Local women bodies yesterday decried the decision made by Minister of Environment and Public Health, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, for allowing the extension of operation hours of massage and reflexology centres until 2.30am.
Wong had announced after a meeting with members of the Kuching Division Complementary Health Care Establishment Association in Kuching Thursday, the extension of the operating hours from midnight to 2.30am.

“What man in the right frame of mind will visit massage and reflexology centres at these wee hours,” questioned the chairperson of P. 217 Women, Family and Community Development Council, Hajah Sultan Fatimah Sheikh Ismail.Women bodies decry Soon Koh’s decision She said like every housewife, she would be very anxious if her husband failed to return home after midnight.

“I strongly object the minister’s decision in allowing the extension of operation hours,” she said, adding that the men should spend more time with their children and wives at home after working the whole day.“In fact, there are al ready too many such centres in most major towns in Sarawak. I think the relevant authorities should cease issuing any more licences to any new establishment,” she said.

Assistant secretary of Bintulu Chinese Women Association, Lau Yu Siang, said she also did not approve the extension of operating hours.“We know that most workers in such centres come from China and that many men of weak character would easily ‘go astray’ after undergoing a session or two of feminine touch.

“If the men truly want to get a massage or foot reflexology service, they can go earlier in the day. Why do they have to patronise the centres after midnight,” she asked.Lau said she would not object if the men patronised such centres once in a while instead of regularly.

Chairperson of Serakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) Bintulu Branch, Nuai Gema was also not in favour of the setting up of too many such centres in Sarawak.“We have enough social problems to deal with in our own society.We do not want to see new social problems like families breaking up as a result of the influx of foreign workers, who are mostly young and attractive, in massage and reflexology centres.

She added that all women would feel worried if their husbands started coming home around 3am, exhausted, and had to wake up again about 6am to send the children to schools, before they themselves went to work.“Perhaps, the extension of operating hours can be applied only during the weekends instead of the whole week,” she proposed.

Nuai also called on Immigration and Labour departments to ensure that those foreign workers were truly certified and qualified masseurs and foot reflexologists