Selangor's policy of one type of entertainment outlet for every 20,000 residents unreasonable and should be reviewed

Press Statement
by John Chung

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The Selangor State Government must not be overzealous in its effort to combat social ills to the extent of clamping down on even healthy and legal entertainment outlets and implementing the unreasonable policy of one type of entertainment outlet for every 20,000 residents.

While the need to eradicate social vices like prostitution and other related unhealthy activities are necessary and most urgent, it must not be carried out at the expense of existing outlets that have all along provided an avenue for decent entertainment and relaxation. The right to livelihood of legal entertainment outlet operators must not be sacrificed by the state government's blanket-like Ops Kelawar operation.

Pubs, karaoke, disco joints and snooker centres that have license to operate are places where people can turn to for light-hearted entertainment. Hence, the introduction of such a rigid policy to restrict one type of outlet for every 20,000 residents is unreasonable. How can the people's need for these forms of entertainment be catered to by such limited number of outlets?

What the state government should do is to focus on the enforcement aspect which has always been lacking by employing a continuous and long-term strategy to come down hard on illegal outlets and social vices instead of limiting the number of legal and licensed entertainment outlets which fulfill a legitimate need.

Merely limiting the number of entertainment outlets will not successfully eradicate social ills. The root causes of social ills must be addressed if the current campaign is to be effective. Otherwise, such ills will only manifest themselves in other forms. Hence, the state government should review its restrictive policy on entertainment outlets as well as give focus to other means of combating social diseases through education, emphasis on good parental upbringing and impartation of moral and religious values.


* John Chung, DAP National Publicity Bureau Assistant Secretary