But committee chairman Mr Loh, 41, who makes and sells soybean products in the Bukit Timah hawker centre, said complaints about higher rents is a “misunderstanding”.
Stallholders currently pay subsidised rents to NEA, he said. At the interim site, they will pay something akin to market rate, but this is “still below what a lot of other F&B businesses out there (are) paying”.
“You cannot take a subsidised rental and compare to a so-called non-subsidised rate,” said Mr Loh, although he said many stallholders were not receptive to this.
On the lease deposit, Mr Loh said stallholders were told “upfront” that “if they have (an) issue midway through, they can approach the operator and they can work something out for them”.
He said the security deposit is also “fair” to the operator as a way for it to recoup losses if stallholders back out shortly into the lease.
CNA has asked NEA for comments on the rental prices.
All existing stallholders will have the option of taking up a stall at the new integrated development regardless of whether they choose to move to the interim site, according to the People’s Association (PA).
WET MARKET SELLERS, CUSTOMERS REACT
For wet market stallholders, the slowing business in such traditional markets around Singapore is another consideration for whether or not to continue at the interim site.
Fruit seller Desmond Seng, 55, started working in the market as a young man and now runs the stall started by his parents. He is not moving to the interim site as on top of the higher rents, business has been quiet.
“We have been in this trade for so long and (are) getting quite tired, so it’s time for a rest, or (to) switch to other jobs, part-time jobs,” he said.
Unlike him, 72-year-old fishmonger Mdm Tan Ah Hoon will move to the interim market as she does not think it will be easy for her to find other work.
“I’m in my 70s and not many people will want to hire me. At the interim market, I’ll take it day by day and see how it goes,” she said in Mandarin.