Media Release – 3 June 2013
AHPETC REFUTES NEA’S ALLEGATIONS
Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) notes with concern the inaccuracies contained in the releases from National Environment Agency (NEA) over the last few days relating to the cleaning of two hawker centres within the jurisdiction of AHPETC.
To allay unnecessary anxiety caused to hawkers and the public due to the media reports, we enclose as Annex A, the tentative schedules for annual cleaning of the five hawker centres within our jurisdiction. At these annual cleanings, the Town Council will bear all cost related to cleaning the high areas, including all necessary scaffolding and canvas costs. This is in keeping with our obligation to clean the high areas annually, as confirmed by NEA’s Advisory of 31 May 2013.
We also wish to set out the facts as we know them relating to the cleaning of the two Bedok North markets under our charge and to refute the unfounded allegations against the Town Council.
Block 538 Bedok North Market / Hawker Centre
By way of email dated 7 Feb 2013, NEA informed the Town Council that “the Hawkers’ Association will make the necessary arrangements with their contractors on the scaffolding erection / dismantling during the spring cleaning period from 4-8 March 2013.” We leave it to the public to judge whether any reasonable person would take the sentence to refer merely to the provision of canvas rather than the erection / dismantling of scaffolding itself, as NEA now claims. The TC took NEA’s email in good faith and left the arrangement of the scaffolding in the hands of NEA and the hawkers’ association.
We understand that the hawkers’ association themselves then approached our cleaning contractor, ATL Maintenance Pte Ltd. TC was not privy to any discussions between the hawkers’ association and ATL.
NEA claimed that the hawkers’ association had referred ATL back to the Town Council which was acknowledged on 19 February. We have checked these claims and found them to be untrue. Our contractor informed us that the hawkers’ association had approached them for a quotation for the scaffolding, which they had provided, but nothing further was heard by our contractor. Our property manager also confirmed that he had told the hawkers’ association that the Town Council was not involved in any private arrangements made by the hawkers’ association.
If NEA had felt that any of the above arrangements were not in accordance with requirements, NEA, being the co-ordinating agency, could have easily clarified the matter instead of perpetuating the confusion.
NEA doubted whether cleaning of the high areas was done in 2012 at the market at Blk 538. From our records, the high areas were cleaned as can be seen from the attached photographs in Annex B taken in March 2012.
Block 511 Bedok North Market / Hawker Centre
The TC’s position regarding the cleaning of Blk 538 above would also apply to Blk 511. Our property manager merely sought confirmation whether NEA would facilitate the same arrangement regarding the scaffolding as was done for Blk 538.
Role of NEA
We believe it is prudent for our Town Council to deal with NEA as the lead agency, rather than other bodies such as the hawkers’ association and the Citizens’ Consultative Committee under the People’s Association, on the cleaning of markets and hawker centres, to resolve any issues without complicating the matter further. We trust the NEA would not want to see a repetition of such episodes and strongly urge the NEA to play a constructive role in this matter, even though the political party entrusted with running AHPETC is not related to the government. The AHPETC is committed to fulfilling all its obligations. We hope the NEA will adopt a solution-focused approach to the matter. AHPETC looks forward to the meeting with NEA on 6 June 2013.
ALJUNIED-HOUGANG-PUNGGOL EAST TOWN COUNCIL
3 June 2013