Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry in view of the impending takeover of Kopitiam by NTUC Enterprise (a) how will the Government ensure that cooked food prices remain low and affordable; and (b) whether this takeover violates the anti-competition rules.
Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) whether the proposed acquisition of the Kopitiam food operator chain by NTUC Enterprise will result in a substantial lessening of competition; (b) whether the acquisition will be suspended pending the approval of the Competition Commission of Singapore, so as to avoid a repeat of the situation with Grab's acquisition of Uber's South East Asian operations where its impact on ride-hailing platform services in Singapore could not be reversed.
Oral reply (to be attributed to Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry Dr Tan Wu Meng)
1. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has been notified of NTUC Enterprise’s proposed acquisition of Kopitiam and its subsidiaries on 28 September 2018, and is currently assessing the transaction. NTUC Enterprise has committed not to proceed with the merger until CCCS has issued its decision.
2. There are many factors influencing food prices such as cost of raw materials and manpower costs. The Government does not set food prices. Instead, we focus our efforts on helping Singaporeans to have access to affordable food options. For example, HDB has reviewed tender mechanisms to consider factors such as affordability when tendering eating houses. MND and MEWR have also announced plans to build more HDB eating houses and hawker centres in future. Such measures will allow consumers to make informed purchasing decisions across a range of cooked food choices.