Following the announcement by the National Environment Agency (NEA) last Friday (16 Nov) regarding its plans to begin subsidising centralised dishwashing costs at seven new social enterprise hawker centres (SEHCs) as a part of its extension of the 'Productive Hawker Centres' grant to stallholders starting 1 Jan next year, netizens have strongly criticised the agency's move.
Many netizens pointed out that the subsidies will originate from taxpayers' money, as the NEA is a government agency, and that such subsidies will only serve to enrich the cleaning companies being contracted by the SEHC operators, adding that the provisions of centralised dishwashing services among others should be handled by the SEHC operators.
In its press release on Friday, NEA rationalised its move as a means of increasing its "support" towards stallholders in terms of "managing the cost from the adoption of centralised dishwashing service" at the seven new SEHCs, which are:
- Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre;
- Kampung Admiralty Hawker Centre;
- Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre;
- Ci Yuan Hawker Centre;
- Yishun Park Hawker Centre;
- Jurong West Hawker Centre; and
- Our Tampines Hub Hawker Centre.
The agency added that it will subsidise 50% of the dishwashing costs for the first year, and then 30% for the second year. Stallholders are expected to bear the dishwashing costs in full the third year onwards.