Johor cracks down on trade licence sub-let to foreigners

Ramakrishnan (seated, centre) said many wholesale markets in Johor are controlled by foreigners. — Picture by Ben Tan
Ramakrishnan (seated, centre) said many wholesale markets in Johor are controlled by foreigners. — Picture by Ben Tan

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JOHOR BARU, July 3 — Business owners in the state who sub-let their trade licences to foreigners will be blacklisted, Johor Consumerism, Human Resource and Unity committee chairman S. Ramakrishnan warned.

He told reporters after a meeting with the Johor Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) that stern action was necessary as the practice had become prevalent in many wholesale markets in the state.

Ramakrishnan said licences were illegally sub-let through syndicates that were also run by foreigners.

“This is clearly against the law as it is illegal for foreigners to own such businesses even if they were sub-let to them by Malaysians as it contravenes the licence issued by the local authorities,” he said.

Ramakrishnan said initial investigations revealed that the foreign syndicates would take over wholesale markets and sub-let licences to people according to their country of origin.

“The most obvious place is the popular Pandan wholesale markets in Johor Baru where the foreigners control the businesses there.

“This is seen as a very embarrassing situation where it would deprive the locals of business opportunities,” he said, adding that he will raise this issue with the other state executive committee members.

Ramakrishnan said the problems with foreigners having a foothold on local businesses was not new and can be seen in other states too

He said the issue was of concern as it affects national security, adding that all stakeholders such as the Immigration Department as well as local authorities need to tackle the problem at its root.

“We also need to put out a strong message that, as Malaysians, we are not anti-foreign workers, but we are against foreigners illegally manipulating job opportunities for locals,” said Ramakrishnan.

Johor KPDNKK director Khairul Anwar Bachok said his enforcement teams have identified several wholesale markets that were said to be controlled by foreigners.

“Almost every district in Johor has a wholesale market controlled by foreigners,” he said.

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