Petaling Street to be ‘liberated’ from foreign traders, vice

A large number of foreign traders are reported to be operating without a licence, with some involved in prostitution.

KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya has promised today to “liberate” the famous Petaling Street shopping area from being run by foreign traders with gangster attitudes.

Edmund Santhara, the deputy minister for the Federal Territories, said he had received reports of a large number of foreign traders opening up shop without a license, with some even conducting prostitution.

“We want to liberate Petaling Street. If Petaling Street is filled with foreign traders, what does independence mean to the people of Kuala Lumpur?

“We are actively conducting operations. This is just the early stages and we won’t stop until we succeed. We want to carry out this responsibility given by the people, we don’t want to bow to political pressure.

“At the same time, I urge the public to channel any information related to the matter to the authorities for further action,” he said at a press conference for an operation called Ops Tebah today.

The operation will be led by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in collaboration with the Immigration Department, police and the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department.

Santhara said owners of premises run by unlicensed traders involved in vice activities were believed to have hired “eyes” and had set up CCTV cameras at the premises.

Deputy minister Edmund Santhara with Kuala Lumpur City Hall officers at Petaling Street today.

He added this was among the reasons why no arrests were made in raids on seven premises in Kuala Lumpur today.

He said some of the premises involved were also found to have renovated the structure of the building with secret doors constructed in grocery shops.

“The raids were conducted following surveillance over the past three weeks, which allowed us to trace the hotspot for these immoral activities.

“We encountered problems during the operation as these premises had ‘runners’, CCTVs, secret doors and renovated structures to detect the presence of enforcement authorities.

In today’s raids, DBKL confiscated 78 items including condoms, mattresses and pillows. A total of 164 boards believed to be partitions for rooms used for prostitution were also demolished and 55 fines were given out.