SINGAPORE- The new Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market, which is slated to open by the end of the year, will not just boast lower food prices but also longer operating hours.
Cooked food stalls will be required to operate a minimum of six days a week and 12 hours a day to ensure that there are enough stalls to benefit residents.
To meet this requirement, NTUC Foodfare, which will manage the new centre, will allow those interested in tendering for stalls to have a joint operator for the stall, so they don't incur additional rents or charges.
The market will also operate at least eight hours a day, six days a week, unlike traditional wet markets which typically open only in the morning, announced NTUC Foodfare chief executive Perry Ong.
The new centre will be open from 6am to 10.30pm daily.
During the pre-launch event on Monday, Mr Ong said that the hawker centre will be one of "several firsts".
For instance, hawkers and wholesalers in the market section will sell their groceries in a "dry environment", unlike typical wet markets.
"Housekeeping standards will be in place to ensure hygiene and the overall design of and aesthetic of this "dry market" will feature...a touch of modernity while retaining the "pasar" (market) heritage," added Mr Ong.
The new cooked food section at the centre will also have chairs instead of stools which are mounted to the floor.
Apart from the features of the new centre, Mr Ong said that to "stretch every dollar" of customers, food will be kept affordable and good.
To do so, the rental bid by an applicant would make up 40 per cent of the scorecard while the remaining 60 per cent will be based in other criteria such as their proposed selling price, variety and operating hours.
There will also be price ceilings for all the cooked food stalls on at least two basic meals while all other items sold will be subject to price moderation, said Mr Ong.
To help hawkers cope with costs, they will collaborate with partners to introduce and assist hawkers interested to apply for schemes and grants. This will allow them to get micro loans to lower their capital investments, for instance.
They will also work with the Employment and Employability Institute to help cleaning contractors apply for a grant to lower the cost cleaning cost borne by hawkers. A centralised dishwashing system will be introduced to ensure the cleanliness of of crockery in the hawker centre, added Mr Ong.
Those who are interested to apply to run cooked food and market stalls at the new centre may do so from Tuesday onwards. Forms may be purchased at 10 Senoko South Road from Tuesday to July 23.
Applications for the tender will be closed on August 3.
The Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre was the first to be announced out of the 20 new centres that the Government will build by 2027. It will have 28 cooked food stalls, 14 market stalls and have a seating capacity of 500.