by Melody Zaccheus
PUBLISHEDFEB 23, 2017, 8:36 PM SGTUPDATEDMAR 12, 2017, 6:39 AM
SINGAPORE - The Sungei Road flea market's last day of operation is on July 10 but the hawkers are hoping to be given an alternative or temporary site that will allow them to continue their business.
On Thursday (Feb 23), Mr Koh Ah Koon, 76, the president of the Association for the Recycling of Second Hand Goods, unfurled a banner at Sungei Road calling for the site to be conserved.
Speaking to The Straits Times later, Mr Koh said he was saddened but hopes an alternative site can be allocated for the hawkers.
We hope the government can give us a temporary site so that our lifestyle and this aspect of local heritage can be retained."
He said he has printed 10 banners and plans to collect signatures till July to support calls for the site to be "conserved" or retained. By 7pm on Feb 23, he had collected about 200 signatures.
The Government said the free hawking zone has to make way for future residential developments in a multi-agency statement last Tuesday.
Mr Koh's association, which represents about 70 of 200 vendors at the flea market, had previously proposed four alternative sites - next to Rochor River, at Kampong Bugis along Kallang River, behind Sim Lim Tower and a roadside near Jalan Kubor Malay cemetery.
But the authorities said the four sites had been zoned for parks and residential use under Master Plan 2014.
After the Government announcement, the association submitted a fresh appeal to extend the deadline until the end of the year. If that fails, it hopes to secure a temporary site in Jalan Besar behind a hawker centre.
The Association for the Recycling of Second Hand Goods was established in 2012 after the Sungei Road Free Hawking Zone was reduced in size the previous year to make way for the construction of Sungei Road MRT station.
Mr Kalay V., 45, a businessman who signed the petition said: "This provides the elderly hawkers a legitimate source of income and can be seen as an engagement programme for seniors - not that different from those run by community centres."