Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Committee of Supply Debate, 11 March 2015 (Section B)
C Hawker Centres
1. 李美花议员, 杨木光议员, 颜添宝议员和林谋泉议员提出了有关小贩中心的询问。（Translation）Er Dr Lee Bee Wah, Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Mr Gan Thiam Poh and Mr Lim Biow Chuan have asked for updates on our hawker centres.
2. 小贩中心是国人日常生活中不可或缺的基础设施。它不只是小贩们谋生的地方，更是大家享用卫生，价廉物美的本地美食的好去处。环境及水源部通过多管齐下的方式，确保小贩中心的食品维持大众化的价格。（Translation）Our hawker centres are an essential social infrastructure – they provide a cleanand hygienic environment for our hawkers to ply their trade and enable Singaporeans access to good food at affordable prices. Several of MEWR’s recent policy changes achieve this objective of ensuring that hawker centre food prices remain affordable.
3. 当小贩在制定食物价格时，他必须考虑多方面的因素。这里我们显示着通过一个调查，环境部每年都会访问一千多名小贩的运作方式。从这些访问调查中，我们得知小贩的营运成本超过一半是源至食物原材料。相比之下，小贩摊位租金所占的成本比率只占百分之12左右。那个是第三个部分，第一个是原材料（raw materials）， 第二个部分是人力的这个成本（manpower）, 第三个部分就是租金（stall rental）。（Translation）In determining the price for his or her food, a hawker has to consider many factors. We conduct an annual survey on more than 1,000 hawkers’ operations, and have found that raw materials typically comprise more than 50% of hawkers’ costs. Rentals form a much smaller proportion of costs for hawkers at about 12% of total costs. That is actually the third component (of hawkers’ costs). The first is raw materials, the second is manpower and the third is stall rental.
4. 我们以大巴窑的六个小贩中心为例，摊位的平均租金每个月是650元。其中过半的摊主只付320元或更低的租金，他们当中大多是获得政府津贴的摊主。如果不包括这些受津贴的摊位在内，那么，这6个小贩中心的平均租金就是大约1100元左右。这比起周围的咖啡店或是食阁摊位的租金来得低。（Translation）For instance, average rentals of the six hawker centres in Toa Payoh were around $650, with more than half of the stalls, primarily those on subsidised rents, paying $320 or less. If we exclude them, average rentals are around $1,100, which still compares favourably to the coffee shops or food courts nearby.
5. 实际上，全国所有小贩中心有超过百分之85的摊位，每个月租金不到1500元。那些月租超过1500元的摊位，其实在那个图面上看是非常小的一部分。他们这些摊位其实一般上都是坐落在市中心地区，比如纽顿或麦士威小贩中心。由此可见，摊位租金并非决定小贩中心食物价格的主要因素。尽管如此，政府在过去几年还是调整了多项措施，来调控小贩摊位的租金，以减低租金的压力。（Translation）In fact, over 85% of hawkers in our hawker centres pay less than $1,500 per month in rent. As you can see from the pie chart, rentals make up a very small proportion of cost. Rentals higher than this are typically found in hawker centres that are in the city, such as at Newton or Maxwell. Therefore, there is little substantive evidence to say that rentals are the main driver of hawker food prices. Nevertheless, the Government has made several policy changes over the last few years to moderate rentals, to ensure that it does not put upward pressure on food prices over time.
6. 首先， 从2012年4月起，新摊主已不允许转租或顶让摊位。至于那些没有获得津贴的摊主,有三年的宽限期来做调整。如今宽限期就要满了。从今年4月1日起，所有非津贴的摊主，都必须亲自经营摊位。而获得政府津贴的摊主，则一向来都是不准转租的。（Translation）Firstly,sub-letting or assignment of stalls is disallowed for stall-holders. This policy took effect for new stall-holders from April 2012 while the existing non-subsidised stall-holders were given a grace period of three years from April 2012 to comply. This means that from 1 April 2015, all non-subsidised stall-holders will have to personally operate their stalls. Subsidised stall-holders are already not permitted to sublet their stalls.
