ANOTHER two unlicensed hotels in George Town had their signboards torn down, illegal structures demolished and items such as mattresses and television sets seized in a crackdown on illegal hotels by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP).
In a joint operation, about 40 MBPP enforcement officers, who were divided into two groups, raided the two hotels in Jalan Datuk Keramat and Macalister Road.
This brings the number of illegal hotels raided by the council since the start of thepolicy to clamp down unlicensed hotels beginning this month to four.
A worker from the hotel in Jalan Datuk Keramat was overheard telling one of the officers that the hotel had been operating for the past six months and that the hotel management had a temporary licence to operate.
The worker, however, said he did not have the licence with him at the hotel yesterday.
MBPP Building Department director Yew Tung Seang, when contacted yesterday, refuted the worker’s claim and said that both the hotels were illegal and notices had been issued to the operators to stop operations.
“The council had given the operators sufficient time to legalise their businesses and apply for the necessary licence and permits.
“We had warned the hotel operators to apply for licence and permits and we even issued temporary licences to those who qualified, but some of them ignored our instructions.
“Therefore, we started our enforcement to clamp down illegal hotels since the beginning of this month.
“This will be an ongoing process and we will be taking the ‘last to come, first to go’ policy to close down the newly setup hotels first,” he added.
Yew urged hotel operators to respect the laws introduced by the state government and local councils.
“The laws and regulations are to protect the rights of the operators and also to ensure the safety of the guests.
“In case anything bad happens at these illegal hotels, the operators and guests might face problems in enforcing their rights,” he said.
He said the council was currently collecting information to bring operators of the illegal hotels to court and to charge them under the Town and Country Planning Act 1966, which carries a maximum RM500,000 fine or two years jail, or both upon conviction.
It was reported on Oct 3, that the MBPP would clamp down on unlicensed hotel operators starting October.
State Local Government, Traffic Manage-ment and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow had said that 22 new unlicensed hotels on the island had been identified.