THE initially innocuous business of renting out roller and inline skates in public promenades and cycling lanes in Penang has turned into a public danger.
Youths are becoming obsessed with the fad and have started doing wild stunts on those wheels in the midst of pedestrians and cyclists.
Sometimes, groups of them play till 4am, forcing Penang Island City Council (MBPP) to crack down on unlicensed skate rental businesses.
But the operators put up resistance, turning aggressive when council teams seized their skates.
“We have been handling it professionally. We advise them to go through the proper channels and get a licence,” said MBPP enforcement alternate chairman Ahmad Azrizal Tahir.
He said more than 60 roller blades and roller skates have been seized by the council from the illegal operators during raids in promenades along Karpal Singh Drive and near Queensbay Mall this month.
He stressed that the petty traders must be interviewed to obtain licences before renting out their skates.
“We have had too many complaints. There can be up to 10 operators renting out skates on weekends.
“Some pedestrians reported being shoved aside by the skaters and cyclists complained that they blocked the lanes and won’t give way,” he said at a press conference in Jalan Timah yesterday.
Ahmad Azrizal advised skating enthusiasts to use the skating rinks in Penang City Park or the Esplanade.
MBPP Licensing and Public Health alternate chairman Ong Ah Teong, who was also at the conference, said the skate rental operators could be fined up to RM250 for unlicensed petty trading under Petty Trader By-Law 1976.
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