The lights were on and the merchandise on full display, but the shop assistants were nowhere in sight.
This was the scene at many shops in a wholesale mall during a raid conducted by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
The day-long operation weeded out unlicensed businesses, illegal foreign workers, usage of non- biodegradable packaging and non-compliance of licensing procedures for signage and banners.
DBKL Licensing and Petty Traders Development Department deputy director Mohd Muzammer Jamaluddin deduced that many of the missing shop assistants were foreign workers without work permits.
During the operation on Wednesday, it was revealed that DBKL had found that 320 premises were operating without licence during a January census done at the mall.
“An earlier survey addressed licensing issues but the owners were not present.
“So, either the message did not reach the owners or the business may be owned by a foreigner. Either way, we will issue compounds first,” said Mohd Muzammer.
DBKL inspected 604 premises and issued 183 compounds.
Of the compounds issued, 83 were for premises operating without licence, 22 for hiring foreign workers without work permits and 22 for non-compliance with the use of biodegradable containers.
Another 110 notices were issued to owners to either renew their signage licensing or have them taken down.
Boutique owner Nuraimun Amin Salam, who has been running a wholesale baju kurung business here for the past two years, said it was about time the local authorities took action against illegal businesses, especially those operated by foreigners.
“It is unfair that they are allowed to operate.
“We have to pay licensing fees and taxes.
“They don’t and that is why they can sell their merchandise at cheap prices,” said Nuraimun.
She added that not only had the presence of foreigners with five or six shops in the mall raised questions among local tenants, but it had also sparked health concerns because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When contacted, Kenanga Wholesale City Complex Management Corporation centre manager Fiona Bong said that as a strata mall where the units were owned by different owners, the management was unable to control who rented the units.
“We can help the authorities if they share their data with us in regards to business premises that do not comply with regulations.
“We can send out reminders to unit owners via monthly circulars and promotional campaigns,” she said.
Mohd Muzammer said DBKL would share with the mall management details of premises operating without licences.
“We will follow up on this,” he added.
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