Hoteliers say tourism sector "neglected again" in Permai aid package

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 18): Local hoteliers say the RM15 billion Perlindungan Ekonomi dan Rakyat Malaysia (Permai) assistance package, which was just announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, falls short of expectation as the tourism industry continues to grapple with struggling businesses amid the on-going Covid-19 pandemic and recently imposed Movement Control Order (MCO 2.0).

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said other than the 10% discount on electricity, from January to March this year, there was no other assistance extended to the hotel industry.

"Moratorium on loans was again left at the hands of commercial banks and financial institutions,” he  said in a statement shared via whatsapp this afternoon.

He added that while the wage subsidy programme is being extended to other industries, the government again failed to improve the programme for the tourism industry that had been most heavily impacted by the pandemic and more so by the recent MCO 2.0.

“A higher wage subsidy programme is much needed to keep hotels and tourism business afloat, without which more will be forced to retrench.

"We have repeatedly proposed [to the government for a 50% wage subsidy for those earning up to RM4,000 and 30% for those up to RM8,000 in order for employers to retain jobs of the people. This is the only way to protect the people. This again fell on deaf ears,” said Yap.

He is of the view that the tourism industry is "being neglected again despite its contribution to the economy of the country and is being left to collapse".

"Malaysia will continue to lose competitiveness and also talent, and along with it, its capacity for recovery. With no clear direction and forward plans for the tourism industry, there is little hope of survival.”

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