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The City Hall is aghast that Kuala Lumpur’s many kopitiams and mamaks decided to ignore a new regulation on tables outside the restaurant premises. It’s so easy to apply (just fill up the form and give photos) – and you would be licensed up to 20 tables and 80 chairs. Too little, you say? Well, not really – each table’s license is a nice, cool RM30 per month (those stickers indicating legal status is that expensive). And besides, you can no longer place tables on the road.

Following the law means less tables compared to law-breaking competitors. And on top of that, if you, licensed to set tables outside your restaurant in the sidewalk and parking lot, put out more than the tables licensed to you – the fine is RM500. If you don’t bother getting a license at all – the fine is RM500. But Rajan, you say, what happens if my restaurant needs only 20 tables and only needs to use the sidewalk and parking lots, in a way that City Hall won’t mind? Well, unless the nice enforcement officers come around 15 or more times a year, it’s still cheaper going unlicensed.

And City Hall wonders why no one bothers.

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