By Leong Sze Hian
When the NEA fight with Town Council at the expense of ordinary S’poreans?
I refer to the articles “The little trade fair that became a battleground” (My Paper, Dec 5) and “Abrupt end to Kovan City year-end fair” (Straits Times, Dec 5).
Trade fair or “year-end festivity”?
The former states that “The opposition-run town council claimed it was a “year-end festivity”.
“Caught in the middle”?
The National Environment Agency (NEA) said it was a trade fair that required a licence. As the event was called off yesterday, the organiser claimed he was “caught in the middle”. But, now, a date in court looms.”
First time dispute?
Is this the first time that such a dispute on whether its a trade fair or “year-end festivity”, has occurred between a town council and the NEA?
Is NEA being fair?
If this is the case as it appears to be, isn’t the NEA being rather harsh, bureaucratic and somewhat uncooperative – thus causing financial loss to the stallholders and commercial organiser? Is the NEA being fair and impartial to the parties concerned?
Also, are we not depriving residents of the usual festive street shopping?
Merchants’ Association Chairman not aware of “need for consensus” rule?
As to “Meanwhile, the Kovan Merchants’ Association remains puzzled about the turn of events. Chairman Ng Cher Po said they have never issued a letter of consensus to event organisers in the past three years, despite the fact that numerous fairs have been held in Kovan City”
– When was the rule changed requiring the consensus from neighbourhood shopkeepers (merchant associations?) for trade fairs?
Abeit a rule which even the Kovan City merchants’ association is not aware of in the last 3 years?
Why “need consensus”?
If all merchant associations refuse to give consent, will the pasar malams that we have had for decades die off?
Looking at the hawker centres’ cleaning controversy recently, whereby it was reported in the media that the merchant association’s chairman was a grassroots leader and prominent member of a political party – wouldn’t such “consensus” become increasing a problem?
11 previous breaches that nobody knew?
Have any of the previous 11 trade fair licence breaches of the law since 2011, warranted immediate termination to chase the stallholders away, or were reported in the media?
Were there any “trade fair licence breaches” before 2011?
Is there any significance to the 2011 date, which was the date of the last general elections?
Perhaps we could focus more of our time and effort on catching rata and how fish are sold?