Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli (Masagos) has said that it would be “inappropriate for the Government to subsidise a hawker on the basis that business is poor”, as it would stifle healthy competition among other hawkers who are doing well.
Has he or the members of his team actually asked the hawkers for their opinion? I doubt hawkers would quibble if the Government helped out some of their fellow hawkers. After all, it is not as if they have to pay more. The subsidy would come from the government and not the other hawkers?
Besides, it is important to note that some types of food would always sell better than others regardless of what the individual hawker does. Yet, because of the need for diversity in a hawker centre, some hawkers will always have to sell the type pf food that is less popular. This is not "healthy competition". This is called drawing the short straw. In this regard, some help from the government would go a long way.
The term "healthy competition" can also be applied in many arguably more appropriate contexts such as within the political sector perhaps? I think most people would agree with the assumption that most politicians are paid much more than hawkers in general.
So, if the government is quibbling over hawkers needing to compete over slim pickings, shouldn't our politicians also indulge in some healthy competition? How can Masagos ask out hawkers to compete if the government does not lead by example?
The Peoples' Action Party (PAP) has been at the helm of things for over 50 years. In its tenure, it has introduced, among other things, the Group Representation Scheme which has been criticised as a plot to squeeze out competition. It has also recently changed the rules of the elected presidency which had the result of preventing a popular candidate from contesting. What about the many many defamation suits that have been taken out against opposition politicians?
Let's also not forget the current law suit against the Workers' Party. These are just a few measures that can be considered anti competition. I can go on but I think the point is already made.
The PAP politicians with their high salaries are asking the hawkers to compete healthily when they themselves do not seem to like competition. How can it be one rule for the government and another for the mere mortals?