PETALING JAYA: Complaints were raised by members of the Petaling Jaya Coffee Shop Association on various matters concerning their business during a recent town hall with Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran.

Among others, they questioned the necessity of applying for as many as 10 licences just to operate.

Its president Keu Kok Meng said they needed to apply for a Petaling Jaya City Council business licence, apart from licences for advertising, signboards, fire safety, sales and service tax and storage.

He added that food and beverage retail shops comprised traditional coffee shops, modern cafes, food courts, bakeries and restaurants.

“Different licences are required for different outlets and that depends on the setup of the shop.

“All of them require specific licences, apart from having a business licence to operate. However, most coffee shops do not apply for a storage licence as it is a grey area in regard to how much stock is kept in a shop to be classified as storage.”

Keu said they generally buy their stock daily or weekly and not in bulk.

The members also protested over being blamed for waste discarded in drains.

“There are food and beverage shops in every residential area and coffee shops usually take up corner lots.

“We get blamed for anything that goes into drains, although we have seen food truck operators dumping their waste where coffee shops are located before leaving for the night. This is not fair to us,” he said, adding that coffee shops were equipped with mandatory grease traps and proper wash areas to filter waste.

Rajiv expressed concern over the issues raised and assured them that he is always ready to assist in resolving problems.

“We know that the coffee shop business is not an easy one and that all of you work very hard to put food on the table for your families. So, don’t worry and keep raising your problems with me. One by one, I will look into and resolve them.

“We will invite the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry to brief (everyone) on licensing. I am confident it can help us to streamline licensing requirements.”

He also said hawker stalls may be opened outside of coffee shop premises, provided the owners apply for the correct licences.

“Having hawker stalls is the culture of coffee shops. But they don’t always have to be inside the shops and may be located outside the premises.

“We can work with other government departments and agencies to resolve cleanliness and waste disposal issues,” he added.