need to work out a win-win solution to keep both the hawkers and consumers satisfied, with sufficient compensation for the former's efforts and reasonably priced food for the latter.

The Government should work at the ground level with the hawkers to resolve issues candidly, rather than coming up with new models such as a not-for-profit system, social enterprise management or socially conscious cooperatives.

The new hawker centre system charges for stall rental, service and conservancy, table cleaning, dish washing, cashless systems, food-waste recycling, concept and marketing.

New stallholders facing poor footfall have these additional fees to pay. Existing hawker centres which are thriving do not need all these services.

Hawkers ply their trade through hard work and experience. To be hit with contract terms like "premature termination" and "open for 20 hours a day" is unfair to them.

Our hawker centres do not need operators, business entrepreneurs or marketing gurus with "different business strategies" to thrive.

The local hawker is a self-starter and entrepreneur who knows best.

He should be given a fair shot with reasonable rental fees and relevant service charges and he will be able to survive with his skills and tenacity.

Goh Boon Kai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2018, with the headline 'Too many additional charges in new hawker centre model'. Print Edition | Subscribe