You have till October 31, Penang tells unlicensed hotels

Many of the unlicenced hotels in the council's list are along Chulia Street in George Town, a well-known backpackers' haven full of small motels, guest houses, inns and cafés. — Picture by K.E.Ooi
Many of the unlicenced hotels in the council's list are along Chulia Street in George Town, a well-known backpackers' haven full of small motels, guest houses, inns and cafés. — Picture by K.E.Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Feb 27 — Existing illegal hotels in Penang have until October 31 to obtain their full licenses or face enforcement action.

Local government and traffic management committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said a total 156 hotels with temporary permits on the island have between March and August to apply for full licenses.

“Their temporary permits will expire on October 31, so all these hotels must apply for their full licenses by submitting their building plans to the council within a six-month period,” Chow said in a press conference here.

There are a total 312 hotels on the island, 182 are illegal while 130 are licensed.

Of the 182 illegal hotels, 156 are eligible for one-year temporary permits pending their applications for full licenses.

There are also 52 illegal hotels without temporary permits on the island and Chow said they must apply for temporary permits before the next step of applying for full licenses.

All new hotels and those not eligible for temporary permits will have to go through the normal procedure of submitting their application for planning permission to the local government.

The state’s hotel legitimisation process started in March last year where illegal hotels were told to apply for one-year temporary permits pending their application for full licenses.

“Hotels with temporary permits must now apply for full licenses and those without licenses after October 31 will be issued summons,” he said.

Since the local councils do not have the authority to close down these illegal establishments, Chow said the hotels will be fined, taken to court and have all items in their premises like furniture and cash register seized.

In recent years, boutique hotels and guest houses have steadily mushroomed within George Town due to city’s listing as a Unesco world heritage site and it’s booming tourism industry.

Out of the 182 unlicensed hotels on the island, a total 95 are within the Unesco heritage zone where only 69 have temporary permits.

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