Hawker Centre Saga : BACKGROUND STORY

Extracts released  by NEA and WP

THE National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) yesterday released documents giving competing reasons on why high areas in the Block 538 market were not cleaned.

20/12/2012 e-mail from NEA to AHPETC
The hawker centres were closed – 538 was closed for 5 days.


22/12/2012 e-mail from AHPETC to NEA
The Town Council staff “Pradeep” was asking NEA to confirm the dates for the scaffold erection and dismantling


1/2/2013 e-mail from AHPETC to NEA


7/2/2013 e-mail from NEA to AHPETC


Feb 19 letter from ATL Maintenance to the Block 538 market association. NEA said this showed the contractor wanted the hawkers to pay separately for scaffolding and the cleaning of high areas, though this falls under the town council’s responsibility.

“Subject: Quotation for Market Stalls High-Rise Cleaning at Block 538, Bedok North Street 3

Thank you for inviting us to quote.

Scope of work: Provision of manpower, equipment, materials, chemicals, insurance and supervision for the cleaning of entire premises, consisting of 40 market stalls (Date: March 4 to March 8 this year).

Equipment and chemicals: Scaffold, warning signages, cleaning tools, machineries and chemicals.

Access method: Scaffold.

Lump-sum fee: $7,200, subject to 7 per cent GST.”

Exchanges following hawker’s appeal to MP Faisal

ON MAY 8, hawker Chan Kheng Heng wrote a letter of appeal to Workers’ Party MP Muhammad Faisal Abdul Manap on behalf of hawkers at Block 511, Bedok North Street 3.

Mr Chan gave the National Environment Agency (NEA) his letter, as well as Mr Faisal’s appeal letter to the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC). The NEA released both yesterday. Here are extracts from the letters:

Mr Chan’s letter to Mr Faisal:

“I am appealing to you for assistance for the coming spring cleaning at Block 511, Kaki Bukit Market & Food Centre scheduled for five days from June 24 to 28, 2013.

“On April 26, we had a meeting with Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, Mr Tai, and was informed that their contract with the current vendor does not include any cleaning above 2.5m above ground, and (for) any cleaning above 2.5m, the additional expenses incurred shall be borne by the stall owner/operator.”

Mr Faisal’s letter to AHTC:

“Mr Chan said that he was informed by your good office that the contract with the vendors does not include the cost for any cleaning above 2.5m above ground and as such, the costs of such a cleaning work have to be borne by the stallholders themselves.

Mr Chan has kindly put forth his appeal in the letter enclosed. Please look into the case and assist the constituent where possible.”

NEA said yesterday morning in a statement:

“Mr Faisal’s letter on behalf of the hawkers of Block 511 “confirms the seriousness and validity with which the MP treated the hawkers’ appeal against the AHPETC’s requirement for extra charges to be borne by the hawkers if the high areas are to be cleaned.”

Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim said last night:

“Contrary to NEA’s portrayal, the letter evidently shows MP Faisal’s awareness that it was not the policy of AHPETC not to clean the high areas of the market during annual cleaning, nor to collect any additional charges from the hawkers; otherwise, MP Faisal would not have written to AHPETC to look into Mr Chan Kheng Heng’s claim.”

June 3 petition by Block 538 hawkers:

“Our hawker centre was closed for five days, but… the ceiling, exhaust were not cleaned. We hope the town council will discuss with us on suitable compensation, especially given that the newspaper has reported the town council authorised person saying… it would bear all costs.”

Read more:

NEA Releases Documents in AHPETC Case (9/6/2013) 

The Dossier  (10/7/2013) Straits Times

Nea Release on (9/7/2013) Dossier for PQ 1238 on The Role of Town Councils in the Maintenance and Cleaning of Hawker Centres Under Their Charge