City councils in Penang announce regulatory waivers to help small businesses, hawkers

Hawker stalls are seen lining Kimberly Street in George Town December 1, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Hawker stalls are seen lining Kimberly Street in George Town December 1, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, July 27 — Both the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) have approved various measures to help small businesses, hawkers and traders in the state during their respective full council meetings this morning.

MBSP approved the issuance of temporary licences for small business operators to set up shops outside residential compounds and in villages on the mainland.

MBSP Mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud said there are an estimated 318 small businesses set up on private premises without approval from MBSP.

“Many of these are small businesses such as food stalls, sundry shops, barbers and mobile phone top up shops,” he said during a press conference after the full council meeting.

He said most of these small businesses have set up temporary structures complete with utility supplies such as water and electricity without permit.

He said the full council meeting unanimously approved the decision to issue temporary permits for these businesses during this period as a way to help the operators during the Covid-19 pandemic.

These businesses are allowed to continue operations without having to apply for planning permission for their illegal structures.

“They only need to apply for the temporary permit and submit a sketch of the location of their business premises and the size of the stall or shop,” he said.

He said the temporary permits will allow these businesses to set up a space of a maximum 20 feet by 20 feet within their own private premises for their businesses.

After obtaining the temporary permits, these businesses will need to apply for MBSP business licenses for their businesses too, he said.

Those who wish to apply may visit for details.

Meanwhile, over on the island, the MBPP full council meeting has approved a six-month waiver of fees and licences for hawker complexes, hawker sites and all hawkers.

The organising permit for all night markets, morning markets, weekly markets and farmers’ markets have also been waived for 12 months.

MBPP Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said they have also approved a 50 per cent discount for the rental of commercial premises owned by MBPP for the next six months.

There are a total 247 commercial premises under MBPP on the island.

“There will also be a moratorium for payment of the assessment rate until December 31 of this year,” he said.

As an additional measure to assist illegal roadside hawkers and pasar malam (night market) operators, MBPP has also opened up 601 vacant stalls located in MBPP premises to these hawkers and operators.

“A total 33 night market operators have been approved and placed in MBPP stalls while 43 out of 99 illegal roadside hawkers have applied to set up stalls within MBPP premises,” he said.

As of July 26, Yew said there are still 525 vacant stalls that are open for application by any small traders and hawkers on the island.

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