Yangon government urged to rein in proliferation of illegal massage parlours

Members of Parliament have urged the Yangon Region government to set clear regulations on opening massage parlours as well as bars and karaoke lounges in hotels and other commercial outlets in Yangon.

During a parliament session last week, MPs raised questions on the licensing procedures and controls in place on running such establishments.

They also asked if approval had been sought from residents living within the vicinity of existing parlours. “We understand that some residents are not sure if these businesses are official or not and that most have negative perceptions of massage parlours,” said MP U Yan Shin.

Massage parlours and bars became popular in Yangon after the 1990s. However, most operate without official permission from the government. Meanwhile, the regional government has not announced and enforced rules to regulate the sector.

“Actually, massages have health benefits and can also be used to promote tourism. In other developing countries, massage parlours are encouraged and popular among tourists,” said U Yan Shin.

Meanwhile, bars and karaoke lounges are also popular entertainment outlets for tourists and locals alike.

“However, there have been cases of some big karaoke outlets which have disturbed residents living within the vicinity and also caused traffic congestion,” said U Yan Shin.

In fact, the Yangon Regional Government does not issue licenses for massage parlours, said U Myint Taung, Regional Minister of Planning and Finance.

“Footand body massage parlours are allowed to open if they are attachedto a hotel and operating under the hotel’s license, which is issued by the Ministry of Tourism and not the Yangon City Development Committee,” he said.

However, the regional government currently permits karaoke lounges as well as beauty salons such as facial treatment parlours and barber shops to operate. Massages performed by the blind are also permitted to create job opportunities, U Myint Taung said.

Besides obtaining a license to operate, the businesses must also have an official recommendation from the fire department.

In that light, the government can consider drawing out special zones for these business to conduct their operations without inconveniencing the public, U Yan Shin suggested.

“The government has said that massage parlours are not legal and that action will be taken on to prevent them operating. So far though, this has not stopped such businesses from proliferating. This not beneficial to affected residents and encourages corruption,” he said.

Source : Myanmar Times

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