ALOR SETAR: The state government has clarified that Chinese associations here do not need a licence to hold mahjong activities for recreational purposes on their premises.
State Exco member Datuk Phahrolrazi Mohd Zawawi said there had been a misunderstanding between the city council and the associations.
“If mahjong activities are held only for recreational purposes, the associations need not apply for the licence.
“The licence is needed only for mahjong activities which are conducted for commercial reasons,” he said yesterday.
Phahrolrazi, who is state Housing and Local Government, Works, Rural Development and Poverty Eradication Committee chairman said a dialogue was recently held between councillors and association leaders to clear the air.
He said associations could ask for an exemption from the Alor Setar City Council but they must provide a letter to support their application.
“But, if they are conducting the activities for commercial purposes, they must apply for the licence,” he said.
Kedah Chinese Assembly Hall chairman Cheng Lai Hock said he was relieved that the misunderstanding had been resolved. He said Chinese associations conducted various recreational activities for its members, especially for senior citizens.
“If there is a requirement for a licence to hold other recreational activities, the same problem would recur,” he said.
The Star had reported on Sunday that Kedah MCA Youth had questioned the state’s move of making Chinese associations pay for two licences for mahjong - one from the Kota Setar district office and another from the city council.
Its chief Ong Soon Boon said the associations, which had paid for one licence for mahjong activities to the district office, were surprised when they were asked to pay the city council for another licence.
He said the association paid between RM200 and RM300 yearly for the licence from the district office, but the city council was asking for between RM600 and RM1,000 a year.