7. 从2012年4月到目前为止，新小贩摊主总共超过1，900人。环境局执行新条例后,已向其中64个没有亲自经营摊位的摊主采取行动。根据条例，摊主如果没有自己经营摊位，可算违例， 会被终止租约。我们必须严格执行这项条例，以确保摊位是留给真正亲自经营熟食摊的小贩，让他们能避免支付不必要的转租费，以较低的租金经营摊位。（Translation）Since April 2012, more than 1,900 new cooked food stall-holders have taken up stalls in our hawker centres. NEA has taken action against 64 stallholders for not operating their stalls personally. Stall-holders who do not regularise these requirements promptly will have their tenancy terminated. By enforcing against those who sub-let their stalls, we are freeing the stalls up for those who are genuine hawkers, and ensure they pay lower rentals by cutting out the sub-letting profit.
8. 第二，从2012年3月起，我们不再为招标摊位设定租金底价，而是由市场需求来决定摊位租金。这项措施让投标的小贩得以受惠，一些熟食摊位的成功投标价只有区区1块钱。（Translation）Secondly, we removed the concept of Reserve Rent in our tendering exercises since March 2012 to allow stall rentals to fully reflect market conditions. This has benefitted hawkers, with some cooked food stalls awarded at bids as low as $1.
9. 总的来说，这些措施已经取得了成效。去年，新摊位的平均成功标价比过去来得低。至于那些非津贴的摊主，经过专业的评估后，他们去年所需付的平均市场租金，增幅也大为放缓。（Translation）The results of these measures have been bearing fruit – average tendered rents for new stalls have declined over the whole of 2014. The rate of increase in rentals in 2014 for stalls that pay assessed market rents has also moderated.
10. 为了把价廉卫生的小贩美食带给更多居民，我们于2011年宣布了未来十年内，兴建10个小贩中心的计划。这里显示了两个地方， 这是位于武吉班让和后港的新小贩中心，将会在今年内开张营业。职总富食客将会以非盈利管理模式，经营武吉班让小贩中心。（Translation）To further increase the number of stalls, and to have hawker food available in many areas, we announced in 2011 that we will build 10 new hawker centres over 10 years. From the pictures, you can see that the first two new hawker centres in Bukit Panjang and Hougang will be opened this year. NTUC Foodfare will be managing the Bukit Panjang hawker centre using a non-prof it operating model.
11. 我们希望通过管理代理的经营模式，引进新业者和经营方式，吸取它们经营饮食业和产业管理方面的经验；从而为居民带来更多的食物选择，更好的用餐体验，也继续保持价格经济实惠。刚才杨木光议员他问了，对于这样的模式是否是有了一些结论。那因为他们这个营业时间很短， 就是刚开始的一个做法， 所以我们将会留心的关查， 而过一阵子才能下结论。（Translation）We hope that by inviting managing agents to operate our new hawker centres, they will bring new ideas as well as their experience in food and beverage operations, property and lease management, to diversify food options, enhance the dining experience at the hawker centres, while still keeping food prices affordable. Mr Yeo Guat Kwang also enquired about our assessment of using managing agents to manage hawker centres. Given that managing agents have had limited time operating hawker centres and this is a relatively new approach, we are closely assessing the results before making any conclusions on their approach.
12. 除了管理经营武吉班让小贩中心之外，职总富食客也经营勿洛镇中心 (Bedok Town) 一个原本属于“贩者有其摊”计划下的小贩中心。位于阿裕尼2道第117座组屋、锦茂路第20座组屋和西海岸通道第503座组屋的另外三个“贩者有其摊”计划下的小贩中心，契约已在去年5月到期，目前由环境局管理。（Translation）NTUC Foodfare also manages a former “sold centre” in Bedok Town Centre, while three other former sold centres at Block 117 Aljunied Ave 2, Block 20 Ghim Moh Road and Block 503 West Coast Drive whose leases expired in May last year are now managed by NEA.
