Popular Penang eatery reopens after licence dispute

GEORGE TOWN, Penang - Loyal customers heading for their dose of Line Clear nasi kandar in Penang Road whooped for joy on Sunday when told they were eating on the house.

More than 600 patrons of the outlet received plates piled with rice, fried chicken, beef gravy and vegetables free of charge, while VIPs got the added pleasure of curry prawns.

The food is a thanksgiving from its new licensee Abdul Latiff Thulkarunai, one of the four descendants of the outlet's founder, who is taking turns to run it yearly.

Even Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon could not resist strolling over from Komtar to tuck in.

"It's like a shot of adrenaline," said customer Anwar Ali, 63.

He said he had been a regular Line Clear diner since 2000 and even when he moved to Kuala Lumpur, he never failed to return regularly.

"It's the originality of the flavours. Try the squid and prawns. You will never get this taste in any other nasi kandar restaurant," added Anwar.

The outlet was closed for four days since last Wednesday after the earlier operator, Abdul Hamid Seeni Parkir, was ordered by Penang High Court to clear out by Feb 3.

"Ha, the tussle is finally over, at least for the next one year. I am back and it feels good to run the outlet again," said Abdul Latiff.

Abdul Hamid, 67, had applied to the court in 2014 to quash the decision made by Penang Island City Council (MBPP) to grant the licence based on a rotational basis.

The court, however, ruled that the council had the discretion and had acted reasonably and legally.

Line Clear is operated in turn by four cousins: Abdul Hamid, Abdul Latiff, Shubarali China Mohd Hanibah and Pathumah Iskandar.

Abdul Hamid has since opened an outlet in Jalan Raja Abdullah in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, called LC Restaurant.

When contacted, his son-in-law Salim Medinah said business was good.

"People in Kuala Lumpur know our name," smiled Salim.