Twenty types of businesses have been singled out by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) as being off limits to foreigners in the nation’s capital.
The ruling, which came into effect on July 20, prohibits foreign nationals from applying for a licence to open a hypermarket, supermarket, mini mart, sundry shop, 24-hour convenience store, petrol station and laundry service (refer to graphic for the full list).
However, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan said the ruling was only for new applications.
“The ban also includes foreign partnerships.
“Previously, we allowed foreign partnerships, such as husband and wife, where one spouse is a foreigner. But this will no longer be entertained.”
Nor Hisham said Kuala Lumpur was flooded with foreign business operators and the situation had reached an uncontrollable point which impacted local businesses and gave the city a bad name.
The mayor, however, reiterated that those already operating such businesses would not be affected by the ruling.
There are two types of licences, a premises licence and a business licence, which are governed by the Licensing of Trades, Businesses and Industries (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) By-laws 2016 (UUK20) and Licensing of Hawkers and Food Placement (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) By-laws 2016 (UUK22).
“Under UUK22, the business licence category, local traders are not allowed to hire a foreign helper to run or manage their stall and this includes husband-and-wife partnerships where one spouse is a foreigner, ” Nor Hisham said.
The rule extends to hawkers and traders operating in markets, food courts, night markets and roadside stalls.
“But under UUK20 or the premises licence category, a foreigner is allowed to do business and hire a foreign helper as long as the worker has a valid permit from immigration and the business is registered with Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM), ” he explained.
“Premises licence holders are those running businesses in shoplots, department stores and shopping centres.
“However, the rule still applies to the 20 types of businesses that DBKL has barred any form of foreign participation.
“And it goes without saying that any form of sub-letting,
renting or sale of licence to
foreigners is prohibited, ” he added.
The mayor said the city had been grappling with the issue of too many foreigners without permits and stepping up enforcement was taking a toll on the city’s resources.
“A lot of things are beyond our powers.
“For example, we don’t have the authority to arrest illegal foreign workers and the illegal foreign workers know this and that is why they keep coming back to the same place of business again and again, ” Nor Hisham said.
“Some are so bold that they tear up DBKL’s seal and continue business as if nothing has happened, ’’ he said.
The mayor said blacklisted traders would reapply for a licence using a new company name which made it hard for DBKL to trace.
“We keep seizing their goods and in return, we get a bad name, especially from humanitarian groups who think that we are being harsh and cruel towards them even though they are abusing the law, ” he said.
“I have met some of these humanitarian groups and explained to them the problems we are facing and some understood the issues.
“But clearly, we need employers to take responsibility for the people they hire, especially those who come here to work in one sector but end up doing something else illegally.
“And we need all government agencies — DBKL, Immigration, the National Registration Department, SSM — to be accountable, otherwise local governments like DBKL and city folk will continue to suffer and that is not good for business.”