The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) has urged the government to impose a full lockdown, instead of tighter movement restrictions, to effectively curb the spread of COVID-19 infections.
MAH noted that the hotel industry’s survival depends on Malaysia’s ability to control the spread of the virus, which would then enable the easing of travel restrictions, reported Free Malaysia Today (FMT).
It believes that limiting office capacity and business hours would only prolong the situation.
It revealed that Malaysia’s hotel industry has suffered RM5 billion in losses since January, which is worse compared to the RM6.53 billion loss registered for the whole of 2020.
MAH underscored that the industry registered an estimated loss of RM300 for every two weeks of the movement control order (MCO). With this, the association called the government to extend more assistance for hotels.
The Malaysian Budget and Business Hotel Association, on the other hand, accused the government of abandoning the industry during the third MCO regime.
“Many more measures can be taken into account to reduce our burden but the government has failed to implement anything,” said its President Emmy Suraya Hussein as quoted by FMT.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz explained why the government decided not to implement a full lockdown, saying it would cause more harm to the people.
According to him, a full shut down of the economy will see 2.8 million high-risk informal workers losing their source of income, while 1 million people would be left unemployed.
He added that 68% of businesses had no sales or revenue during the MCO last year, while 42.5% of businesses needed over six months to recover. Two out of three business also had outstanding debts within six months.
Tengku Zafrul’s explanation came after Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government has decided to implement stricter movement restrictions, instead of full lockdown, to protect the livelihoods of the people.