Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap (Aljunied): Madam, I would like to suggest to make our hawker culture industry more inclusive, compassionate by re-introducing the Hardship Scheme for hawker centre stalls. This scheme was started in mid-1970s and was meant for those aged 40 and above whose family income fell under stipulated threshold and who had dependants to support to rent hawker stalls at subsidised rates.
I made the call to introduce this scheme in 2016. The Ministry responded that the scheme was discontinued in the early 1990s as was deemed ineffective due to low take-up rate and there is no intention to revive it.
I am repeating my call today as within the last four years, I have met a number of needy residents, a couple of them are ex-offenders, who shared that they have culinary skills and expressed their aspiration to run hawker stall with an affordable operating cost.
The hardship scheme may not be a standalone scheme. It could be a sub-scheme under the Incubation Stall Programme or ISP, specifically targeting two groups – needy Singaporeans and ex-offenders which are specifically beneficiaries of ComCare scheme and Yellow Ribbon Project. I suggest that the scheme be re-introduced and to implemented as a Socially-conscious Enterprise Hawker Centre (SEHC) model which would be congruous with its social mission, a point which Senior of State Dr Amy Khor has alluded to before in this House.
Providing such opportunity and support to needy individuals and ex-offenders, among us, via the hardship scheme for hawker centre stall is, indeed, a very noble social mission.
Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment
4 March 2021