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Friday, November 30, 2018

Nothing wrong with making merry, whatever hour it is

File pic.
When making public policies, we must consider and take into account all the consequences, both intended as well as unintended.
With reference to DBKL’s proposals to (i) enforce closing hours by 1am for most entertainment outlets and (ii) to review those allowed to operate until 5am, I think more detailed studies and consideration are needed.
The reasons cited were noise and lack of quality time among family members if entertainment outlets are allowed to operate beyond 1am.
Unless these outlets admit teenagers, why must DBKL act like a nanny? I think adult Malaysians and foreigners have the right to choose how, when and where they spend their free time.
Please don’t get me wrong; I am not talking about drugs, prostitution or drunkenness here. If some entertainment outlets associate themselves with these illicit activities, I am sure there are specific laws available to deal with them.
I am talking about good food, drinking, dancing, singing and making merry here, which I am sure adults are entitled to indulge in, regardless of what time of the day it is.
With regard to noise, I think the issue is not due to operating hours. Noise can disturb people at any hour of the day, not just after 1am. A better way to control noise would be to confine these outlets to certain “entertainment districts” where noise, lights and traffic will have minimal impact on others.
I think it is also unfair to give only certain outlets the leeway to operate beyond 1am as is currently the case. This is unequal opportunity and discrimination. How did DBKL decide which outlets deserve to operate till 5am?
Rightly, all outlets within an entertainment belt or district should be allowed to operate and compete in whatever hours they choose.
We want more foreign tourists to come. We want Malaysians who can afford to spend. This is the essence of business. We should be very careful not to come up with half-baked measures that kill the vibrancy of the economy.
By all means regulate and control, but please set your criteria and objectives right.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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