Govt urged to crack down on migrant-run businesses


StarMetro report on May 21.StarMetro report on May 21.

Trader groups call for authorities to revoke licences of enterprises run by non-Malaysians

GROUPS are urging the Johor government to introduce stricter laws that will stop immigrants from exploiting loopholes that allow them to operate various businesses in the state.

Johor Indian and Petty Traders Association D. Ravindran said these foreigners had been using such loopholes to their advantage to run businesses such as barber shops, sundry shops, car wash and restaurants.

“We have always been getting numerous complaints coming from members and other traders that the presence of foreign-run businesses has affected their income,” he said, adding that the association had raised the issue with the authorities.

Ravindran said these immigrants were initially brought here to work in various sectors but stayed on and had since become their own bosses.

“These immigrants married locals and used their spouses’ names to apply for licences from local councils and other authorities.

“The spouses will only appear at the business premises when checks are carried out by enforcement agencies and local councils,” he said.

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He added that typically, it was the immigrants that were running the businesses while their spouses, despite being the registered business owners, were usually not around.

“This systemic loophole must be addressed by the Johor government,” said Ravindran.

He said such practices had been going on for a long time to sidestep the authorities, including local councils.

“Local councils should just revoke the licences if the one running the business is an immigrant instead of the Malaysian owner,” he said.

Meanwhile, Johor Malay Non-governmental Organisations Coalition Council president Zaini Atan said it was the locals who were losing out with immigrants opening up businesses.

“We know of some locals who have even allowed these immigrants to use their names when applying for licences at local councils.

“Since locals have a licence in their names from local councils, they should just run the business instead of giving it to immigrants. We are the ones who are losing out,” he noted.

StarMetro reported on May 21 that the state government was looking to prevent immigrants from exploiting legal loopholes which allow them to operate businesses in Johor.

State housing and local government committee chairman Datuk Mohd Jafni Md Shukor said they intended to address the issue.

“The local government division secretary is currently in the process of preparing a draft that will control businesses conducted by immigrants,” he said.

There were no restrictions by the Companies Commission Of Malaysia (SSM) in allowing foreign nationals to register their businesses, he added.

According to the existing regulations, foreign spouses are allowed to work or conduct business during the validity period of their social visit passes, provided that the work or their business comply with the laws and regulations in force, said Mohd Jafni.

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