Don’t run coffeeshop like bistro, SMC issues stern warning against coffeeshop owners

Clarence Ting.

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SIBU, June 27: Coffeeshop operators who misuse their licenses to operate as bistros will have to face the music from the Sibu Municipal Council (SMC).

Speaking to reporters after SMC full council meeting today, chairman Clarence Ting said they had initiated action against these errant coffeeshop operators and would continue with it.

“SMC has started to take action but when it comes to the confiscation, the power lies with the police,” he said.

According to him, there are two types of licenses when food and beverage licenses are concerned. The first licenses allowing the sale of coffee and tea where coffeeshop operators will need, and the other are licenses permitting the sale of alcohol which all pub operators have to apply to run a business.

The entertainment license on the other hand, is a totally separate one.

So for businessmen who want to operate a bistro which involves sale of alcohol and provision of entertainment, they will have to obtain two licenses, one which allows the sale of alcohol and the other that permits entertainment provision.

“Normally when they (the operators) apply for a coffee and tea license, it is only for the coffee shop. But if they apply for alcohol, then they can serve alcoholic beverages,” he said

Unfortunately there are some coffeeshop operators who misused their licenses by offering entertainment items similar to a bistro.

“Only a few of them claimed not to know of this. There is no such thing as not knowing when you want to be in the business, you have to abide by the law,” he said.

The council said some coffeeshops are run like bistros and their locations in shophouses are within 100 metres from residential areas, which is prohibited under the law.

“We can’t approve this but a lot of them are operating near residential area and are operating beyond the time limit according to their licenses.

“For coffeeshops, their operating hours are up to midnight on weekdays and 1am on weekends but they are open until 2am to 3am,” he said.

As such, Ting said that he has been receiving complaints from house owners that these centres “disturb their sleep”.

“The situation now is quite similar to the 1980s when wives complained of the husbands going out to drink every night when we had a number of night clubs,” said Ting.

The chairman said a number of these centres started operating after the lifting of the movement control order.

Chairman of General Purposes and Community Services, Councillor Donna Petrus Ngelai said some of these coffeeshops even have live bands performing and not just karaoke singing. — DayakDaily