The Selangor government should retract its ill-devised and unreasonable blanket policy on entertainment outlets

Press Statement
by John Chung

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The decision by the Selangor government to limit entertainment outlets to one for every 200,000 people in the state resulting in the revocation of 520 licenses for such outlets is ill-devised and unreasonable. While the objective of the state government's Ops Kelawar campaign to curb social ills such as prostitution and GRO activities in entertainment outlets is laudable, it should not be at the expense of outlets which carry out clean and decent business.

One of the reasons for such social ills is the lack of enforcement by the authorities concerned, resulting in the proliferation of unlicensed entertainment outlets which engage in prostitution and other vices. It is such outlets that the state government should clamp down on instead of arbitrarily revoking the licenses of legitimate outlets.

The blanket measure adopted by the Selangor government is the latest in a series of ridiculous policies previously announced such as the imposition of curfew on youth under 18 years by the Perlis Mentri Besar and the ban on liquor advertisements in food outlets by the Selangor Mentri Besar which raises the question as to whether BN state leaders are trying to out-Islam their PAS counterparts.

Members of the DAP Consumer Affairs Bureau had visited a number of pubs in Subang Jaya and USJ last night and found that they conduct decent business. The interior of the pubs were clean and well-lit with notices displayed outside barring those under 18 from entering. In the Taipan area, where there are five pubs operating, all of which carry out legitimate business, only two were given licenses to operate while the other three were not. Can the Subang Jaya municipal council reveal what are the guidelines used by them to decide whether to approve or disapprove the granting of license?

As the livelihood of hundreds of legitimate operators of entertainment outlets and their employees are at stake, we urge that hll decent and proper entertainment outlets that comply with the necessary requirements should be allowed to operate. Otherwise, the operators of such outlets may be forced to go underground which could lead to even more social ills. As it is, there are many outlets operating without license already.

The sudden closure of hundreds of entertainment outlets will lead to a surge in unemployment. The suggestion by the state government that those who work in such outlets can find other jobs or work in factories is not particularly helpful considering the present economic situation and the high retrenchment rate where 505 employees are laid off weekly (The Star).

Such a drastic move would also result in various legal complications where entertainment outlet operators will run into problems in their tenancy agreement with their landlords and their contracts with their food and beverage suppliers. Besides, the limit on the number of entertainment outlets will have an adverse effect on the country's effort to attract more tourists into the country.

Hence, the Selangor government should retract its ill-devised and unreasonable blanket policy on entertainment outlets and instead focus its efforts on taking strict enforcement actions against those outlets that flout the law. Legitimate entertainment outlet operators who have had their licenses revoke can contact the DAP Consumer Affairs Bureau secretary C.S. Khong (017-8782881) or DAP Selangor state secretary Ronnie Liu (012-2013656) for assistance.


* John Chung, DAP National Publicity Bureau Assistant Secretary