The current operator of Line Clear, Penang’s most popular 24-hour Indian Muslim nasi kandar outlet, has been ordered to vacate the premises in Jalan Penang. In 3 weeks!
Line Clear operator Abdul Hamid Seeni Parkir had applied for a judicial review of the decision, which was made by the Penang Island City Council in 2014, but it was dismissed by the Penang High Court.
According to a report by The Star Online, Judicial Commissioner Collin Lawrence Sequerah held that the council had discretion and power under the Local Government Act to grant the licence to the outlet based on rotational basis.
He ruled that the council had acted reasonably and legally, and not ultra vires and in breach of natural justice. “The council’s decision is legal, rational, lawful and rational and the parties were given opportunities to be heard,” he said.
Collin also said the applicant had no legitimate expectation because neither Abdul Hamid nor his father had held any licence previously.
Backstory: From what we understand, the licensing issue was due to a dispute among 4 family members who claimed to have inherited the business from the founding family and who had initially agreed to take turns (by rotation) to run the successful nasi kandar business. Although the restaurant was run until today by Abdul Hamid Seeni Pakir, the family had only agreed to allow him to run it until 2011. He was supposed to hand over the business to his cousin, Sahubarali China Mohd Hanibah in 2011 but did not. Hence, it kicked off a debacle when 3 cousins fought over the rightful ownership of the stall. The 3 cousins were identified as Abdul Latiff Thulkarunai, Sahubarali China Mohd Hanibah, and Pathumah Iskandar.
After the decision was read out, Abdul Hamid’s counsel M. Kumar orally applied for an interim stay pending appeal but was dismissed by the court. He also applied for time to vacate the premises and the court granted Abdul Hamid 3 weeks from yesterday (Wednesday, 20th January).
It was reported that MBPP had issued a licence for the operations of Line Clear in Abdul Latiff’s name but Abdul Hamid obtained a stay of execution from the High Court against MBPP. Abdul Hamid had applied for a judicial review of MBPP’s decision to act against him.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Abdul Latiff said he was happy with the court’s decision. “We are glad that the court has ruled in our favour. It is a fair decision. We plan to hold a press conference, possibly next week,” he said.