Daily Briefing: 900 HDB flat buyers cancelled their BTO bookings in 2018; Hawker centres are struggling with the new social enterprise model

And F&B firm GD Group slapped with a $94,500 fine for false salary declarations.

From Channel News Asia:

An estimated 900 Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat buyers cancelled their build-to-order (BTO) flat bookings in 2018 according to national development minister Lawrence Wong due to a change in housing plans or financial circumstances which affected the flat purchases.

Wong revealed that 25% of the flats were 2-room Flexi or similar, 15% were 3-room flats, 38% were 4-room flats and 22% were 5-room flats.

Depending on the flat type, buyers who cancel their flat booking before signing the Agreement for Lease forfeit the booking fee, which ranges from $500 to $2,000, added Wong.

Should they cancel the booking after signing the Agreement for Lease, buyers have to pay a forfeit of five per cent of the flat price. They would also need to wait a year before they may apply for another subsidised flat.

Read more here.

From Reuters:

A handful of hawker centres managed by social enterprises criticised the social enterprise model over high costs and poor management following the government’s efforts to revitalise its popular food stalls.

The government, which manages the hawker centers, sees them as vital in providing jobs for the less privileged, ensuring cheap meals for low-income residents and attracting tourists.

Seeking solutions, the government handed management of 13 of the city’s 114 hawker centers to social enterprises, which do good while also earning a profit.

“The intention is good, but they’ve turned something that is meant for public good into something for private good,” Jack Sim, a social worker and entrepreneur, said.

Read more here.

From Human Resources Online:

Food and beverage (F&B) firm GD Group which is responsible for operating a chain of Penang Culture restaurants was convicted of seven charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) and fined $94,500 for making false salary declarations in an attempt to apply for employment passes (EPs).

Another 13 charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has barred the company from hiring foreign employees.

The case goes back to February 2013 and July 2015, whereby investigations revealed that the company had circumvented foreign worker quota rules by hiring foreigners on EPs but paying them less than the declared salaries in work pass applications.

During this time period, the company falsely declared salary amounts of between $4,000 and $4,800 for 20 foreign employees to meet the salary requirement for EPs. However, the foreign employees were paid salaries of between $1,500 and $2,200.

Read more here.

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