KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 6): Hospitality player Low Yat Group today urged the Government to regulate short-term stays to curb the issue of accommodation oversupply in the hospitality and tourism industry.

The group, which was expecting some measures for the tourism industry to be included in Budget 2019, said it can understand the Government’s need to address immediate problems like building the rakyat’s income and improving the nation’s economy.

However, it thinks the problem of unregulated short-term stays and over-saturation of accommodation inventory that is affecting the hospitality industry now has to be looked into.

"This trend is pressuring average room rates to continue to be very low in Kuala Lumpur compared with other regional cities. Short term stays have to be regulated to curb oversupply of accommodation in the hospitality and tourism industries," said its executive director Low Su Ming.

Established since 1947, the Low Yat Group is one of the pioneers of the country's property and hospitality industries. Today, it owns four hospitality properties in the Klang Valley: The Federal Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Hotel Capitol in Bukit Bintang, Tasik Puteri Gold and Country Club in Rawang, and Fairlane Hospitality. It also owns the 382-room hotel, The Grace, in Sydney, Australia.

The country should also work at changing how the country is talked about and perceived in the eyes of the world.

"We also need to change the conversations the world is having about Malaysia from corruption and persecutions to more positive tones of achievements and uplifting news, so our tourism can be boosted. Tourism Malaysia should be the driving force to leverage on the massive value that Malaysia has as a tourist destination because tourism is a major revenue source for the country," said Low.

The group sees Budget 2019, which was presented on Friday, as a key tool to improving Malaysia’s economic wellbeing while overcoming inherited debts from the past government.

“This is a good head start given the underlying challenges faced by our new Government. I am pleased that the government didn't present an austerity Budget even though the Government finances are stretched. The rakyat's income will increase only with an improving economy and the aid handed out is also more targeted to ensure misappropriation is avoided,” Low said.

The group is also "glad" that public transport projects such as the third light rail transit (LRT3) and the second mass rapid transit (MRT2) will resume with more savings for the Government. “Connectivity spurs development. The wider coverage provided by the LRT3 and MRT2 will certainly boost ridership for both locals and tourists. As a key player in the hospitality industry, especially in the Golden Triangle, we also feel that the move to introduce unlimited ride monthly pass would definitely benefit the rakyat,” Low said.

The group also welcomed the Government’s move to provide stamp duty exemptions on sale and purchase agreements as well as loan agreements for first-time home buyers for the purchase of homes priced up to RM500,000, which it said will spur property market and reduce inventory. The exemption is valid for two years until December 2020.

As for the real tax property gains tax that will be increased under Budget 2019, the group said it should not stop serious buyers from purchasing good property in prime locations. — theedgemarkets.com

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