In a parliamentary response to Workers’ Party Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim’s question, Deputy Chairman of the People’s Association (PA) Minister Lim Swee Say revealed that the PA, through the Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCCs), made several millions in revenue every year from trade fairs also known as pasar malams.
Pasar malams are make-shift trade fairs, lasting between 16 and 32 days, that sell street food and cheap retail items. The PA made money by charging these make-shift stalls rental.
Between 2012 and 2014, the PA made S$10,000 and S$100,000 from each pasar malam in two-third of the total 40 events organised. The remaining one-third made S$100,000 and S$350,000 in revenue. For the Muslim Ramadan period, the Geylang Serai Trade Fair made S$900,000 and S$1.3 million every year.
Minister Lim Swee Say that the millions profits made from these pasar malams go into helping the poor, providing welfare assistance, scholarships and bursaries.
In 2014, the Opposition Workers’ Party Town Council was fined S$800 for holding a Chinese New Year trade fair without a permit. The PAP candidate for Aljunied GRC in the coming General Election Victor Lye then chastised the WP for making money from these trade fair: