From Nov 1, the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will be able close down dirty eateries which fail to meet hygiene requirements.
The move under the MBPP (Food Establishments) by-laws 1991 was approved during the council’s meeting.
Previously, only the Health Department was allowed to close dirty premises.
City councillor Wong Yuee Harng said MBPP could temporarily stop dirty eateries from operating for a minimum of three days to a maximum of 14 days.
“We received a lot of complaints from the public regarding unhygienic restaurants, food and beverage outlets.
“As the city council, we (previously) could only issue compounds and did not have the power to order closures.
“We usually carried out our operations with the Penang Health Department and they will order dirty eateries to be closed, ” he said at a press conference after the council meeting at City Hall on Thursday.
“We are serious and committed to ensuring the cleanliness of eateries, ” he said.
Wong said they would order immediate closure if there were rat droppings, if an outlet was infested with cockroaches or flies or if it had a cleanliness score of 50 and below.
“Eatery operators who have infectious diseases or found to be a carrier of an infectious disease will also be asked to stop working, ” he said.
Wong said the council used the same standard operating procedure (SOP) as the state Health Department.
Meanwhile, he said closures would be in accordance with Housing and Local Government Ministry guidelines.
Eateries ordered close would be checked again after three days, if there was a written request from the operator, he said.
“If it is clean and meets the standard hygiene requirements, it will be allowed to operate again.
“If the eatery operates before we give the green light, we will seize some of their items and pass the case to court.
“If the operator does not continue the business, a show-cause letter will be issued and the licence will be cancelled, ” Wong said, adding the move was for the public’s sake and not meant to make life difficult for eatery operators.
“We encourage food and beverage operators to put in more effort and make sure that their outlets are clean and safe, ” he said.