Illegal hotels to face the music


THE Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) will take action against unlicensed hotel operators in the municipality once the three-year legalisation programme for them expires on Oct 31.

MPSP president Datuk Rozali Mohamud said that in October 2014, the state government decided to issue temporary licences for such establishments in a move to regulate the mushrooming of unlicensed hotels.

He said there were currently 23 illegal hotels in Seberang Prai, one of which was operating with a temporary licence.

Rozali said the council found that the hotels had difficulty obtaining approvals for licence as they did not fulfil conditions set by the technical departments.

He said the conditions included approval of plans involving the conversion of business premises to hotel, as well as requirements by the Fire and Rescue Department such as provision for emergency exit, sprinklers and smoke detectors.

He said the state government extended the legalisation programme twice after 2014, in 2015 and 2016, and decided not to extend it after Oct 31 this year.

Rozali said hotels found without permanent licences or submission of plans to be processed by MPSP would be listed for enforcement action.

“We will issue notices and summonses. If the hotels still continue to operate, we will take them to court. If there is an illegal structure, we will issue notice for the building without approval followed by demolition.

“We will also seize all items found in the premises and keep them as exhibits until the end of the court case,” Rozali told reporters after chairing a full council meeting at the MPSP headquarters in Bandar Perda yesterday.

Illegal hotels on Penang island will also face action from the Penang Island City Council from Nov 1.

It was reported on Sept 30 that enforcement, including court action and demolition of buildings, will be taken against 79 illegal hotel operators on the island from that day.

Penang Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said 63 of them did not take the initiative to put in application for rezoning, building plans or planning permission during the three-year legalisation process.

“But they do have a permit, with some paying the council licensing fees for one or two years during the period,” he said.

He also said the remaining 16 operators were “hardcore ones who are not bothered at all.”

In 2014, the state government decided to issue temporary licences in business areas at RM2,400 annually for hotels and RM1,200 for hostels and motels, in a move to regulate the mushrooming of unlicensed hotels.


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