SEHCs – Busting The Myth Of The PAP’s ‘Free Market’!

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So often we hear the rhetoric of PAP Ministers and MPs extolling the virtues of the free market. It is their excuse to mask unfair practices which harm indigenous Singaporeans in many areas of life, such as employment and the ever rising cost of living. They wave off complaints and say that there is nothing Government can do because it is the free market at work.

We saw the latest example when the Environment Minister Masagos Zulkifli said in Parliament on 20 November that the Government should not interfere in regulating rentals at so called Social Enterprise Hawker Centers (SEHC) because to do otherwise would be to interfere with the market mechanism which determines the level of rentals and would harm fair competition among Hawkers.

What a load of bunkum, I say!

As the noted economist Robert Reich – who was also President Bill Clinton’s Labour Secretary, puts it – there is no such thing as a totally free market anywhere in the world. A market is necessarily made up of rules and regulations which is supposed to make it function in the desired manner.

Take our HDB resale market for example. There are rules and regulations on the transactions which can take place. A seller can’t sell to any Tom, Dick or Harry he or she wishes and there are also restrictions on who can buy. It is not a totally free market as the PAP would like to claim.

It is as easy for Masagoes Zulkifli to regulate rentals at these SEHCs to make them truly affordable, which will lead to lower prices for hawker food, as it would be for him to sit by the side and do nothing, and allow rapacious Operators Of these SEHCs to charge the unfortunate Hawkers very high rentals!

Peoples Voice would never allow our beloved Hawkers to be exploited by any rapacious Operator of our Hawker Centers. In fact there are many good reasons why the operations of Hawker Centers should revert back to the control of government if it is serious about lowering the price of cooked food for Singaporeans.

I leave you with the following quote from the best selling author Professor Ha-Joon Chang Of Cambridge University in his book “23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism” Prof Ha-Joon Chang echoes Robert Reich when he says:

“The free market doesn’t exist. Every market has some rules and boundaries that restrict freedom of choice. A market looks free only because we so unconditionally accept its underlying restrictions that we fail to see them. How ‘free’ a market is cannot be objectively defined. It is a political definition.

The usual claim by free-market economists that they are trying to defend the market from politically motivated interference by the government is false. Government is always involved and those free-marketeers are as politically motivated as anyone. Overcoming the myth that there is such a thing as an objectively defined ‘free market ‘is the first step towards understanding capitalism”.


Tean Lim



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11 Responses to “SEHCs – Busting The Myth Of The PAP’s ‘Free Market’!”

  • Who regulates things here?:

    That’s the ideological conundrum of government officers simultaneously involved in profit-raking businesses, through Government-linked companies viz.a viz. Temasek and GIC.

    Unless of course, they are paid only peanuts to rake in the government’s commercial interests. But then, as some greater mortal insisted: you would only get monkeys doing idiots’ work!

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  • Don't Upset The Hawkers Pse!:

    IF NEA is unable do a good job, please quit the Hawker Centres Scene!

    Angry and Upset Hawkers will not be able to cook peacefully and serve
    customers happily if they are often ‘harassed’ unnecessarily!

    Appoint someone who can better manage problems faced by Hawkers at Hawker Centres. Someone who knows what is happening on the ground and not through verbal or written reporting.

    Is there really a need to have SEHC?

    GE is coming and if this issue is left ‘hanging in the air’, more votes will be lost!

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  • where got total free market:

    //They wave off complaints and say that there is nothing Government can do because it is the free market at work.//

    really free market meh ? got to balance what is free market and not-so-free market lar. it is like law lar. can’t say have no law (free market) or have totalitarian dictatorial law (total strict control) until everyone acts like a robot.

    in sinkie INC where the white idiots got a ‘hand’ in many areas (especially those bao jiak areas good for rent-seek / tax. somemore say free market.

    ‘create’ demand by open-leg policy (e.g 6.9m with already sounded-out buffer of 3.1m to make it 10m lar). can create or not create supply of services by building or not building essential infrastructures like roads, housing and hospitals. where got total free market.

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  • PaYpAy is ALL BAD NEWS:

    Hiding behind committees, councils, enterprises as if not their “DOING” like margaret thatcher fighting the falklands war……

    “hello hello, Chek Man keng Two…. this is masharati thatcher…Attack..Attack.. OVER!”…Bee…shi…shi…shi…shi..

    You vote them for WHAT!……

    PaYpAy done nothing but are ALL the BAD NEWS.

    Any 3rd grade Oppos can easily replace them….. name me what so special that cannot be done by others at 1/5 the price.?

    No manipulation….ask MiloIndianCumMalay….. dirtily guilty…The Unclean and infilial One.

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  • Bapak:

    LBH evens tell people to pay higher for the cleaning cost. Instead of going after the profiteers, they rather go after the masses. Their actions only cause cost of living to go up.

    For You, With You???, or
    For Kakilangs, With Kalilangs???

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  • HarderTruths:

    Telling a despot not to be authoritarian is not really a rational option – but you seem to have done just that.

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  • I am scared:

    Nothing Positives, Nothing Good but all Intimidation+Oppression+Suppression+Manipulation.
    Harder lives and more tricks. Oh I am so scared.

    Will you vote for a Tyrant?
    cAN THEY rig the counts?

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  • Actually, hoh ...:

    Actually, hoh, the Singapore “free market” is not only regulated, as said by that Cambridge professor.
    The Singapore “free market” is controlled by the government on both the supply and demand, and even the price.

    Take HDB, for example.
    This government controls supply – how many to build.
    It controls demand – who can buy. One year, it increased demand by a few hundred thousands. It allowed PR to buy. That drove up the prices.
    It controls price by fixing the new prices.

    Take public transport. It controls supply, demand and price! Demand is controlled by mass immigration.

    The worst of all, all these controls are to maximize profit for the government at the expense of citizens.

    But, no worry lah, 70% very happy to transfer their money to the government.

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  • Deprive Them a 2/3 Majority!:

    If Opposition performs after the next GE, then we vote them as Gahment at GE 2025!

    This coming GE, we must deprive the Whites a two third majority or else they will never hear the plight of true blue Singaporeans!

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  • oxygen:

    FREE MARKET OR FIACKING BULL-SHIT, literally. Peasants paid for the land in public housing, SOME GHOSTLY ENTITY owns it instead.

    Where is free market economy in which “A” paid for the something and “B” owns it (paid for by “A”) instead. THEFT IS LEGALISED? WTF, this is worst than communist China or North Korea.

    PEASANTS CAN’T EN BLOC their HDB land (after paying for the land yet deprived of ownership) but private condos can (they similarly PAY for it BUT TRULY OWNS the land of equitable leasehold interest)?

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  • Anonymous incognito:

    That free market isn’t totally free is Captain Obvious territory.
    The question:is the regulation totally private? Is it totally the govt or is it a mix of the 2?
    The best run free enterprise systems tend to favour more private initiative while the state makes sure that contracts are enforced while striking a balance between private contracts and fairness.
    Every country chooses its balances but the most successful are the ones that let ordinary people decide how to organize their economic decisions

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