Mustafa Centre in Little India has been ordered to stop business temporarily for 40 hours on its first floor following a court order.
This after the Singapore Civil Defence Force applied for the order as it’s concerned about overcrowding in the 24-hour shop.
In the first case of its kind, the first floor of the store closed from 4pm on Thursday and will resume business on Saturday at 8am.
The court heard that the six-storey mega-store has been especially packed with shoppers over the weekend.
And to help in crowd control, the shop has installed an Electronic People Counting System in September 2008.
This means, it can electronically monitor the number of people entering and leaving the premises.
The maximum number of shoppers allowed on each floor is 431.
But Mustafa Centre’s lawyer, Mirza Namazie told District Judge Imran Hamid that the store would not admit new shoppers the moment the figure hits 380.
He said that the crowds on the first floor are usually customers who just come and go but the other parts of the shop are never overcrowded.
Mr Namazie also pointed out that other places in Singapore are also packed with people on certain days.
These include places of worship, other stores that organise sales as well as exhibitions and fairs.
However, SCDF’s prosecuting officer, Major Azmi Adam said that the first floor of Mustafa Centre has been overcrowded over the last two years.
This temporary closure will give the store time to review and implement more stringent means of crowd control.
Mustafa Centre chalked up 45 safety violations in the past five years.
This is the highest for any building in Singapore.
The Centre was warned and fined S$6,600.
It has also been hauled to court four times prior to this and fined S$43,000 for flouting fire safety regulations.
The SCDF can halt operations in a building for up to 72 hours in cases of extreme fire safety breaches.
Building managements can be fined up to S$10,000 for such breaches.
And if the violations are not dealt with, they can be fined an additional S$500 for each day.
Source: Channel News Asia, 8 Apr 2010