25 Jun '12, 9am
Will #privatised #hawker #centres result in higher #prices?
Could Maxwell one day be privatised? The government recently announced plans to farm out operations of our beloved new hawker centres to private operators and I have my reservations on this. After a season of consultations with a new 18-member hawker centre panel, Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced that they have appointed social enterprise food court operator, NTUC Foodfare, to man the first-of-its-kind such food centre in Bukit Panjang. Of course, in light of the rising costs of living, all the altruistic buttons have been pushed. The main appeasement is that food costs will be kept low – specifically that a cheap (maybe $1.99?) meal must be offered at every stall. So here’s the difficult conundrum: yes, hawkers can be ordered to give the public a cheap meal, but what cannot be regulated the price of producing food – the rising prices of gas, manpower and...