STERN STAND:The state government’s move to penalise building owners in which immoral acts are conducted will give the local authorities more bite in curbing such activities
Ampang Jaya Municipal Council president Datuk Mohamad Yacob said it would keep an eye, in particular, on illegal massage parlours.
"A recent decision by the state government on this matter was convened to us. Property owners whose premises are used for immoral acts including offering sex to customers, will have to face the consequences, too. Their premises may be sealed," said Mohamad.
"Usually building owners will claim ignorance when questioned about the immoral activities within their properties saying that they were renting out the property. Now with the new ruling, we hope owners will be more responsible of what goes on in their buildings.
"However, we are still waiting for the detailed guidelines and procedures before we can do this as we want to avoid legal repercussions," he said after chairing the council's monthly full board meeting recently.
He said while the council carries out the operations, the Land and Mines Department can act according to the National Land Code.
"There are 37 licensed massage outlets in the municipality, of which 17 of them are beauty and healthcare centres while the rest offer reflexology. We have stopped issuing new licences and have never issued any for body massage."
He said the normal procedure is to issue compound notices to errant operators and after three offences, the licence would be revoked.
Mohamad, however, pointed out that some operators resorted to operating illegally. He said this will only come under control if a stiffer penalty is imposed.
"We have carried out 76 checks on these premises with 22 compounds issued for violating their permits or operating without a licence," he said.
Among the offences under the Beauty Centre and Health Care (MPAJ)(2007) Bylaws are erecting full partitions in the outlet, displaying obscene pictures or articles and allowing employees to dress indecently.
For each offence, the operator could be issued a compound of RM1,000.
Mohamad later saw some 57,000 pirated VCDs and DVDs confiscated during operations this year, destroyed at the council's compound.
Council enforcement director Addy Hissham Elias said while the compounds were issued to those trading the items on make-shift tables, the council could not take action on those carrying out business using car boots.
"These compound notices were issued according to our hawkers bylaws. We learnt that some of the peddlers were selling pirated VCDs including pornographic materials, but when we did our rounds, we found out that they placed them in the car boots and only sold to their regular customers," he said.
He said action can also be taken against them according to the Copyright Act 1987 and Trade Description Act 2011 by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Department.