SINGAPORE — The Straits Times reported that around three million people had attended the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar this year, with a week still remaining before the fair ends on the eve of Hari Raya Puasa on 21 April.
These attendance figures were provided by Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development, Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, in a Facebook post on Friday.
He noted that the numbers were “counted and assessed by the hard-working security agency team” that patrolled the bazaar daily.
“During my walkabouts, I’ve spoken with many visitors and they’ve told me they’ve come to the bazaar many times for many different reasons – for food, to do their shopping, or just to walk around with their friends and family,” wrote Associate Professor Faishal.
He had earlier said that attendance for this year’s bazaar was on track to be the highest on record.
The bazaar, which began on March 17 and will continue until April 21, stretches from Geylang Serai Market to Tanjong Katong Complex and runs into the adjacent Haig Road and Joo Chiat Complex.
This year’s Ramadan bazaar is the longest one yet, running for 36 days and featuring approximately 700 stalls selling food, drinks, and retail items.
While thanking those who have visited the bazaar for their support, Professor Faishal urged others who have not yet done so to visit before the bazaar ends.
According to TOC’s correspondent, there are many entries to the bazaar spanning a vast area and the hard-working security agency team referred to by Professor Faishal in his Facebook post were not spotted.
The correspondent also visited the site several times and noted that human traffic was good but not as crowded as expected, with light or deserted foot traffic in some areas.
The high rental costs of the Ramadan bazaar held at Geylang Serai this year have sparked controversy and criticism from both stallholders and members of the public.
Kf Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, had earlier commented that the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar is “easily the world’s most expensive pasar malam stall.” Rent for food and beverage stalls ranged from S$15,000 to S$30,000 for one unit.
The annual event is organised by Wisma Geylang Serai (WGS), the social and cultural heritage hub in Geylang Serai, led by the People’s Association. The consortium that won the tender for the organising rights of the bazaar this year paid S$2.26 million to WGS.
Local media outlets have reported how some vendors struggled with the “high bids needed to secure a space” at the bazaar and regretted participating in the bazaar this year.