THIRTEEN out of 16 budget hotels in Petaling Jaya have been operating without licences for more than 10 years, and the PJ City Council (MBPJ) has done nothing about the matter, according to a city councillor.
Councillor Capt (R) Datuk Zahar Hashim said the issue was raised in 1996, but the illegal hotels were still operating.
He asked during a recent full board meeting of the council whether the MBPJ had the ability to enforce the law.
“This issue was raised more than 10 years ago. It says here in the minutes that Grade Hotel has been issued compounds eight times,” Zahar said.
“If there is a fire, who is responsible? Do we have to wait just like the Jalan Gasing funeral parlour issue and have the ACA (Anti Corruption Agency) come in before we take action?” he asked.
There was a moment of silence among council department officers until one said, “From what I understand, there was no guideline then on legalising the hotels.”
“According to procedure, there are many departments involved (town planning, building and enforcement) but not one department is saying anything,” councillor Subramaniam Veruthasalam said.
Datuk Ikhwan Salim Datuk Sujak, who chaired the meeting in the absence of PJ mayor Mohamad Roslan Sakiman, said the council would have a meeting with the legal department to look into the matter.
Zahar, saying that the council should not be discussing the issue over and over again, demanded that the council come out with a solution fast.
Councillor Raja Datuk Ropiaah Raja Abdullah chipped in: “Please give us a deadline on when the problem would be solved. Otherwise, it will be back to square one.”
Legal department assistant director Norzita Mokhtar said the the department currently had over 4,000 cases, all pending to be mentioned in court.
Zahar then asked if the businesses could continue to operate pending legal action.
Norzita confirmed that such a provision did exist until recently when a new set of bylaws gazetted in September by the state allowed the council to close down illegal business premises.
“This is a 10-year-old problem. Is someone protecting them? We have the bylaws now. Use it,” Zahar said.
On the issue of billboards, it was noted that 90% of billboards in the city are illegal because they do not have Temporary Occupation License (TOL) issued by the Land and Mines Office.
The town planning department had, however, given billboard operators till the end of the year to get the TOLs.
“How can you approve of this? I was on the TOL committee for nine years.
“It takes three to four years to be issued TOL, so why give the extension?” Zahar asked.
“We are just for show and no action.
“As long as we don’t suggest action taken against the department heads, we will continue having this problem,” he said.
Ikhwan said the council would hold a meeting with the legal department to discuss the issues.
He also gave a year-end deadline to resolve the issues of enforcement.
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