An investigation panel into an incident in June, when food canteen stall holders in a food court at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) were asked to change their signs to English-only, has concluded that the cause of the incident was due to a “misunderstanding” of a supervisor working for the university.

Food operations were told in June this year that tenants had to change their stall signs to purely English signs, which drew sharp responses from Singaporeans and Chinese nationals alike.

A 5 member investigation panel has completed its investigations and found that a supervisor at the NTU leasing unit had inserted a clause in the tender and commercial lease contracts in 2013, which stated that food stalls must have their sign in English only. The supervisor had inserted this clause without the knowledge of the university’s senior management.

The clause was not actively enforced until last year, when one vendor was told to change his signs. At the time, NTU’s management did not find the clause suspicious. The supervisor also did not force the vendor to comply.

Subsequently, as the food stall leases were about to expire, the same supervisor with NTU’s leasing unit informed vendors that they would have to use English only signs as per the contract, or risk losing their stall lease renewals in August.

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