Trade fairs in People's Action Party-run constituencies are typically organised by the People's Association (PA), infrequent and last a maximum of 16 days, a check with four town councils under the ruling party showed.
In contrast, two trade fairs in Hougang and Kovan, part of the Workers' Party-run Aljunied GRC, had been scheduled for almost 70 days.
Tampines GRC MP and chairman of its town council Baey Yam Keng, who was a Tanjong Pagar GRC MP from 2006 to 2011, said there have been only about two or three such events in his constituencies over this period.
In Paya Lebar, which falls under Aljunied GRC and until 2011 was under the PAP, its Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC) vice-chairman Lee Bak Lee said that a long-time practice has been to hold two trade fairs a year. This was usually during festive seasons or school holidays, and each would last about 16 days.
Grassroots organisations, such as the CCC, usually call a tender for trade fairs. The event needs either a letter of consensus from the local merchants' association or grassroots adviser, according to a permit application on the National Environment Agency's website.
The grassroots adviser - a PA appointment - is typically the MP but in the Workers' Party-run wards, he or she is not the WP MP.
The lack of a letter of approval from the local merchants' association was the reason for the Kovan City trade fair organiser not getting a licence.
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