THE Penang Island City Council (MBPP) is fine-tuning its existing by-laws to add more ‘bite’ against food outlets which flout the law.
This is because the council has very little room to move although unlicensed food outlets and dirty eateries feature prominently as the biggest offenders.
“Our hands are tied as we are only able to issue compounds for offences.
“Only the Health Department has the power to close down unlicensed or dirty premises,” councillor Ong Ah Teong said during a press conference at City Hall in Penang yesterday.
Ong, who is also MBPP Licensing and Public Health Standing Committee alternate chairman, said although the cooperation between the Health Department and MBPP was good, the council had to follow the schedule of the department for any operations.
“Under the council’s Food Establishment Act By-laws 1991 Section 38 (1), our powers are limited and we need the assistance of the Health Department to close the outlets which continuously flout the law.”
“We are looking into the Act now and there are clauses which say the council could close down eateries if they are found to be infested with insects or any other animals including rats which carry diseases.
“These clauses have not been fully utilised during joint operations as it is the Health Department which closes down the eateries under Section 11 of the Food Act 1983,” he added.
Ong said they were also looking into the Petaling Jaya City Council’s by-laws which give the council there the authority to close down food outlets without the assistance of the Health Department.
“We are planning to fine-tune the by-laws by June this year and if successful, we could conduct the operations and close down dirty eateries
“The total fines collected from food outlets for various offences last year were RM427,280 compared with RM190,250 collected to date this year,” he said.
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