KUALA Lumpur mayor Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah is willing to look at ways to keep the city’s entertainment sector viable as long as its businesses are able to operate within the restrictions set by the National Security Council.
“We are open to meeting entertainment business owners and discussing the matter, ” said Mahadi, adding that it was in line with Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa’s decision to allow city folk, who had lost their jobs, to start their own business in Kuala Lumpur.
The move to provide temporary licences to these unemployed residents ensures that poor folk have a way to earn some money to take care of their families and pay bills.
“We are willing to be flexible with licensing as it is important that businesses in the city grow but it must be within the current guidelines, ” Mahadi told StarMetro.
“We will hear them out but at the same time, we must exercise caution as we do not want to start a new cluster, ” he noted.
Mahadi was responding to StarMetro’s report on Monday regarding the city’s entertainment sector which had not been allowed to operate since March 18, causing businesses to suffer massive financial losses.
Owners of entertainment outlets said they had been neglected and wanted some flexibility to keep their businesses afloat and retain employees.
They argued that the entertainment sector had contributed billions of ringgit in the form of taxes to the Government and should be accorded the same flexibility given to those who had lost their jobs.
“Hundreds of people have lost their jobs since the movement control order (MCO) is implemented and many of them have started a food business to make a living, ” said Charles Chan, a nightclub owner in Cheras.
“Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has allowed these people to operate temporary food stalls in the city to help them out. We just want the same latitude to be extended to us, ” he added.
Managing director of Jewel in the Crown, a restaurant and bar in Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, Benny Bedi said he had 11,500sq ft of space in his restaurant that could be turned into a gym if given the option to do so by DBKL.
“Business has been so bad that I owe six months’ rent to my landlord, ” he said, adding that rent for the premises was a hefty RM35,000 a month.
“The local authority can help by easing up on restrictions and showing some flexibility.”
It was reported yesterday that Annuar had asked DBKL to issue temporary licences to individuals who had lost their jobs and were eager to start their own business.
He said those who were affected could also suggest a venue for their business for DBKL’s consideration.
The minister has also helped an individual by the name of Mary@Nurajahan Mariamah Abdullah from Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur, a single mother who recently lost her job and started selling nasi lemak from a trolley.
She was given a temporary licence and stall to enable her to operate as a licensed trader.
Annuar said Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan were now designated as “Wilayah Bebas Berniaga” (free trade territories), to encourage people to start their own small business.
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