Save the HDB provision shops

Yong Guan, a provision shop which has been stationed at Toa Payoh Blk 54, Lorong 5 for 31 years sice 1968 is being managed by own family members.

I refer to the report "Going, going, gone?" (The New Paper on Sunday, May 19).

I am concerned about the state of HDB provision shops, affectionately known islandwide as mama shops.

These shops are usually located at the void decks and most of them are family-owned businesses that have been operating since the 1970s and 1980s.

They are often small enterprises or standalone shops, which depend largely on the residents to be their customers.

With suppliers increasing their prices, huge competition from larger establishments and major supermarket chains, as well as high operating costs, these operators are facing an extremely challenging time and a high chance of "becoming extinct" in the near future.

Many of us HDB residents depend on these shops to buy groceries, snacks, vegetables, cooking essentials and over-the-counter medicine in an emergency.

We hope these shops will continue to serve the residents and offer more products.

I hope the authorities, particularly HDB, the Ministry of National Development, town councils and grassroots organisations can come up with viable solutions to help these shops with the ever increasing prices and rent, as well as effective ways to draw more human traffic to them.