SINGAPORE - It will cost 30 per cent less to rent a stall at the popular Hari Raya Bazaar at Geylang Serai this year with the rent per stall capped at $14,000.
This follows feedback from operators who had raised concerns about rents climbing to as high as $20,000 last year at the event held in conjunction with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
It cost up to $15,000 to rent a stall the previous year.
Packed with stalls selling traditional Malay clothing, rugs, decorative items and colourful food, the bazaar drew 1.86 million visitors last year, mostly locals.
Announcing the rental cap on Thursday (March 28), the Mayor of South East District, Dr Maliki Osman, said he is counting on operators to pass on the savings from the lower rents.
"Because it is sizably less than last year's rental, we really hope it will translate to reasonable pricing of the goods being sold," said Dr Maliki, who is also Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs.
This year's bazaar will run from May 3 to June 5 and will have between 500 and 700 stalls set up in areas surrounding the newly launched Wisma Geylang Serai, a Malay-Muslim social and cultural heritage hub which will be organising the event.
Stalls will stretch to areas around Geylang Road as well.
The total area occupied will be reduced slightly from previous editions, said Dr Maliki, but he added that the focus is on the quality of the stalls.
The new sites would facilitate bigger walkways and greater space between the stalls, with dining areas for visitors to sit and mingle, and for Muslim visitors to break fast together.
Wisma Geylang Serai said that following feedback from visitors that last year's Ramadan mega-event featured many stalls selling "hipster" food, most stalls at this year's bazaar will sell traditional Hari Raya goods related to the Malay culture.
Dr Maliki said visitors want "that nostalgic feeling".
The organisers said about 60 per cent of the food stalls, and 80 per cent of the non-food stalls, will focus on traditional Malay items.
The rest will be stalls selling contemporary items and colourful "hipster" food.
All food stalls must be either Muslim-owned or certified halal by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).
Food-stall operators can work with consultants engaged by the organisers to fulfil the halal criteria.
Organisers said local and overseas artistes are expected to turn up and they have put together cooking shows and other entertainment to pull in the crowd, adding that the annual bazaar is attended by people of all races and is a showcase of multi-racial Singapore.