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The Singapore Democrats spent a good part of this morning at the Bukit Panjang constituency to meet with stallholders and residents at the Fajar Market over the situation over the Sheng Siong takeover.
Many of the vendors were clearly upset over the 30 percent increase in their rentals but they were also very nervous about speaking up. Such is the authoritarian system that even as the PAP Government has a boot on the necks, they cannot say or do anything to fight back.
This is precisely why the SDP has been working all these years to empower Singaporeans so that they can stand up for themselves in such situations.
Without the ability to come together to speak freely and openly, Singaporeans are being exploited and taken advantage of by the rich and powerful.
SDP members handed out flyers at Bukit Panjang calling on Dr Teo Ho Pin not to ignore the plight of the stallholders and consumers who are ultimately the ones to bear the burden of the increase of Sheng Siong’s rent as the added cost will be passed by the stallholders.
This is why the cost of living increases unnecessarily for Singaporeans. There is no change in demand or supply of the items sold in the market, workers have not become more productive, and there is no upgrade of the facilities at the market.
All that has changed is the ownership of the market and because the new owner wants to make a bigger profit margin. As a result, consumers will now have to pay more for basic necessities.
This is one example of how the GDP grows at the expense of the people.
In the centre of all this is the PAP Government which allows such an unhealthy economic situation to develop. Its push to privatise or corporatise markets that provide cheap and basic services is adding to the cost of living for Singaporeans which is becoming increasingly unaffordable for more and more people.
This must stop and the only way to do this is to support the party that has spoken up on this matter and continues to boldly speak up for Singaporeans.
The SDP’s Flyer
The Singapore Democratic Party had warned against Sheng Siong buying over the Fajar Market because rentals would be raised.
Our worst fears have come true as Sheng Siong announced that it is increasing rentals by an incredible 30 percent from April 2010.
The SDP had written to Sheng Siong to ask for a meeting to express our concerns on behalf of the residents. We even asked the HDB to intervene in the matter.
But despite the serious objections, the HDB allowed the sale of the wet markets to go through.
Now that Sheng Siong has raised rentals, many stallholders will be out of a livelihood.
The increased rentals will also mean that costs will be passed on to shoppers who will have to pay substantially more for daily basic foodstuff and other necessities.
Bukit Panjang residents had appealed to their PAP MP, Dr Teo Ho Pin, to put a stop the sale but to no avail.
The incident clearly shows the arrogance of the PAP Government in disregarding the needs of the people as well as the economic survival of the market stallholders.
Now that Sheng Siong has done what the SDP said it would do, what does Dr Teo Ho Pin have to say.
Apparently nothing because to date, the MP has remained conspicuously silent over the matter.
Is the PAP MP burying his head in the sand in the hope that the controversy will just blow away? Doesn’t he know that the shocking rental hike of 30 percent is going to affect both stallholders and consumers in a drastic way? Does he even care at all.
The SDP will do our utmost to get Sheng Siong to reverse its decision. We have asked Dr Teo to join us in this endeavour but he has refused.
This is people’s livelihoods that we are talking about, it is added hardship for the poor. The MP’s unwillingness to speak up and stand up for Bukit Panjang residents is most unfortunate.
The more Dr Teo continues to keep mum about this matter, the more deafening his silence will grow.
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