13. 林谋泉议员询问，“贩者有其摊计划”契约到期的小贩，当局会为他们做出哪些安排。我想请林议员放心，也请受影响的摊主们放心。有意继续经营的摊主，将可继续营业。原本获得津贴的小贩，将能继续支付现行的津贴租金。非津贴的摊主则可以选择以当前的市场租金继续营业。无论是哪一种管理模式，小贩中心的宗旨始终如一，那就是为大众提供价廉物美、干净卫生的美食。（Translation）I would like to assure Mr Lim Biow Chuan that all stall owners at “sold centres” whose leases have expired and are interested to continue their businesses will have the option to do so. Stall-holders who were previously on the subsidised scheme will pay current subsidised rental rates. Stall-holders who were not previously subsidised will pay the prevailing market rental. Regardless of the management model adopted, the fundamental objectives of hawker centres in providing affordable, hygienic food will be maintained.
14. 其余8个新的小贩中心，将在未来几年逐步落成。在这个过程中，我们会咨询当地区居民的意见。回应李美花议员和费绍尔议员的询问，位于义顺的小贩中心将在今年开始动工，并预计会在2017年竣工。其中这个准备的工作，是花了多点时间，那是因为有当地的要求, 特别是在这个停车场上方面做了多次的讨论，多次的考虑， 所以在准备功夫方面,我们是尽量吸取当地的议员和居民们给我们提供的意见。（Translation）The remaining eight new centres will be progressively completed over the next few years. We will work in consultation with the local community to meet their needs. Er Lee Bee Wah and Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim may wish to note that construction works for the centre at Yishun will commence later this year and will be completed by 2017. Preparation work requires more time, so as to meet local needs, particularly in discussions on the issue of the carpark. We are trying our best to take into consideration the suggestions given by the local MPs and residents.
15. 徇众要求，我们将扩大兴建小贩中心的计划，让更多居民受益。我在这里宣布，政府将在2027年底之前，再增建10个小贩中心。 这些新的小贩中心将分布在新组屋区，或是饮食设施不足的组屋区。其中5个地点已经敲定，那就是：比达达利、盛港、蔡厝港、武吉班让以及武吉巴督。其余5个小贩中心的地点，将稍后公布。加上之前已经公布的10个小贩新中心，我们总共将增添超过800个熟食摊位，相信这有助于进一步调控租金价格, 也把我们非常熟悉，喜欢的小贩美食带给更多的居民。（Translation）As we are making good progress on the 10 new centres, we will do more. I am pleased to announce that the Government will be building an additional 10 new hawker centres by 2027. They will be located in new estates or in existing ones that are relatively under-served. We have identified the towns for five of these new centres – Bidadari, Sengkang, Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Panjang and Bukit Batok. The locations of the remaining hawker centres will be made known later in the year. Altogether, the 20 new centres will inject an additional supply of more than 800 cooked food stalls and we believe this will help to further moderate rentals and also bring more tasty and popular hawker food to the residents.
16. 林谋泉议员和杨木光议员提出了改进小贩中心清洁水平的问题。目前，全国绝大多数的小贩中心归建屋局所有，这些小贩中心的一般清洁工作，由市镇理事会负责。至于清理桌面的工作，则是由小贩中心的摊主负责，而这类工作一般上会通过小贩商会，外包给清洁承包商。（Translation）Mr Lim Biow Chuan and Mr Yeo Guat Kwang also enquired about the cleanliness of hawker centres. The majority are owned by the HDB and thus the Town Councils undertake the general cleaning. The hawkers undertake the table-cleaning function, usually through out-sourcing by the Hawker Association on behalf of the individual stall-holders.
17. 多数的市镇理事会和小贩商会，都能够做好清洁工作。可是有些地方仍有改善的空间，例如可以通过整合一般的清洁工作和桌面清理工作的外包合约，来取得更好的规模经济效益。各市镇理事会可以考虑也接管小贩中心内，清理桌面的外包工作，进一步提升市镇内公共场所的清洁水平。（Translation）Most Town Councils and Hawker Associations have been managing their responsibilities well. For the rest, there is potential for better outcomes and economies of scale by integrating the general cleaning and table-cleaning contracts. The Town Councils should consider taking over the table-cleaning contracts at these centres as part of their effort to enhance the cleanliness of all common areas in the Town.
