Hannah Yeoh, Nga Kor Ming to meet tomorrow over ‘erratic’ local council licence fees for gym operators

Gymnasium operators have been assured that their plight will be looked into as two ministers are set to discuss the rather ‘erratic’ premise licence fees imposed by local councils, especially by Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, and Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming, are set to meet tomorrow to discuss the matter, which has been a subject of contention among gym operators for several months.

Operators in Kuala Lumpur are crying foul as they have to pay Kuala Lumpur City Hall RM50 per square meter. In comparison, an eatery selling fast food is only charged RM3 per square meter.

“During our first town hall (earlier this year) we were alerted to that. Then, we worked with the association (Gymnasium Entrepreneurs Association Malaysia),” Yeoh said, after officiating a football clinic at Taman Melur in Ampang, Selangor, this evening.

“I spoke to the Housing and Local Government Ministry. The ministry then told me to compile all the different rates they (the gymnasium operators) have to pay in terms of licencing fees. We have done that and tomorrow is actually our meeting with the ministry.

“I’m meeting Nga tomorrow … Nga’s ministry, and our ministry … to look at all the different rates. For now, it (the meeting) is just about the licencing fees because that (matter) was pending … Different councils, different rates, and the gap is very big,” added Yeoh, who is also Segambut MP.

A representative from the Malaysian Fitness Coalition had reached out to the Youth and Sports Ministry last August regarding the matter, only to be told that it was beyond the ministry’s jurisdiction and that the coalition had to write in to the ministry before it could engage with the relevant stakeholders.

Many operators were hard hit by the various restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. They were often sidelined, and many wondered if the government was serious about turning Malaysia into a sporting nation.

In September 2021, gym operators vented their frustrations after the government allowed cinemas to open, and restaurants to accept dine-ins, but the gymnasiums remained shuttered, even as the nation began opening up industries and the various sectors as part of its post-pandemic recovery plan.