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Wednesday, 13 June 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

DBKL: Action a wake-up call to restaurant operators to be more accountable

THE Raj’s Banana Leaf Restaurant in Bangsar was the first restaurant in Kuala Lumpur to be shut down permanently for hygiene violations in the history of Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

DBKL Health and Environment Department director Dr Noor Akma Shabudin said restaurants had, in the past, been asked to close and clean up before they were allowed to resume operations.

“But this was the first time the local authority decided to revoke the licence. We need to set an example, to put the fear in people that this is not acceptable.

“I want restaurant proprietors to have the fear that they will be held accountable for the actions of their employees,’’ she said.

Dr Noor Akma said there were over 6,800 restaurants in 11 constituencies of the city.

A once-a-year routine check is carried out on restaurants graded A and twice a year for those graded B.

“They play cat-and-mouse with us. When we are there for inspection they are squeaky clean, but as soon as we leave, they revert to their dirty old ways.

“This is why we need the public to be our eyes and ears, report dirty restaurants to us and we will take action,’’ she said.

Dr Noor Akma said the department carried out checks every Wednesday.

On Monday, the licence of Raj’s Restaurant in Bangsar was revoked after a 30-second video clip emerged on social media.

It showed workers squatting at the back of the restaurant scrubbing and rinsing plates in what appeared to be a puddle of muddy water in a pothole next to a drain.

DBKL issued a show cause letter to the proprietors of the restaurant, asking them to explain the unhygienic practices at their premises before it was shut down and later ordered to be closed down for good.

After Raj’s Banana Leaf Restaurant incident, many eateries in the city are putting extra effort into ensuring cleanliness, saying that the incident had put them on their toes.

The proprietor of Authentic Chapati Hut in Brickfields, Harvinder Gill said the decision to permanently close Raj’s Banana Leaf in Bangsar was a wake-up call to owners to take more responsibility for their investments.

“It’s harsh (decision), since we are talking about staff’s livelihood, but a necessary one.

“It is timely for the owners to put capable managers to train and guide their employees,’’ he said.

It is learnt that several outlets in the city have even moved their kitchen away from public view such as to the upper floor of their premises.