18. 林谋泉议员也提到碗碟归还计划。自2012年起，这项计划已在67个小贩中心推行，并会在今年底之前，推广到其余附有熟食摊的37个小贩中心。我们希望大家能继续支持这个计划，无论是在小贩中心，或是在其他饮食场所，都能培养起自动自发归还碗碟的好习惯。让我们共同努力，创造更干净、更舒适的用餐环境。（Translation）Mr Lim Biow Chuan also asked about the tray return initiative. Since 2012, tray return has been implemented in 67 hawker centres, and will be extended to the remaining 37 hawker centres with cooked food stalls by the end of the year. We hope that everyone will continue to lend their support by returning their utensils after meals, not just at hawker centres but also at other food establishments.
19. 刚才杨木光议员以一个非常有趣的打油诗献给了我们小贩部。 他的打油诗里面说了很多的项目，包括了食物的品质和价格等等。我觉得非常有趣。 那我也想以一个打油诗，回献给杨木光议员。 那我的诗是这样的说法： “小贩摊主用心炒，食物价格应该好，卫生条件不能少，十后加十全民好”。那小贩摊主用心炒是因为现在摊主都要亲自经营，不在是为了一个地主。不需要在烦着转租金，所以应该是更加能够为自己的生活取得一个更美好的一个回报，所以当然是用心来处理他的食物。但食物价格也应该是好的，因为我们通过种种的措施，已经把很多租金都陆陆续续地在调下。当然我们也要对小贩中心的摊主们给一个合理的价格，因为他们用心良苦，工作条件是非常有挑战性的，我们也应该对他们有一个公平的价格。卫生条件当然是不能够少的，非常重要。十个小贩中心之后，再加上十个，将会汇集更広泛的国民，所以“小贩摊主用心炒，食物价格应该好，卫生条件不能少，十后加十全民好”。（Translation）Just now, Mr Yeo Guat Kwang dedicated a very amusing poem about hawker centres, which covered areas such as the quality and prices of hawker food. I found it very interesting and would like to respond to Mr Yeo with my own poem. It is as follows: “hawkers cook with their hearts; food price should be good (for both customers and hawkers); public hygiene is a must; 10 more hawker centres after 10 will benefit all citizens”. Hawker stall-holders can cook with dedication because they are operating their stalls personally and do not need to worry about transferring rent. This will enable hawkers to get better returns for their efforts and improve their dedication towards the preparation of their food. Hawker food should also be priced reasonably because various measures have been implemented to progressively moderate rental costs. We also need to ensure that hawkers are reasonably compensated given their hard work and challenging working conditions. Hygiene obviously cannot be neglected as it is very important. The addition of 10 hawker centres to the 10 already planned will bond more Singaporeans together.
D Waste Management
20. Now, I will like to move on to update on our waste management strategies and measures. Singapore has limited land, yet we are producing waste at a significant rate. Last year, we generated about 7.5 million tonnes of waste, which is 50% more than ten years ago. If this trend continues, Semakau Landfill will run out of space in 20 years’ time. Many of us would still be around to see that day if this happens.
21. Last year, we announced plans, as part of the Sustainable Singapore Blueprintto work towards becoming a ‘Zero Waste Nation’. By reducing consumption, and reusing and recycling as much waste as possible, we can conserve resources and free up space that would otherwise have been used for landfills. The Government will work with the community and businesses to make this our way of life.
22. We must also continue to ensure that waste collection, disposal and treatment methods are safe and sanitary.
23. Mr Charles Chong has talked about e-waste. Electronic and electrical products are becoming more and more ubiquitous. As they contain harmful substances, such as heavy metals, the improper disposal of electronic waste can affect public health. (For example, the
cadmium which can be found in rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries can accumulate in the human body upon exposure and cause lung and kidney damage in the long term.)
