SINGAPORE: The Government will continue to observe and evaluate the alternative social enterprise hawker management model that is currently implemented at seven hawker centres, Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said on Friday (Sep 7).
The Government has been exploring alternative management models for hawker centres by engaging socially conscious operators to improve operational efficiency while ensuring affordable food.
The social enterprise hawker centres include Ci Yuan Hawker Centre, Our Tampines Hub Hawker Centre, Yishun Park Hawker Centre, Jurong West Hawker Centre, Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre, Kampung Admiralty Hawker Centre and Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre.
Dr Khor’s comments, made during a visit to Our Tampines Hub Hawker Centre, comes after some hawkers at social enterprise hawker centres said they were unhappy about extra charges levied on top of rental and other compulsory operating costs.
“Indeed we are very mindful that we need to ensure that hawkers have a decent livelihood ... In addition to lower rental and total operating costs, we give more weight to those who offer lower costs. We also make sure that managing agents are not allowed to increase rental or operating costs over the lease period,” Dr Khor said.
She added that the model has only been implemented for three years, and the Government is still learning and evaluating it.
“We will continue to evaluate this alternative model, take into account suggestions and feedback on this ongoing process,” Dr Khor said.
Dr Khor said that hawkers and hawker centre patrons have benefited from the alternative management model which has brought about a more vibrant hawker scene and improved dining experience.
Managing agents have to ensure a “good mix” of food offerings as well as affordable meals, she said.
On the additional services offered by managing agents such as the coin exchange service, and the quality control service as offered by Fei Siong Food Management - costing S$600 - Dr Khor explained that they are optional.
Dr Khor added that operating costs such as collecting and cleaning of crockery are already included by the bidder in the tender, and managing agents have to inform the National Environment Agency when they want to offer additional services to hawkers.
However, there is a need to “give some leeway to innovation” which can enhance the management of these social enterprise hawker centres, she said.