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(photo from Google Maps)

Jurong West Hawker Centre is revising its tray refund programme, following feedback

The operator for Jurong West Hawker Centre, Hawker Management said in a statement that customers will be charged a deposit for using trays. This follows the call-out by KF Seetoh on Facebook on the policy of hawkers paying their customers 20 cents for returning food trays.

The management had also received several complaints for stallholders about the tray-return programme that rewarded customers for each returned tray with the money coming out of the stalls’ profits, up to hundreds of dollar a month.

So in response to the petition started by the stallholders, the operator decided to meet with their tenants and listen to some feedback from those concerned. Not wanting to ditch the programme altogether, Hawker Management decided to start charging customers a deposit of 20 cents which will be refunded upon returning of the used trays.

"In line with the objective to encourage a gracious society where patrons play a proactive role in returning their trays, the tray return initiative will thereby help to reduce cleaning fees for tenants while easing the workload of the cleaners," said the operator in their statement.

The new deposit-based tray return initiative will take effect once all details are finalised, according to the statement.

On other financial matters, Hawker Management also noted they are evaluating all other feedback and comments including those on contractual terms and are “in the midst of reviewing them internally with a view to address all outstanding matters quickly”. They also said that they’re setting up a committee made up of tenant representatives to work closely with the operator to drive positive change at the hawker centre.

In a separate statement, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said, “as we have been doing, NEA will continue to pay close attention and support the operator and stallholders to address the remaining outstanding matters."