By SM Mohamed Idris, President, Consumers Association of Penang
The Consumers Association of Penang today calls on the Commissioner of Tourism to immediately check whether license has been issued to the controversial Reggae chain of hostels in Penang and Kuala Lumpur and if registered, to charge the registered owner or proprietor for contravening the Tourism Industry Act 1992 and if not then to revoke their registration immediately.
The Local Councils should also act against these hostels.
This call is made in view of the hostel’s announcement that the hostel does not accept bookings by Malaysian, Indian and Middle Eastern nationals.
This is a new form of “Apartheid” and total discrimination against a selected group of people.
“Please read our notice before you make bookings:
Wheel chair is not accessible.
We do not accept guests 60 years old above.
Reggae Mansion is a hostel for international backpackers. Unfortunately, we do not accept bookings by Malaysian, Indian and Middle Eastern nationals.
Reservations made by these nationalities will deem to be null and void.”
The hostel in a statement had said that they observed this policy as non halal food is served in this hostel restaurant.
The definition of accommodation premises in the Tourism Industry Act 1992 clearly means “any building, including hostels, hotels, inns, boarding-houses, rest houses and lodging houses, held out by the proprietor, owner or manager, either wholly or partly as offering lodging or sleeping, accommodation to tourists for hire or any other form of reward, whether or not food or drink is also offered.”
Hence, the excuse that non halal food is being served on this premise does not carry weight.
The Act also states that any person who fails to comply with or contravenes any provision of this Act for which no specific penalty is expressly provided shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both and in the case of a continuing offence, shall, in addition, be liable to a daily fine not exceeding five hundred ringgit for each day the offence continues to be committed.
The Commissioner of Tourism should act on the hostel immediately and ensure that they are charged in accordance to the Act and if found guilty, make the sentencing most deterrent so that this form of discrimination would not be emulated by any other person or company.