KUCHING, Dec 2: Blind massage centres, as well as legitimate spas and wellness centres, should not be placed under the entertainment outlets license category which is applied in the existing regulations of the local authority.
Highlighting this, Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong has urged the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) to immediately review and revise the categorisation of businesses for licensing.
Due to the slowness and unpreparedness of MLGH in this aspect as well as the blanket ban on businesses holding entertainment licenses to operate in view of the Covid-19 situation, she pointed out that it had impacted not only the business of blind massage centres, legitimate spas, and wellness centres but also the livelihood of employees.
“Because of the current licensing classification and standard operating procedure (SOP), it had caused them to be jobless and lost their source of income. Many are stressed up for not working, unable to put food on the table for their family and make ends meet.
“It is high time for MLGH to take immediate steps to re-categorise the classification of all businesses including for entertainment so that proper and relevant Covid-19 SOP and measures can be crafted and implemented in preparedness for businesses to resume in a safe environment,” she stressed in a statement today.
Yong raised this in view of the recent complaints by the spa and wellness industry as well as the blind masseurs who had pleaded for help from the state government to allow them to resume businesses.
These complaints, she added, reflected how slow, insensitive and incompetent of MLGH to the needs of the business communities and people working in these sectors who have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“MLGH is in touch with the business communities especially for the issuance of licenses but it has failed in it role to help them cushion the impact brought by Covid-19.
“Sarawak Disasters Management Committee (SDMC) has been doing a good job in flattening the curve of Covid-19. We understand that when trying to contain the situation, the inevitable has to be done including the closing of certain businesses which lead to prolonged loss of income, loss of jobs and economic hardship,” she said.
As this month marked the ninth month since the Covid-19 outbreak, Yong emphasised that if a review has been done to re-categorise the businesses at a much earlier stage, all unnecessary hiccups and economic impact affecting business especially blind massage centres, legitimate spas and wellness centres could have been cushioned off to a certain extent.
“The Minister of MLGH (Dato Sri) Dr Sim Kui Hian could have already seen the need to start the re-categorisation exercise of the businesses, but having that said what has he been doing for the past nine months?
“It is a great disappointment to his colleague in SDMC, I must say. Why must it always be the case that actions could only be taken after receiving public complaints?” she questioned.
Yong concurred with the views that blind massage centres including legitimate spas and wellness centres should not be classified under the entertainment license category as entertainment outlets “as these masseurs are not into giving entertainment per se but more on wellness and health”.
She thus hopes that Dr Sim could deal with this issue immediately and come out with solutions so as to help people impacted economically be able to sustain their livelihood during this recovery period.
“In difficult times like this, our people are in need of assurance in that they are in good hands and that there is good governance,” she emphasised. — DayakDaily