Parliament Q&A

Written Reply by Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Sungei Road Hawking Zone, 11 Sep 2017

Question by Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether he can provide an update on the number of Sungei Road flea market vendors who have received assistance from the Government or have moved into new stalls to date; (b) how many of the vendors who have been allocated new stalls are still in business; and (c) for those who have stopped operating at these new stalls, what are the reasons for the closure of the stalls.

Answer by Minister Masagos Zulkifli:           

1.     Prior to the closure of the Sungei Road Hawking Zone (SRHZ) on 10 July 2017, the National Environment Agency (NEA), Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CSCDC) had engaged about 200 SRHZ users to offer them assistance so that they can either continue their trade at alternative venues or make a living through other means. To date, close to 80 SRHZ users are now receiving some form of assistance even as they make the necessary adjustments. 

2.      At the Parliament sitting on 3 Jul 2017, my Ministry shared that the NEA has set aside more than 40 lock-up stalls at our hawker centres for the SRHZ users who wished to carry on their trade. To date, more than 30 SRHZ users have taken up and commenced business at these lock-up stalls. To help them transit and succeed in their new environment, the NEA has provided rental subsidies and facilitated their participation in a course to teach them merchandise display skills and explore a new range of items for sale. The NEA has also helped to raise the awareness of the location of their stalls through banners, signage and social media posts.

3.      For the 11 original permit holders, the NEA has offered them lock-up stalls at our hawker centres at subsidised rental with a full rental waiver for the 1st year and 50% subsidy off the subsidised rental for the 2nd year.  Of the 11 original permit holders, 4 have taken up the offer to operate a lock-up stall at our hawker centres.

4.      So far, of all the users who have taken up stalls from the NEA, only one has changed his mind and decided to give up his lock-up stall as he felt that his merchandise might be unsuitable for sale in a hawker centre.

5.      In addition, the NEA has also worked with the People’s Association (PA) and the CSCDC to assist SRHZ users who wish to operate in flea markets. So far, 27 SRHZ users have taken up stalls at existing flea markets around Singapore.

6.    Besides the provision of lock-up stalls at our hawker centres and flea markets, the WSG has provided job placement assistance to SRHZ users who wish to seek employment. The MSF and the CSCDC have also actively helped those who require financial assistance through the ComCare and other schemes. So far, 28 SRHZ users have received either financial or job placement assistance. 

7.      The Government will continue to keep in contact with those SRHZ users who require assistance but have yet to accept our offers. Meanwhile, we are glad to know that a number of the SRHZ users have already started to operate stalls at trade fairs organised by private operators and that others have ventured into sales through online platforms. We hope the Member and the community will continue to lend their support to the SRHZ users at our lock-up stalls, flea markets, trade fairs or online platforms.

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