Teething problems with new hawker centre model

The lunchtime crowd at Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre, one of the new centres managed by private social enterprises and cooperatives. Footfall is a key consideration among hawkers at the centres under the new model. Some hawkers at the Jurong West H
The lunchtime crowd at Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre, one of the new centres managed by private social enterprises and cooperatives. Footfall is a key consideration among hawkers at the centres under the new model. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI
The lunchtime crowd at Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre, one of the new centres managed by private social enterprises and cooperatives. Footfall is a key consideration among hawkers at the centres under the new model. Some hawkers at the Jurong West H
Some hawkers at the Jurong West Hawker Centre have petitioned NEA to remove a 20-cent fee charged for every tray issued. This petition was submitted in August.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Challenges like high costs faced by hawkers prompt debate on not-for-profit system

They were meant to help hawkers negotiate lower rates for services like cleaning, lower ingredient costs by bulk-buying, and even introduce innovation such as wireless Internet services - along with offering healthy, affordable food.

Operating surplus is supposed to be shared to improve the centres, and to help keep traditions alive by making sure hawker entrepreneurs get a leg up. But six years since not-for-profit hawker centres were proposed, the operating model is caught in the crosshairs.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 14, 2018, with the headline 'Teething problems with new hawker centre model'. Print Edition | Subscribe