THE familiarity and comfort that comes from visiting one’s local watering hole may soon be a thing of the past for those in Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Bangsar. That is, if Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) implements plans to relocate entertainment outlets from these areas to designated zones.
Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Mohd Amin Nordin said City Hall was studying a proposal to move entertainment outlets out of residential areas such as Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Bangsar.
“We are no longer issuing entertainment licences in residential areas and we are thinking of eventually relocating the existing establishments,” he said.
“We have been rejecting such applications in many housing areas, including a recent one in Taman Tun Dr Ismail,” he disclosed.
The mayor said DBKL was, at the same time, reviewing operating hours of entertainment outlets located in Dedicated Entertainment Zones (DEZ) where they are currently allowed to open until 5am.
DEZ covers establishments in areas such as Jalan Tun Razak besides those in Genting Highlands as well as Penang.
Mohd Amin said these areas could operate with extended hours after being granted special permission by the Cabinet in 2015.
“The operators have to adhere to certain conditions such as installing closed-circuit television cameras and soundproofing systems,” he explained.
The DEZ were created under the Government’s Economic Transforation Programme (ETP) to boost tourism.
According to the ETP website, establishing dedicated entertainment zones aspires to provide more vibrant and lively night entertainment in the city after most retail outlets have closed for the day.
The Tourism and Culture Ministry has begun facilitating discussions between entertainment outlet owners with their respective local authorities and Government agencies to evaluate the suitability of such outlets to be promoted to tourists.
Identified entertainment premises will be evaluated to ensure they comply with DEZ guidelines, which stipulate that the premises need to be soundproofed, located away from residential and religious areas, have adequate security and public transportation options, and are convenient for tourists to patronise.
Mohd Amin said the general rule on operating hours for entertainment outlets outside of the DEZ was until 3am, but some went beyond that.
“The police are advising us to limit the operating hours to 1am and we are studying that proposal,” he said.
He added that he would be meeting with operators from entertainment outlets soon to discuss matters pertaining to their operating hours.
Mohd Amin also said that he was disappointed by the recent advisory from the US Embassy warning its citizens against visiting a popular nightspot in Jalan P. Ramlee after the embassy found several cases of “drink-spiking.”
“They were unfair to us and should have approached us first,” he said.
“They have painted a bad picture of the city,” he said.
He hoped to clear the air in an upcoming “Mayors meet with the Ambassadors” event organised by InvestKL.
In a statement on its website, the US embassy said the advisory was not based on a singular event, but was issued after a careful review of events associated with the venue.
It said the outlet was officially off-limits to all American diplomats following a “coordinated drink-spiking event targeting foreigners in 2015.”
The embassy advised US citizens to avoid any display of wealth such as jewellery, and urged them to be extra careful when walking or driving at night.
It also advised citizens to stay alert in places frequented by Western tourists.
In 2015, Americans in Kuala Lumpur were warned to stay away from Jalan Alor, a street in the popular tourist district of Bukit Bintang, due to fears of a terrorist attack.