$280,000 raised for Jurong West market

About half the amount needed to pay for a temporary market for stallholders who lost their livelihoods in a fire that razed a wet market and coffeeshop in Jurong West this month has been raised, with plans on track to have it up and running by Chinese New Year.

About $280,000 of the $600,000 needed for the "ground-up effort" has been donated by temples, clan associations and other organisations.

Out of this amount, $200,000 came from 11 businessmen, said chairman of the market building fund Henry Ho yesterday.

The largest donation came from businessman Ching Chiat Kwong, who contributed $50,000, Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.

Read also: Man suspected of involvement in Jurong West market fire arrested

He is also chairman of the Jurong Central Citizens' Consultative Committee.

Fifty-one stallholders lost their livelihoods when a fire swept through a wet market and coffeeshop at Block 493 Jurong West Street 41 on Oct 11, and damaged a coffeeshop at the adjacent Block 494.

A 41-year-old man, Lim Ying Siang, was charged in court on Oct 15 for allegedly starting the fire by setting styrofoam boxes alight at the market at Block 493 at around 3am.

A job fair, organised by the People's Association and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), was held to help displaced stallholders find interim employment or long-term jobs.

Read also: Rebuilding lives after Jurong West market fire

It was also open to residents in the Jurong Central area.

NTUC FairPrice, Breadtalk and Food Republic were among the 16 companies at the fair, offering 800 jobs, which focused mainly on the food and beverage sector.

Vacancies included kitchen assistants and cooks.

Affected stallholders were also offered a fully subsidised employability skills training workshop and vocational skills training course by e2i.

Read also: Jurong West market fire stallholder: He has made so many of us suffer

Speaking at the fair, Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng said: "Stallholders have to wait for the new market to be ready, so they need a full-time job for maybe the next one year or two.

"Those who are waiting for the temporary market to be ready, as well as the Block 494 coffeeshop which will take a while before it can be renovated, can also look for part-time or temporary jobs."

Tom Zeng, 47, who lost his you tiao stall at the coffeeshop, was at the job fair with his wife looking for an interim job.

"I hope to find a kitchen job because I like to cook. I've been relying on savings but I'm worried because I don't know when that will run dry."



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