Penang sets 2020 deadline for restaurants to clean up

Penang Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government set a deadline today for all eateries in the state to adhere to strict hygiene standards following news of dirty restaurants being sealed by health authorities.

Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said by 2020, at least 70% of restaurants must meet Grade A standards while the rest must achieve at least Grade B.

If the restaurants’ cleanliness levels drop below 50%, which is Grade C, they will be closed down by the local council.

Speaking in a press conference at Komtar here, Jagdeep said the ratio would be expanded from time to time to ensure that more eateries remain sanitary.

“I would like to warn all eateries to ensure the cleanliness of their restaurants. We are a food haven and want to remain so, and at the same time, we want to be clean.

“I will be firm on this, in line with our motto of being a cleaner, greener, safer and healthier Penang. We will crack down hard on dirty eateries, so please don’t tell me I have not given all a warning.”

Jagdeep said 471 restaurants and eateries have been closed over cleanliness issues since 2017.

On the island, 52 eateries were closed this year, a drop from 66 last year and 78 in 2017.

In the Seberang Perai area, 68 eateries were closed this year compared to 138 last year and 69 in 2017.

The Penang Island City Council issued a total of RM5,600 in fines to 10 restaurants in an operation last week which also saw 38 rats killed.