Hotel industry in Malaysia continues to suffer, 15 percent may close down

By Poovenraj Kanagaraj

In a survey taken out by the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), approximately 15 percent of hotels in the country may have to shut down their operations due to the ongoing pandemic.

50 percent of the respondents have considered halting operations while 35 percent are considering a temporary stop to operations for the time being.

According to a news report by the News Straits Times, MAH chief executive officer, Yap Lip Seng was quoted saying several hotel operators have chosen to remain closed until year end while some decided operations would resume after a vaccine was found.

While hotel services are part of the essential services that are allowed to operate, new regulations amid the outbreak only allow hotels to accept new guests and to provide services those who had checked in prior to the start of the Movement Control Order.

Further adding to the ongoing impact to the industry, oversupply of hotel rooms coupled with unregulated and uncontrolled homes turned into tourist accommodation has posed another form of challenge as well.

Hotels in Ipoh for instance that have been facing prior cash flow problems have been forced to closed down as events and rooms booked prior to the MCO had to be cancelled.

The Malaysian Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA) on the other hand has also urged Putrajaya to draft an act to protect hotel owners and operators from further impact. The ongoing outbreak has listed the industry as a high-risk industry in the eyes of banks and financial institutions.

Property owners are claimed to be taking advantage of the pandemic as several are reluctant to allow waivers and rental discounts.

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