Restaurant and music venue Broadcast HQ was not granted a licence for live music and dancing because of the many existing KTV lounges in the area, Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran said in Parliament on Tuesday.
The establishment on Rowell Road in Little India, which set out to be a bar and dance club when it opened in 2012, closed last November when it failed to get this licence.
It was instead granted a Category Two public entertainment licence, which allows the playing of recorded music.
"Since 2012, given the incidence of vice and other considerations, police stopped issuing new Category One public entertainment licences - and this category of licences would permit live music and dancing - in establishments located in that area," said Mr Iswaran.
He was answering Nominated MP Janice Koh's questions on how Category One licences are granted and renewed, and why Broadcast HQ did not get such a licence even though KTV lounges on the same street had them.
In deciding on licences, the police work with "other relevant government agencies" and consider factors such as the applicant's background, the law and order situation and potential disamenities, said Mr Iswaran.
There is no stipulated cap on the number of licences in any particular area, but the police do review the situation in various localities to see if more measures are needed, he added.
As for the renewal of existing licences, the police also take into account the track record and infringement history.
"Outlets that have a good record and do not attract adverse feedback from the local community would generally be allowed to continue their operations," he said.
Nominated MP Nicholas Fang then asked if other agencies, such as the National Arts Council or the Singapore Tourism Board, could be engaged to provide a "qualitative differentiation" between establishments which aim to promote the local music industry and those such as KTV lounges.
That is already the practice today, replied Mr Iswaran. When an application is received, the police get feedback from relevant government agencies.
"However at the end of the day, the police will also have to make a total assessment of the situation in that particular area," he said.