Surge in foot massage centres

  • Nation
  • Friday, 23 May 2008

MIRI: The rapid surge in the number of foot massage centres throughout Sarawak is ringing alarm bells in the State Ministry of Public Health and Environment because there are currently no local council by-laws governing this sort of business.

There are now several hundred foot massage centres in the cities and towns in the state and the public have voiced concern that these centres may more than just massage people’s feet.

Minister Datuk Michael Manyin Jawong said yesterday his ministry was aware of the public's concerns.

“This foot massage business is a totally new thing as far as the local councils are concerned. At the moment, the local councils do not have any jurisdiction over these places as there are no by-laws governing them,” he said when interviewed after attending a state-level seminar on local council integrity at a beach resort here.

“These foot massage centres are set up under trade licences issued by the district office. My ministry does not have any jurisdiction over them, thus the local councils cannot monitor the type of business carried out inside these places.

“The number of foot massage centres keeps on increasing, especially in Kuching, Miri and Sibu. My ministry foresees problems arising from these places unless we categorise them under our existing laws and regulate their activities.”

Manyin said the latest information gathered by his officers showed a few hundred foot massage proprietors in the state had obtained trade licences from the district offices.

To a question, he said the ministry was also devising measures to collect revenue from those operating foot massage centres.

“We cannot obtain any revenue from these places now because they are not under any of our laws, even though they operate in areas under the council’s jurisdiction,” he said. “This is something we need to sort out in the next few months.”

Earlier, when addressing senior officers from the state’s 26 local council bodies, Manyin said his ministry would not hold elections for councillors’ posts because this would result in too much politicking and too little work.

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