Kf Seetoh questioned the justification for S$2.26 million expensive tender for “roadside pasar malam space”

Kf Seetoh questioned the justification for S$2.26 million expensive tender for “roadside pasar malam space”

Earlier, the Straits Times reported that around three million people had attended the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar this year, with the fair set to end on the eve of Hari Raya Puasa at the end of this week.

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.

Several PAP Ministers and MPs, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, have visited the bazaar.

The Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar has faced criticism, with vendors struggling with the high rental costs and high bids needed to secure a space.

Some vendors struggled with the “high bids needed to secure a space,” with rent ranging from S$15,000 to S$30,000 for one unit for food and beverage stalls.

Some of the stallholders had told Channel News Asia that they regret to take up a stall at the bazaar. One of the Kebab sellers Mr Hasan, said, “We’re all losing money. (We) cannot cover costs, cannot even cover rent.”

During TOC’s visit to the bazaar on Tuesday, a toy stall owner revealed that he rented his stall for S$20,000 and was able to make a profit. However, he mentioned that the adjacent clothes stall which rented at S$18,000 had failed to break even.

Kf Seetoh questioned how WGS justified the $2.26million expensive tender for “the roadside pasar malam space”?

Kf Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, had earlier quipped last month that the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar is “easily the world’s most expensive pasar malam stall”.

On Wednesday (19 Apr), he took on the issue with the tender of the bazaar, and questioned the justification behind the price tag of $2.26 million for the roadside pasar malam space in a post on Wednesday.

“These kinda dollar pressures are passed down to the people and I pray it does not set a precedent for the other agencies to keep up. ”

“Why does celebrating our national culture and festivals need be such an expensive affair? ” Kf Seetoh questioned, added that these should be answer and clarify by PA.

Although some ministers and MPs have visited the bazaar and claimed that “3 million” have already visited, Seetoh doubts that all of them have made purchases.

“As many are still struggling and even regretting setting up shop, ” hence, he urged the public to support these heartland vendors.

Bazaar tendered out at S$2.26 million

The annual Ramadan Bazaar is organised by Wisma Geylang Serai (WGS), the social and cultural heritage hub in Geylang Serai led by the People’s Association.

Trade fairs, bazaar or commonly known as Pasar Malam, can only be held by grassroots organisations, charities or town councils.

The operating right to the annual Ramadan Bazaar was tendered out by PA in November last year.

A total of 7 tenderers bid for the tender on GeBiz, an electronic procurement system used by the Singaporean government for government procurement activities.

A consortium of three companies, S-Lite Event Support, TLK Trade Fair and Events, and Enniche Global Trading, won the bid at an award value of $2.26 million, the second highest bid of the seven—the highest being at S$2.53 million by Chili Padi Auto, a company dealing with automotive.

No control over rental

The tender document does not regulate the pricing of the stalls, but it does set limits on the number of food stalls that can be established at 80 and 70 for the two designated bazaar sites.

Additionally, it specifies that at least 60 per cent of the food stalls should sell Hari Raya/Ramadhan traditional food, and at least 80 per cent of non-food stalls should offer items associated with the traditional festival.

Furthermore, the total number of live-cooked food stalls that require a Singapore Food Agency (SFA) permit, such as Burger Ramlee and Kebab stalls, should not exceed 150.

There are, however, no restrictions on the number of non-live cooked food stalls.

Winning tenderer to run the whole show, WGS barely doing much else

Although WGS was listed as the organising authority for the bazaar, the winning tenderer was responsible for running most, if not all, of the event and paying the tendered amount to the grassroots organization.

A check on the tender document, laid out various responsibilities and obligations of the contractor in relation to the operation of the bazaar.

The operator of the bazaar must comply with regulations and obtain permits, ensure stallholders comply with legal requirements, bear all costs and expenses, provide electrical support and security, and submit a COVID-19 response plan.

The consortium told CNA that the costs of setting up the bazaar came up to nearly S$2.5 million this year. This is on top of the amount that they have to pay WGS.

These would suggest that WGS essentially received the S$2.26 million by issuing the tender without doing anything else.


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