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As Lawrence Wong tries to implement cooling measures on coffeeshops, Low Thia Khiang already sounded warning horns a decade ago

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12.07.2018

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong revealed on Wednesday (11 Jul) that the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will evaluate bids for coffee shops on factors beyond the tender price. Such factors would include things like the business proposals, productivity and operating processes.

The 4G Minister was responding to MP for Nee Soon Lee Bee Wah who asked if the current tender system "drives up the rent, and subsequently the cost of food sold at coffee shops". She had noted that some shops in her constituency had been open for as little as a year before closing as the rental costs were not sustainable.

She raised the concern that such stalls may not be able to survive: "We will have to be very mindful because if we do our sums, a small coffeeshop [would have a winning bid of as much as S$30,000 - or even S$40,000 – for a month’s rental. In turn], how much do they have to charge the stalls? We can easily calculate if they can survive or not."

Minister Wong said that HDB had conducted a 2-year experiment where tender bids........

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