24. To maintain a safe living environment for future generations, we are considering upstream controls by restricting the use of hazardous substances in certain electrical and electronic equipment. Importers and manufacturers will be required to comply with these restrictions. These controls will reduce the amount of hazardous substances getting into our waste stream and eventually entering Semakau Landfill. This will also improve the potential of recycling incineration ash which NEA is exploring.
25. We will make it easier for everyone to safely recycle their e-waste. As you can see in the picture, we have the support of the industry stakeholders such as StarHub, DHL Express and TES-AMM. They are providing e-waste bins across the island for the convenience of members of the public. NEA will form a national voluntary e-waste recycling partnership programme. This will bring together stakeholders from the entire value chain, from producers to retailers to recyclers, to raise awareness and to provide better recycling infrastructure. I welcome companies and organisations joining this new partnership as we work towards its launch later this year.
26. For the longer term, we will be studying options for a regulated system for treating and recycling electrical and electronic waste.
27. Mr Seah Kian Peng and Mr Yeo Guat Kwang mentioned food waste. Food waste has increased by almost 50% over the past 10 years, and currently makes up about 10% of the waste we generate. As with electronic waste, food waste poses resource and environmental health concerns. Reducing food content in our general waste stream will help reduce smell and pest concerns. Upstream food waste segregation will also reduce contamination and enable greater recovery of other recyclable materials like plastic containers and cardboard cartons.
28. One effective way to manage food waste is to avoid creating it in the first place. Consuming only what we need also makes us more resilient against food security risks. In September 2014, NEA and AVA commissioned a survey on consumer attitudes and behaviour regarding food waste. We will study the findings when it is ready, to formulate strategies to cut food waste. NEA and AVA are also working with the industry to develop good practice guides for food manufacturing and retailing.
29. We can also improve our management and recycling of food waste. Companies who wish to invest in technology to improve their food waste management can consider tapping on our existing funding schemes such as NEA’s 3R Fund. Only 13% of all food waste is recycled today. NEA will conduct food waste recycling pilots at two hawker centres to raise recycling rates, and to try out different onsite recycling models. A district-level pilot will also be conducted at Clementi, where food waste collected from multiple premises will be sent to a centralised recycling facility for anaerobic co-digestion.
30. Besides e-waste and food waste, we will also be enhancing one of our long-standing programmes – the voluntary Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) to reduce packaging waste. The SPA has been successful, currently having more than 160 signatories which have cumulatively reduced about 20,000 tonnes of packaging waste and saved more than $44 million in material costs of locally-consumed products.
31. We will be extending the SPA to 2020 to continue the good progress we have made. The extended SPA will contain new initiatives, such as a database to allow producers to benchmark and realise the potential of reducing their packaging. We will also be introducing a logo to identify products with reduced packaging so that consumers can make informed choices.
32. Finally, we want to help each of us recycle more at home. The domestic recycling rate in 2013 was around 20%. Much more can be done to reach our goal of 30% in 2030. To achieve this, the ‘last mile connection’ for residents will be crucial. All HDB estates now have one recycling bin per block. To make recycling even more convenient, since 2014, all new HDB blocks have been designed with centralised chutes for recyclables on every floor.
33. I am glad that Ms Rita Soh supports this and had suggested during the Budget Debate that we extend centralised chutes for recyclables to private estates and embrace the use of Pneumatic Waste Conveyance Systems. We agree that we should move in this direction, and will consult the industry further on this. In some residential developments such as Parc Emily and One Shenton by City
Developments Limited (CDL), such facilities are already voluntarily incorporated. We want more developments to go this way, and do more to encourage their residents to recycle.
34. Mr Pritam Singh suggested replacing single-use plastic bags with biodegradable ones. Indeed, there are some countries such as
France and Italy that strongly encourage the use of biodegradable plastic bags because their waste is landfilled and the plastic bags would remain in the landfill for many decades. However, we do not share this concern in Singapore as our plastic bags are incinerated safely and not landfilled. Nonetheless, we still encourage shoppers to reduce excessive use of plastic bags and to use reusable bags as much as possible.
35. Minister Vivian will now touch on the topic of water and conclude the response for our Ministry.