Elderly street hawker allegedly asked by authorities to pack stall and leave even though rent was paid

Street hawkers who have set up stalls at Chinatown were allegedly told to pack up and leave by a few men claiming to be from the authorities, despite having paid rent to the local community centre.

An elderly street hawker was filmed by a concerned member of the public on Hari Raya Puasa (15 June) when he witnessed the senior being asked to pack up his stall and leave.

The video was posted on Facebook and attracted a lot of attention from the public.

The elderly street hawker shared that he had no issues putting up his stall at the location during public holidays for the past 10-20 years and is puzzled why these few men told him to pack and leave the place.

When asked if this was the first time that the authorities stopped the hawkers from plying their trade, the senior said that he was never informed by the authorities that he cannot set up his stall during public holidays.

The two men in grey, identified as the ones who told the senior to pack up and leave, were filmed talking to another street hawker down the street.

The senior said that he has no idea who the two men were from.

He notes that he has been paying a monthly rental of about $100 to the community centre and has been in the form of advance payment.

It is said that the flea market was first organised in 2000 by a “collectors’ club” in Kreta Ayer Community Centre and when the grassroot in-charge of organising the flea market left, it is unknown who took over the project. But it is understood that the overall entity in charge is still the community centre.

According to some commenters, the community centre decided some months ago, to close the weekly flea market by 1 July.

Mdm Chen wrote in the comments section, “Why has our country turned Asking the seniors with the license to do small business to immediately pack up and go. Simply unreasonablele. Hope the authorities will come out and explain.”

Another commenter, Mary Chia wrote, “If the stall owners are not allowed to set up stalls, the organising department should have informed them earlier. If they have paid monthly rent, it shouldn’t be illegal so why are they treating the seniors in such a manner? The amount that they earn is also not alot,  simply unresasonable. Should find the Member of Parliament there and confront them to see if there are anyone abusing their authority. The seniors can also show them their receipts for reasoning. Infuriating just seeing all these.”

The community centre falls under the purview of the Jalan Besar Town Council (JBTC), headed by People’s Action Party Members of Parliament, Assoc Prof Yaacob Ibrahim, Mr Heng Chee How, Ms Denise Phua and Dr Lily Neo.