Friday, December 4, 2020

Lifeline for entertainment businesses in Kuala Lumpur

Lifeline for entertainment businesses in Kuala Lumpur

Lee (third from right) presenting the association’s recommendations to Mahadi after the Nov 26 meeting. Looking on are (from left) DBKL Licensing and Business Development Dept director Khairul Anuar, David, Chong, Bedi and Lim.

THE lights will come back on again at nightspots in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has given a lifeline to bistro, bar and nightclub operators who reported zero business since the movement control order was implemented in March.

They, however, have to observe guidelines set by the National Security Council (MKN).

DBKL is allowing nightlife operators to get creative in their operations as long as they do not contravene MKN’s guidelines.

The Restaurant and Bistro Owners Association committee met with Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah on Nov 26 to discuss the plight of members.

Those present were the association’s media liaison Jeremy Lim, president William Lee, vice-president Benny Bedi, legal advisor Datuk David Gurupatham and public relations and media advisor Datuk Seri Michael Chong.

The association has been asked to advise members to get their entertainment licence, and those that have not been operating since March 18 to submit the necessary documentation so they can operate again.

Lim told StarMetro that Mahadi asked members to submit their applications to change their business model during the interim period, in a move to save their business. Mahadi told StarMetro,

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses have been impacted and many have had to rethink their business models.

“We at DBKL are keen to do our part to assist businesses in need to explore their options in order to resuscitate their business so that the economy of Kuala Lumpur may thrive.

“To this end, once business proprietors such as nightclub owners submit their plans to DBKL for new proposed business activities, we will evaluate these proposals accordingly.” Lim said that at the meeting with Mahadi, the association had requested DBKL to allow its members to apply for an additional operations licence and to operate as a non-entertainment premises without jeopardising their existing entertainment licence status.

Giving an example, Lim said a dance club owner could now apply to convert the place into a restaurant or cafe serving food, minus entertainment which meant no live music and deejay.

He said the change of use provided clarity to affected business owners since the beginning of the MCO.

“We also brought up the point that some premises like a dance club might not have space or speciality needed to operate an eatery, but to be allowed to use the services of a central or cloud kitchen. We are happy that the mayor was agreeable to this, ’’ he added.

The association emphasised that the change of use should not be limited to conversions into a restaurant or cafe and that business owners should have the flexibility to convert the premises to any use.

“DBKL agrees to these as long as the new business is not prohibited by the rules set by the government, ’’ said Lim.

He said the association was asked to send in its request for consolidation.

Also discussed in the meeting with the mayor was the operating hours of these businesses.

“We asked for clarification on the recent extended operational hours (until midnight).

“We explained that businesses needed additional time to do the necessary closing for the day.

“The mayor assured us that as long as there was no service of customers after the allowed time, owners could take their time to conclude operations for the day, ’’ said Lim.

During the meeting, DBKL clarified that background or piped-in music during the operations was permitted as long as the volume was at a reasonable level. No live music and dancing will be allowed.

Lim also requested DBKL to waive assessment tax for landlords who rented their premises to the affected operators, with the hope that savings could be converted to rental rebates.

Chong expressed gratitude towards Mahadi adding that the mayor understood the plight of the operators and wanted to help them.

“He empathised with the businesses that were struggling to survive and wanted to make things right for them, ” he added.

The association is calling for operators with entertainment licences to contact it for details, at or email


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