Hoteliers urge govt to have border re-opening blueprint

The long road to recovery for businesses in the hospitality industry, including hotels, hinges on the country’s border re-opening roadmap plan.

Whether or not such a blueprint materialises remains a question mark.

Malaysian Association of Hotels chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said information on how the borders will be opened must trickle down to those in the industry to enable them to plan ahead.

“We have not heard anything yet from the government apart for the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) with Singapore,” he said.

Yap said a survey by the association in April and May this year showed that the average occupancy rate for Malaysian hotels was 55 per cent domestic and 45 per cent international travellers.

“Relying on domestic spending alone won’t be enough … the yield is just not there and we need international tourists,” he said.

Yap said the association had previously engaged with the government, including with representatives from the Foreign Affairs, Tourism and Transport ministries as well as the National Security Council and Economic Action Council, on a blueprint but there has been no news on the matter.

Drawing comparison with our Asean counterparts, including Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, Yap said Malaysia was “very far behind” in terms of how we plan to re-open our borders.

“Those in the industry need to know whether international tourists would need to buy special insurance or if sponsors and organisers need to place a special deposit for tourists to enter the country.”

Yap said it is estimated that some 90 hotels in the country have either temporarily or permanently ceased operations.

“We would love to do more (to sustain our business) but it is tricky. There are a lot of restrictions when it comes to organising events, including banquets and wedding receptions.

“The determining point is in March 2021. Once the wage subsidy programme ends and without any contingency plan, there could be more retrenchments and closures,” Yap said.

Here’s a round-up of The News Normal today.

DAP, AMANAH CALL FOR POLITICAL RESET

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu have called for a “political reset” to unite the Opposition ahead of the next general election.

They said the focus must now be on building a more united Opposition. The duo said Pakatan Harapan should not be wasting time on opportunistic backbenchers exploiting the coalition for their own benefit.

MALAYSIA’S DECISION ON PFIZER VACCINE BASED ON INTERIM CLINICAL REPORT

Malaysia’s decision to select the Covid-19 vaccine by pharmaceutical company Pfizer is based on an interim report of clinical trials of its effectiveness level, which is 95 per cent said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said negotiations for the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine will be conducted directly between the government and suppliers without the involvement third parties.

SHAHIDAN: ACT AGAINST BATU MP PRABAKARAN FOR ATTENDING PARLIAMENT

Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim called for Batu MP P. Prabakaran to be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee for allegedly violating the Home Surveillance Order when attending the Dewan Rakyat sitting last Thursday.

He said such conduct should not be taken lightly as it could endanger the safety and health of other MPs if Prabakaran tested positive for Covid-19.

Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said he would see whether Prabakaran could be referred to the committee.

ICONIC PENANG FERRY SERVICE TO CONTINUE

The traditional Penang ferry will remain in service, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

He said the Federal Government had approved an allocation of RM30 million for Penang Port Sdn Bhd to take over the ferry service.

Penang Port Commission had previously announced that the ferry service, which had been operating for 126 years, would be replaced by speedboats from Jan 1.

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