by Joseph Nathan

l read Dr Amy Khor’s parliamentary explanation in the article below, after KF Seetoh had blasted National Environment Agency (NEA) earlier for outrageously increasing the rent of hawkers when many were struggling, it shows the stupidities and raise questions about the professional ethics of NEA.

As we know by now, NEA has cited the pandemic as a reason for freezing its rental review last year and only proceeded with the rental review since last month.

So when Dr Khor,  Senior Minister of State in Ministry for Sustainability and the Environment, has shared in parliament yesterday that 58% or 198 out of the 341 stallholders (whose tenancies were up for reviewal since last year) had their rental reduced while 5% or 17 stallholders saw an increase in rent, it opens up several cans of worms.

This means that during its rental freeze last year (due to the pandemic), 17 stallholders benefitted from the freeze while 198 stallholders were disadvantaged by it.

If the medium reduction in rent is a modest $1,000 since Amy cited rental reduction between a range of $30-$2,500, that means that NEA actually collected an additional income of $198,000 monthly from those disadvantaged stallholders.

Multiply that by 12 months and it snowballed to a cool $2.376-million in additional revenue for NEA.

So how much did NEA actually pocket from those 198 disadvantaged stallholders when it delayed their rental reviews last year?

For NEA to cite the pandemic as an excuse to delay rental review last year, its senior management would already have a Cost/Benefit Analysis summary to justify the delay.

This also means that the senior management in NEA already knew that it will stand to gain more from delaying the rental review despite knowing well that our hawkers needed all the financial help they can get.

As such, shouldn’t Grace Fu, the Environment Minster, question the professional ethics of the senior management in NEA in this questionable instance?

All these shows just how questionable NEA really is these days and begets the question – so how is NEA going to compensate those 198 stallholders who were disadvantaged?

Why did Melvin Yong, the PAP-MP who raised the questions in parliament or Ms Fu, not see it fit to query Amy further on this?

Don’t they care for those 198 affected hawkers in their constituencies and see a need for NEA to do something to “right” this wrong?

MPs and ministers from the PAP need to stop playing charades in parliament with their “co-ordinated” questioning and start putting the interests of Singaporeans ahead of their party politics by asking hard questions if they still believe that Singaporeans, including our hawkers, deserve better…

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