Seberang Perai council shuts down 39 businesses run by foreigners

MBSP enforcement officers seizing equipment from shops found to be run by foreign nationals during one of the city council’s operations.

SOME were slaughtering chickens in shoplots on upper floors while others had tanks of live fish.

These foreigners had caught the entrepreneurial bug and started running businesses illegally, especially at sundry shops in residential areas.

They were among 39 premises illegally operated by foreign nationals, which were shut down by Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) in the whole of last year.

Some had business licences belonging to Malaysians, prompting MBSP to take action after ascertaining that the shops were in fact run by foreigners.

“Sixteen operators had their licences revoked while another 25 were issued compounds for having foreign nationals operating the shops,” said MBSP in a statement.

Those compounded were found to have committed offences such as having foreigners without proper documents, run the shops.

Other offences included causing public disturbance and obstruction by storing goods on walkways.

Penang local government, town and country planning committee chairman Jason H’ng said MBSP’s guidelines prohibited the involvement of foreign workers in the retail sector.

Even the ratio of foreign to local workers in other business sectors is specified.

“MBSP business licences incorporate pictures to assist MBSP enforcers in identifying licensed business owners,” he said, adding that scheduled monitoring of business premises was done to weed out those run by foreign nationals.

H’ng said the hotspot areas included Taman Pelangi, Taman Nagasari and Bukit Mertajam.

He warned that business licence owners who allowed foreign nationals to carry out business operations, faced revocation of their licences.

“The city council participated in integrated operation with other agencies such as Health Ministry, Labour Department as well as Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry,” he said.

Factory technician Robert Lee said he had noticed a few sundry shops frequented by foreign workers in his residential area.

He said the shops had been laying out fresh produce in crates even on the roadside.

“No one should be above the law,” he said.

Penang Tanjung Muslim Association founder and advisor Mohamed Nasir Mohideen urged local authorities to increase monitoring of such shops.

“Many of these foreign nationals married to locals will run businesses while pretending to be just workers, but the truth is they own the businesses,” he said.

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