Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman today expressed his objection towards the "forceful removal" of local retailers’ trademark signage by the local council.
This follows a news report that shop owners in the district had been instructed by Muar Municipal Council officers to erase the signs, usually painted in Chinese-letterings on pillars outside each store, as the wordings were bigger than the ones in Malay.
"I categorically oppose the forceful removal of the Mandarin (Chinese-lettered) trademark.
"Muar’s beauty is its diversity and we should protect that at all cost.
"The Mandarin trademark is also the living history of Muar, which has been there for more than half a century," Syed Saddiq, who is also youth and sports minister, said in a statement to the press today.
Chinese daily Sin Chew reported yesterday that local council officers had visited the shop operators on Tuesday and instructed them to remove the signage.
Shop operators, some who have been doing business there for decades, cried foul over the orders to do so.
The report claimed that the officers had said that the signs violated local advertising laws and the shop owners could be fined a maximum of RM2,000 or face jail-term of two years, or both. A fine of RM200 for each day the violation is continued also applies.
In a press conference later, state executive councillor Tan Hong Pin denied any racial element in the matter, saying that Muar Municipal Council officers were merely enforcing a 12-year rule on the size of fonts used in advertising and signs.
Council president Mustaffa Kamal Shamsudin, meanwhile, said that his officers were forced to issue the notices, especially as many shop operators had not applied for the appropriate number of signage licences.
He said the council wanted to avoid questions during audit over why it was not enforcing the rule regarding font size and on payment of licensing fees.