GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) raided the island’s popular Line Clear nasi kandar outlet, which has been embroiled in an ownership tussle since last year.
Enforcement officers seized and carted away tables and chairs during the 4am operation yesterday.
However, outlet operator Abdul Hamid Seeni Pakir, 60, stayed defiant and continued the business with the remaining tables and chairs.
“The high-handed action of the council is uncalled for as we are still negotiating who should operate the restaurant. MPPP has no right to determine who runs it,” he said.
Abdul Hamid described the council’s action as “totally inconsiderate” and said no prior notice was given.
“Only a few workers were present and although one of them pleaded for time to contact me, the officers went ahead and loaded the tables and chairs onto a truck.”
About 40 enforcement officers from the MPPP Licensing and Public Health Department were involved in the operation off Penang Road.
In a statement issued later, the council said the restaurant was not allowed to continue its business as the current operators did not have a licence for this year.
It said the name on the licence for this year was issued in accordance with a decision made last October.
MPPP Licensing and Public Health Committee chairman Ong Ah Teong had said that the restaurant’s licence was issued annually to four cousins of a family on a rotational basis for 12 years – three years for each cousin – beginning this year. The cycle was supposed to begin with T. Abdul Latiff, 53, followed by Sahubarah China Mohd Hanibah, 56, Pathumah Iskandar, 65 and Abdul Hamid.
According to the statement, Abdul Latiff was the rightful operator of the outlet for this year. It was also reported that MPPP would act to vacate the premises if Abdul Hamid failed to surrender it by Dec 31.
MPPP issued the ultimatum to the four partners of Line Clear after the family was embroiled in a dispute over the management of the eatery.
When asked to comment on the Oct 8 decision, Abdul Hamid said it was a conditional agreement and that the other parties had to fulfil certain terms.
He declined to elaborate, but said they were willing to go to court to settle the matter, adding that the council had no jurisdiction to compel them to agree to its proposal.
Akbar Ali Abdul Ghafoor, a relative of Abdul Hamid, lodged a police report over the council’s action.