Akan Datang: Privatised Hawker Centres

  • Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs

    Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs

    Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs

    The Thursday before Orthodox Easter, or Holy Thursday, the Bachkovo Monastery made their traditional preparations by dying about 5,000 Easter eggs in various colors at the monastery's kitchen. (April 17) …

  • U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military

    U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military

    U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. will send medical supplies, helmets and other nonlethal aid to the Ukrainian military in response to Russia's 'destabilizing activities.' (April 17) …

  • Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine

    Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine

    Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine

    Secretary of State John Kerry announced in Geneva that top diplomats from the U.S., European Union, Russia and Ukraine have reached a tentative deal aimed at de-escalating tensions in Ukraine. (April 17) …

Akan Datang: Privatised Hawker CentresCould Maxwell one day be privatised?

Text and images by KF Seetoh

The government recently announced plans to farm out operations of our beloved new hawker centres to private operators and I have my reservations on this.

After a season of consultations with a new 18-member hawker centre panel, Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced that they have appointed social enterprise food court operator, NTUC Foodfare, to man the first-of-its-kind such food centre in Bukit Panjang.

Of course, in light of the rising costs of living, all the altruistic buttons have been pushed. The main appeasement is that food costs will be kept low – specifically that a cheap (maybe $1.99?) meal must be offered at every stall.

So here’s the difficult conundrum: yes, hawkers can be ordered to give the public a cheap meal, but what cannot be regulated the price of producing food – the rising prices of gas, manpower and most importantly the cost of raw food.

“We will help tenants with raw food materials to keep cost low,” said NTUC Foodfare Chief Executive Perry Ong. But the most obvious question was not asked: will they keep the rentals and maintenance fees low so that hawkers can pass this cost savings to the public?

Another few worries and queries I have as a concerned food culture advocate – I know it is politically and even socially correct to gather orders in bulk for the hawkers to achieve the best pricing. Perhaps it might be cheaper since NTUC has its own supermarket arm to supply things like chicken or beef stock and pre-made sauces. All these factors would save on production (gas and manpower) cost and even help the environment.

The problem is that our hawkers are a combative and competitive lot and they won’t tell or reveal where their sources of supplies are, or even what it is. Many would prefer to buy at higher cost, offer a better product, sell at competitive prices and rely on a higher sales volume to make money.

Akan Datang: Privatised Hawker Centres$2 chicken rice

Another problem – can you imagine if all of them use the same premade laksa sauce packets and they all try their level best to sell it below $2? It will just result in the same-old-same-old cut and paste stalls run by owners of central kitchens offering slick mediocrity. It may sound the death knell for artisanal street food professionals and food culture here will become just practical and not iconic.

As it stands, there are already hawkers touting $2 chicken rice at heartland hawker centres without government intervention nor are they incentivised. It is all the work of market forces at play in our hawker centres.

Maybe if these operating and operator costs are be made more transparent, then perhaps a new generation of hawkers would stand up and decide to join in the action, if the figures appeal to them.

NEA (the National Environment Agency) had always been behind the nuts and bolts of maintaining and regulating hawker centres. Throughout the years, it had always relied on market forces to decide rentals (public bidding system) and keen competition to maintain quality of food. I wished the NEA had taken this opportunity to have a macro relook at their governance over hawker centres.

Are privately run hawker centres good or bad? Are they a cop-out? We’ll see.

In the meantime, tell us your opinions and what your concerns are.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily entertainment updates.

  • Ketahui kesalahan ketika bersolek
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Ketahui kesalahan ketika bersolek 14 hours ago
    Ketahui kesalahan ketika bersolek

    Di sini kami ingin berkongsi dengan anda tentang beberapa kesalahan ketika anda bersolek. …

  • Makanan yang boleh kawal penyakit
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Makanan yang boleh kawal penyakit Wed, Apr 16, 2014 11:08 AM MYT
    Makanan yang boleh kawal penyakit

    Di sini kami ingin berkongsi informasi mengenai beberapa jenis makanan yang baik untuk tubuh badan anda. …

  • Rawatan bawah mata dan kedutan!
    Hana Ahmad - Tupai
    Rawatan bawah mata dan kedutan! Wed, Apr 16, 2014 11:08 AM MYT
    Rawatan bawah mata dan kedutan!

    Masalah lingkaran hitam bawah mata serta kedutan boleh diatasi dengan mengamalkan tips-tips mudah berikut. …

  • 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer accused of drugging, raping teen
    'X-Men' director Bryan Singer accused of drugging, raping teen

    By Eric Kelsey LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A director of the popular "X-Men" films, Bryan Singer, has been accused of drugging and raping a teenage boy in California and Hawaii in the late 1990s, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. court. The lawsuit filed on Wednesday, just weeks before the release of Singer's upcoming "X-Men: Days of Future Past," alleges the 48-year-old used his influence as a Hollywood insider as well as a range of drugs and alcohol to force anal and oral sex on the boy. …

  • Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan?
    Yahoo Newsroom
    Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan? Thu, Sep 19, 2013 1:54 PM MYT
    Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan?

    Pelat bukanlah disebabkan oleh lidah yang pendek. Apakah punca pelat? …

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.