No need for blanket ban on entertainment outlets, says Penang state exco

Opalyn Mok
Yew said the Penang Island City Council is working closely with the police on license forgery. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 16 — There is no need to impose a blanket ban on the issuing of licenses to family entertainment outlets in the state, state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo said today.

The local government, housing development and town and country planning committee chairman said there are also genuine family entertainment outlet operators.

“We can’t put in place a blanket ban just because of a few bad apples,” he said in a press conference in Komtar today.

He said the state government doesn’t condone illegal online gambling and any outlet found doing this will have their licenses revoked.

“This public entertainment license is issued only to operators in shopping complexes, supermarkets and hotels, we have stopped issuing such licenses for shop lots this year,” he said.

Jagdeep said the public entertainment outlet licenses are meant for genuine operators to promote a healthy family lifestyle.

“There is now this big thing in cybercafes, called e-sports, and this is a healthy family lifestyle,” he said.

He agreed with police taking action against illegal online gambling dens in the state.

“The issue now is not on the issuance of licenses but tackle the abuse of our licenses,” he said.

Yesterday, Penang Deputy Police Chief Datuk Roslee Chik said there was a syndicate that had forged the entertainment outlet licenses to make more.

Roslee claimed that the forged licenses were used to open entertainment outlets which were then used as fronts for illegal online gambling dens.

Jagdeep said checks with the police showed that the forgery cases were detected in Central Seberang Perai, not on the island.

“If there are any more of such cases, the local authorities have been told to immediately lodge police reports so that action can be taken immediately,” he said.

The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) confirmed that there were no license forgery cases on the island.

Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the city council has been working closely with the police on this issue.

“If the police say no to the issuance of license to some outlets, we will comply,” he said.

He said even after licenses have been issued, if the police informed the council that the outlets were involved in illegal activities, the council will revoke the licenses immediately.

The state introduced new guidelines for cybercafes this July to promote the burgeoning e-sports industry.

Yew said this new industry gave youths a platform to venture into the e-sports industry.

“This e-sports industry can even encourage the youths to go into science and technology and coding too,” he said.