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According to a survey by Chinese papers Shin Ming Ri Bao, 80% of the diners surveyed find the new tray-return refund system at the new Woodlands kopitiam centre a hassle. The cleaners at the kopitiam also complained that the new tray-return system resulted in more work for them.

The new tray-return refund system returns diners a dollar if they return their tray back to designated stations. The new government cost-saving idea to cut the number of kopitiam cleaners is ill-received by the public, with many returning only the tray to get the refund while leaving utensils on the table. In addition, the government set a rule that the lowly-paid cleaners who cleared un-returned trays are to return the dollar refund to the authority and not keep the money for themselves.

Cleaners told the Chinese papers reporters that their workload has increased since the implementation of the new system as many have to seek diner’s permission before clearing the trays. The hawkers also complained that the queues are getting longer because many diners refuse to pay for the tray deposit and rather make multiple trips to collect their food.