Entertainment outlets in Penang heritage zone get nod to apply for licenses

Wong said many entertainment outlets have been operating illegally for years and have asked to be allowed to apply for license. — Picture by KE Ooi
Wong said many entertainment outlets have been operating illegally for years and have asked to be allowed to apply for license. — Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 27 — The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) is now allowing all entertainment outlets in the Unesco World Heritage site to apply for licenses pending a review of the zone’s Special Area Plan (SAP).

MBPP Licensing Councillor Wong Yuee Harng told reporters today that the city council decided to let these outlets continue operating as long as they apply for the annual licenses.

“These outlets will have to pay five times more compared to the normal license fees,” he said.

Prior to this, only outlets in Upper Penang Road, hotels, clubhouses and complexes are allowed to operate within the heritage zone as per regulations under the SAP.

The SAP governs developments in the heritage zone to protect the outstanding universal values (OUV) of the site.

Wong said under the SAP, which was implemented in September 2016, different areas in the heritage site are divided into zones so all entertainment outlets were not allowed outside of the four areas mentioned.

“Now the SAP is undergoing a review, entertainment outlets outside of the four areas can apply for temporary licenses which they have to renew each year,” he said after the full council meeting.

All these outlets will still have to comply with the license rules and regulations such as keeping operation hours between 8pm and 3am only.

The current license rates for outlets with music or live bands is RM1,200 while karaoke is RM660.

All of these outlets will have to pay between RM3,300 to RM6,000 each annually to renew the temporary licenses.

Wong said many entertainment outlets have been operating illegally for years and have asked to be allowed to apply for licenses for their outlets.

“We have received a lot of applications from outlets in Chulia Street, Victoria Street, Love Lane, Beach Street and Weld Quay,” he said.

These outlets can now apply for the temporary license starting from September 1.

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