Three weeks ago, the hotel industry in Malaysia was preparing for better days ahead.
Some were hoping to cash in on Ramadan buffets, albeit on a smaller scale to the pre-Covid-19 era.
However, the rising number of Covid-19 cases has ruined their plans.
The uncertainty of the pandemic could also disrupt the recently launched Malaysia Business Events Strategic Marketing Plan (SMP) 2021-2030.
“The SMP is a good, workable plan,” said Impiana KLCC Hotel general manager David Xavier.
“But the new (Covid-19) variants and the rising number of cases put a spanner in the works.”
Impiana KLCC Hotel is a 519-room four-star hotel just a stone’s throw away from the Petronas Twin Towers.
It was once a bustling hotel that attracted business travellers and tourists. Today, as borders and travel remain restricted, it has transformed into a quarantine station.
Xavier, however, seems comfortable that the hotel has taken up this new role. He said the hotel would remain a quarantine station for travellers entering Malaysia until the end of the year.
“There was a perception problem about hotels being turned into quarantine stations in the early days, but people now understand the difference between a hotel that houses travellers entering the country and a centre that has Covid-19 positive individuals.
“We may even extend it to the following year if there’s a demand and request to do so,” he said.
He said such a business model was sustainable as the hotel could still retain its 200-odd staff and maintain the building and its facilities.
Xavier said he and his peers from other hotels had observed other key positives in managing their hotels and guests’ expectations.
He added these “new norms” are key to the industry’s survival in the long run.
“This pandemic has taught many of us to pull back on wastage. In the past, hotels would have lavish, imported flowers all over but we then realised we could use what we have within our premises. The impact is the same, if not better.
“When we stopped serving buffets and introduced assisted buffets, we saw a significant reduction in wastage. That was another positive factor.
“Guests have become more cautious. No one is rushing for the food, no one is stacking up food on their plates. These are things observed by my peers at other hotels too.”
He added the pandemic had forced industry players to press the reset button.
“The pandemic changed the way we see things. We now look at ways to be more efficient.”
Here’s a round-up of The News Normal today.
GRAFT BUSTERS NABBED OVER LINKS WITH NICKY LIOW
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki has confirmed the arrest of two of his officers suspected of being involved with fugitive Nicky Liow Soon Hee.
Liow, who is on the police most wanted list, is the alleged ringleader of the Macau scam syndicate.
The 33-year-old founder of Winner Dynasty Group Sdn Bhd has a dozen cases on his criminal record, including drugs and assault.
FOLLOW GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES WHEN ISSUING COMPOUNDS, SAYS TAKIYUDDIN
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Parliament) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said compound notices issued for offences under the movement control order must be based on government guidelines.
He said this following the backlash after a burger stall operator in Kelantan was slapped with an RM50,000 compound fine for allegedly operating past permitted hours.
Takiyuddin said that according to the guidelines, licence holders or owners of premises who fail to abide by the opening times under the MCO are guilty of a Category 3 offence and can only be fined up to RM10,000.
Offenders are also entitled to a reduction by as much as 50 per cent if they pay the compound within seven days and up to 25 per cent if payment is made within 14 days.
PALM OIL, RUBBER SMALLHOLDERS TO GET RM189M IN DIVIDENDS
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced today that the Rural Development Ministry would assist in the distribution of dividends of RM189.08 million through the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) and Felcra Bhd.
Of the amount, RM82.03 million is the 2020 dividend from Risda, while RM107.05 million is the final income payout from additional profit from projects in 2020.
Muhyiddin said the dividends would benefit more than 90,000 participants.
Meanwhile, Putrajaya has set aside RM69.9 million as part of its Monsoon Aid for the wellbeing of rubber smallholders and tappers in the country.
Muhyiddin said the aid would benefit 232,319 rubber smallholders and tappers who would receive RM600 each in two instalments – December 2021 and January 2022.
EXPEDITE DELIVERY OF LAPTOPS BEFORE ONLINE LEARNING RESUMES, SAYS PH
Pakatan Harapan’s education committee has called on the government to live up to its promise to deliver 150,000 laptops to students under Budget 2021.
The committee, headed by former education minister Maszlee Malik, said the laptops are essential as the government yesterday decided to implement online learning after the Hari Raya holidays.
States with Friday-Saturday weekends will implement the online classes from May 16-27, while states whose weekends are Saturday-Sunday, will start online classes from May 17-28.
The committee also urged the government to provide incentives to teachers to buy data and teaching aids.
SEA GAMES CAN HOST DIPLOMATIC TALKS ON MYANMAR JUNTA SAGA
Southeast Asian leaders dished out optimistic statements, claiming the Asean Leaders’ Meeting last Saturday had succeeded in addressing the Myanmar crisis.
However, regional observers were not overly excited as they believe more action needs to be seen to convince the people in Myanmar that democracy will be restored after the military overthrew the government in February.
The talks could prolong. If that happens, the year-end SEA Games could serve as an avenue for more diplomatic discussions on the saga.