Minister for National Development Desmond Lee has told consumers to “go elsewhere” to find makan if they think the prices of food at particular coffeeshops are too high.
In a Facebook post, he added that stallholders can also move elsewhere if they find rents too high.
Apparently, according to Lee’s explanation, there are 370 rented coffeeshops today and 400 privately-owned coffeeshops.
Those privately-owned coffeeshops were sold by the HDB in the years before 1998.
As for the cost of sky-rocketing food prices and multi-million dollar coffeeshops sales that stallholders claim are squeezing their income margins?
Curiously, Lee did not give a comparison between rental cost and food prices between government-owned coffeeshops and those run by private operators.
He did mention that HDB is doing its best to keep prices low with initiatives such as Price-Quality tenders, and cooperation with social enterprises like NTUC FoodFare and Kopitiam – which is also owned by NTUC.
Still, Singaporeans are not appeased and have likened his explanation to a locally-notorious “if chicken is too expensive buy fish lah” statement.
Stallholders have on several occasions in the past publicly slammed social enterprise hawker centres and coffeeshops for high rents, obscure extra fees, and unreasonably demands.
Meanwhile, consumers have complained that “budget meal” offerings at these eateries are so miniscule that one has to eat at least two portions to feel full, which would see them paying even more than the cost of a normal meal.