Bukit Panjang MP Dr Teo Ho Pin has rejected the SDP’s invitation to jointly help residents and stallholders by calling on Sheng Siong to reverse its decision to increase rents of the stalls at Fajar market by 30 percent.
The Singapore Democrats met Dr Teo at his meet-the-people’s session last week to ask him to co-sign a letter to Sheng Siong (see letter below). Dr Teo callously dismissed the effort by repeatedly saying that “market forces” should prevail (watch video below).
A team of Singapore Democrats led by party chairman Mr Gandhi Ambalam visited Dr Teo’s office last Monday evening. Dr Teo was accompanied by more than half a dozen of his party members.
He rejected any kind of joint approach with the SDP to find solution to the problem, saying: “The government can’t interfere. Let the market forces decide whether the increased rentals by Sheng Siong were steep or not.”
The PAP MP obviously doesn’t know what he is talking about. Sheng Siong is taking over the only wet market in the area. The company is increasing rents leaving stallholders without a choice but to move out of the property.
Dr Teo seems clueless that there is not another wet market in the estate. Without another wet market to offer competition to Sheng Siong, how can there be market forces?
When prices of the basic foodstuff start to increase, just where does Dr Teo expect the residents to go to buy these items? When there is only one operator it is called a monopoly, not market forces.
Mr Ambalam pointed out to him: “Where is the market force when the PAP Government favors big businesses at the expense of small and medium businessmen and the residents’ welfare?”
But Dr Teo could only repeat that market forces should prevail. In other words, he doesn’t care about the plight of the stallholders and residents.
At the close of the exchange, Mr Ambalam told Dr Teo: “If the Bukit Panjang ward remains a single-member constituency in the coming general elections, you can definitely expect a contest from SDP. The PAP is not the party of the people and it only cares for the rich”.
Sheng Siong, whose boss Lim Hock Chee is also the treasurer for PAP’s Marsiling CCC, is trying to kick out stall holders after buying over wet markets by hiking rental up 30% to force them to quit their stalls.