Extended happy hours

SEVERAL entertainment outlets on Chulia Street, Campbell Street, Pulau Tikus and Air Itam in Penang have been found to be open till 8am, which is way beyond the closing time of 3am.

Patrons of the outlets admit that they frequent those places as they open early from 5pm till the following day at about 8am.

One patron, who seemed dazed when met outside a club at about 7.30am during a check by The Star on Sunday, said that he frequented the entertainment spots as they opened till earning morning.

He said his wife never suspected a thing as he had told her that he was on an out of state business trip.

When contacted, Penang police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob said the Penang Municipal Council should revoke the licences of entertainment outlets that violate regulations especially those who open beyond their permitted business hours.

He said the police had no authority to handle matters pertaining to the operation hours and licensing, which were under the purview of the council.

“We only step in when things happen there such as fights, drug cases or vice but all those could have been minimised if the hours are not prolonged.

“In the first place, the council is the one who issues the licence for the outlets to operate so it is the one who has to ensure that they follow the guidelines,” he said.

Penang Municipal Council president Patahiyah Ismail could not be reached for comments.

A spokesperson from the council in charge of licensing said the council did not have the authority to confiscate items from the outlets and hoped that it would be possible for the police to cooperate with them in carrying out raids.

“We are in the midst of carrying out raids to check whether there are still entertainment outlets which open until early morning and if there are, their licences will be revoked,” he said.

He added that entertainment outlets that are far off from housing areas are allowed to operate until 3am while those within housing areas are allowed to operate until only midnight.

Women’s Aid Organisation president Ivy Josiah said the existence of entertainment outlets did not directly contribute to social ills and marital problems.

“The fact that the outlets could operate brazenly long after their business hours implies that there could be corruption and law-breaking,” she said.

Penang MCA Public Services and Complaints Bureau deputy chief Lim Thoon Deong urged the council to be more vigilant on the issue, saying that failure to monitor the clubs’ operating hours could contribute towards social ills and more vice activities in the state.

Lim also urged the assemblymen from the areas involved to pay more attention to the matter.

“They should work to show the public that their areas and also the state is a safe place to live in, free from any wrong doings (corruption and crime),” he said.

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