Surcharge not an offence

The Penang Island City Council Mayor Datuk A. Rajendran, deems surcharging non-drink ordering diners not an offence, noting that the practice wasn’t common.

“According to the Food Establishment By-Laws 1992, the action is not an offence. It is more of an in-house rule by coffee shop owners to control the use of their space, more so those with limited seating.

“However, it is our hope that they reconsider the surcharge,” he said as reported by New Straits Times today, emphasising that the surcharge aimed to deter people from using the space for purposes like resting or conducting direct selling.

While surcharge is not an offence, it is prohibited for stalls to display such signs at food complexes and hawker centres managed by the city council, according to Rajendran.

On 16 March, the internet erupted over a Penang kopitiam’s wall sign threatening a RM2 fee for tables without drink orders, the move swiftly condemned after being posted on Facebook’s Puchong News Group.

“How about adding one more rule by, If there are no drinks on the table, please pay RM2.00. If only drinks are ordered and no food, please pay RM3.00.

“If both are ordered, receive a direct discount of RM4.00,” said Facebook account user Tan Chong Huang in the group.