KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will submit a proposal to shorten the operating hours of entertainment outlets and standardise it for better management.
Presently, entertainment outlets have a range of closing hours between 1am and 5am.
DBKL Licensing and Petty Traders Management department director Anwar Mohd Zain said the proposal to the Federal Territories Ministry was made after complaints about noise and social problems, among others.
“Outlets allowed to operate into the early mornings were meant to cater to tourists, but lots of locals patronised them,” he said.
Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad was quoted by a portal as saying the new hours are meant to remind to people to spend time and money on their families instead.
This drew flak from outlet operators.
Soul Society executive director Michele Kwok said bars would be affected by the limit.
“Our outlets are licensed to open till 3am. The 1am limit is only good for a restobar.
“Outlets with more drinkers will have big concerns. There is the happy-hour crowd before 9pm and late-night crowd after 10pm. Closing at 1am gives the operators a very small window to make a decent profit.
“The reason of enhancing family ties is not valid. Authorities cannot dictate how we should live our lives.
“Maybe someone spends time with their family until dinner and after the kids are in bed, he or she goes out.
“As long as we operate a decent outlet, we are not going to ruin any families,” she said.
Trec/Zouk Club Kuala Lumpur co-founder and managing director Cher Ng said reducing opening hours would result in complaints from international brand tenants.
“Closing at 5am was our unique selling point that brought in international brands from Singapore, Thailand and South Korea.
“Trec was built to provide a one-stop entertainment destination, and has met all criteria set by the Tourism Ministry,” he said.
Ng said it was best for DBKL to come up with guidelines on meeting the requirement to operate up to a certain hour.
He said DBKL should also consider that noise was not a problem for Trec as it was located away from residential areas, and that social problems come from many causes.
“Locals make up our core crowd, so limiting excess after 3am is impossible,” he said.
Alcohol Consumer Rights Group Malaysia founder Deepak Gill said reducing operating hours could kill the legal nightlife business and give rise to more underground parties.
In a statement, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the reasons were frivolous but repercussions could be big.
“The night scene in Kuala Lumpur leaves much to be desired for tourists.
“City Hall ought to take into cognisance that the city is not just for locals but also the huge number of domestic and foreign tourists,” he said.
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