Retailers see red over ‘nonsensical’ signage fee


PETALING JAYA: Malaysian retailers and marketeers are up in arms over the issue of licensing fees for advertisements and signages imposed by the local councils as a means to generate revenue.

Representatives of the National Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, Bumiputera Retailers Organisation, Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, Malaysia Retailers Association, Malaysian Franchise Association, Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants and Associations of Malaysia, Malaysia Garments Marketeers Associations, Malaysian Footwear Manufacturers Association and Malaysia Shopping Malls Association got together to express their dismay over the lack of clarity.

In a joint statement, they accepted that physical advertisements placed in external areas which were visible to the public required a licence. But small advertisements placed inside commercial premises and buildings should not need to follow the same requirement.

Malaysia Shopping Malls Association president Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok described such a requirement as “nonsensical”.

“We cannot treat in-premises signages similar to advertisement since these are only meant to provide direction to shoppers and not for the general public.

“A distinction must be made to distinguish between advertisements and signages to avoid any confusion,” he said here yesterday.

Teo said the average fee per 100sq ft of advertisement was RM100, adding that the charge might vary according to different local councils.

“It is very time-consuming as we already have to comply with so many licensing regulations. We urge the relevant authorities to suspend enforcement until they can come up with clearer guidelines,” he said, adding that they would seek a dialogue with the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

Mydin managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin concurred with Teo, adding that the issue began to surface about two years ago.

“Officers from the local council came to our outlets to carry out inspections and issue compounds,” he said. 

When asked why the issue cropped up only now, Ameer said he was informed by the officers that the requirement was in the council by-law but lacked enforcement in the past.

Ameer said the issue should be resolved soon so as to avoid any problem.

“Some smaller retailers and marketeers, who want to avoid exorbitant fines, may resort to offering bribes. Consumers may stand to lose out as we have to shift the cost to them in order to balance our books,” he said.

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