Yikes, our future generation may not be able to experience the middle-of-the-night yum cha sessions anymore.
Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, recently submitted a proposal to the Government to clamp down on the 24-hour eateries. If the law is enforced, eateries such as mamaks and hawker stalls will be forced to restrict their operating hours until midnight only, instead of the previous 24 hours.
According to Shahidan, it would be a necessary measure in order to curb social ills that have been rampant in society nowadays.
A note and proposal paper will be submitted to the Deputy Prime Minister and National Social Council. It is not a blanket ban on all restaurants or eateries but those in specific areas such as in housing and rural areas.
He further stated that in other countries, it is a norm for restaurants and eateries to close before 12am, as opposed to the situation in Malaysia:
Malaysia is perhaps the only country in the world where one can find eateries and restaurants open 24 hours. But it’s different here due to the presence of many who require the services of this industry, such as tourists, foreign migrants and so on. The leeway has contributed to social ills.
There are concerns that the young spend too much idle time in such places and get involved in unhealthy activities.
Shahidan continued that the 24-hour eateries are becoming a favourite haunt for foreign immigrants, and also “attract rats and (are) noisy”. To curb this problem, he brought up a suggestion and also asked for specific authorities to work hand-in-hand with him:
There can be specific zones to allow restaurants and eateries to operate to ensure residents are not affected. This effort (curbing social ills) requires the cooperation of the Tourism and Culture Minister, local authorities like Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and other parties.
Shahidan also said that several complaints have been brought up regarding the problem, and the issue is currently a hotly debated topic on social media. As it is, the Government has to seek the advice of food and entertainment industry players first, before coming to a decision.
UPDATE (29th June, 11:15am):
We can all breathe a sigh of relief, as Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak has rejected the idea of banning 24-hour eateries and restaurants.
Previously, a proposal to ban 24-hour outlets in housing and rural areas was submitted to the government as it allegedly contributed to social ills. However, the Prime Minister stated that the Government will not be imposing the ban. He also assured that citizens need not worry about the operating hours.
While distributing bubur lambuk to the people outside of Masjid Jamek in Kampung Baru, the Prime Minister said:
The existing operating hours is convenient and comfortable to many. Those who own businesses will receive their income. If we restrict the operating hours, it will cause inconvenience to many people.
What is your take on the issue? Are you satisfied with the decision to not ban 24-hour eateries? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments box below.