SDP’s worst fears about Sheng Siong come true

March 25, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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The inevitable has happened. Supermarket chain Sheng Siong is increasing rentals by an incredible 30 percent for its stallholders in five wet markets from next month.Singapore Democrats

The inevitable has happened. Supermarket chain Sheng Siong is increasing rentals by an incredible 30 percent for its stallholders in five wet markets from next month (see report below). The wet markets were bought over by Sheng Siong recently against strong protests by both residents and stallholders.

The Singapore Democrats voiced out strongly against the move precisely because we were concerned that Sheng Siong would hike rentals for stallholders. Our worst fears have been confirmed.
Despite the serious objections, the HDB allowed the sales of the wet markets in Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok and Serangoon to go through.  In particular, stallholders at the Fajar Market in Bukit Panjang with the support of residents in the area appealed to their PAP member of parliament Dr Teo Ho Pin to stop the sale, but to no avail.

The SDP, which had contested the Bukit Panjang constituency in the last general elections, wrote letters asking for meetings with both Sheng Siong and Dr Teo to highlight the plight of the residents and stallholders but was stonewalled.

In fact a number of stallholders at Fajar Market, expecting the obvious, have already given up their stalls. Now the place is almost half empty, causing great inconvenience to housewives who frequented the market for fresh produce and meats.

Many remaining stallholders in the affected wet markets feel that the 30-percent increase is exorbitant, and a few said they may even give up their businesses.

The Singapore Democrats suspect that Sheng Siong is raising its rents by such a shocking rate in order to chase away stallholders. It may then re-negotiate with the authorities to allow the company to turn the wet markets into a supermarket.

Currently, they pay about S$2,000 to S$3,000 in rent. Obviously, the increase in rent will be passed on to the customers who are already burdened with high cost of living, in particular the steep increases for essential food items.

The incident clearly shows the arrogance of the PAP Government in disregarding the needs of the people as well as the survival of small-and-medium businesses in Singapore.

The PAP system is clearly moving in the direction of supporting big corporations at the expense of the little guy.

Sheng Siong’s move also shows the impotence of the PAP MP, Dr Teo Ho Pin, in representing the interests of the residents of the Bukit Panjang constituency.

The SDP will highlight this matter when  it takes on the PAP in the coming elections. We will be stepping up our campaign in the coming weeks and months to garner greater support from the residents. 

Read also: Sheng Siong, wet markets and free speech

 

Sheng Siong rises rent at 5 wet markets by 30%
Sharon See
Channel News Asia
23 Mar 2010

Stallholders at five wet markets will have to pay 30 per cent more in rent from next month.

They have been informed of the increase by supermarket chain Sheng Siong, which bought the markets over from a private property developer late last year.

The five wet markets are in Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok and Serangoon.

Currently, they pay about S$2,000 to S$3,000 in rent.

Many stallholders feel that the 30-per-cent increase is too high, and a few said they may even give up their businesses.

Some are thinking of passing the costs to customers but are also worried that this would hurt businesses, especially in the face of competition from other wet markets and supermarkets.

Sheng Siong said it had no choice but to increase rental rates, as it had to pay bank interest fees, property tax and maintenance fees after buying over the five wet markets for about S$25 million.