Consider tougher enforcement on errant F&B players to avoid painful regression

Year: 2020

This post is written as a brief comment to an article published on Today Online titled: 3 F&B outlets ordered to close for breaching Covid-19 rules, 15 others fined (17 September 2020).

“FMG has been consistent in objecting to the government placing the F&B sector as a priority in the Job Support Scheme or JSS.

The sector is overcrowded, unproductive and net negative in its economic value added.

The growing rash of bad actors who are not compliant with mandated safe operation protocols is non-trivial. The hard-won gains from the circuit breaker and the continuing restrictions could easily be lost due to such errant conduct, not only by these businesses but by their patrons.

FMG strongly reemphasises that the government should skip giving grace and warnings and escalate immediately to punitive levels of fines, not just slaps on the wrists amounts, and for repeat offenders withdraw their licences permanently and ban their owners from accessing licenses for a term of 3 to 5 years, depending on the egregiousness of the misconduct.

We also advocate that the patrons who knowingly breach the rules be slapped with mandatory administrative punitive fines.

If the law needs amending to facilitate these powers, then that is what Parliament should consider, but the subsidiary legislations grant sufficient scope for the Minister to make amendments without recourse to Parliament.

We should not, and cannot, let weak and timid enforcement permit a painful regression.”

– Devadas Krishnadas