Allocations Not Enough More Retrenchments Likely Says Sabah Tourist Association
Sabah Tourist Association chairman Tonny Chew says more needs to be done for the industry which has been ravaged by Covid-19.KOTA KINABALU: A tourism association has called on Putrajaya to review the “insufficient” budget allocations for the sector to help the industry which has been decimated by Covid-19.
Speaking to FMT, Sabah Tourist Association (STA) chairman Tonny Chew said they were disappointed with the budget, saying the wage subsidy programme and the targeted loan moratorium were insufficient to help industry players.
“I expect many tour agencies to retrench their workers in large numbers early next year after the wage subsidy programme ends.
“This is because their cash flow will be badly affected, limiting their ability to repay loans and pay salaries,” he said, adding the government needed to review its budget allocations for the industry before the situation worsened.
Chew said the government should look for other ways to help industry players, including opening up new opportunities or encouraging them to explore other businesses.
Jafry Ariffin.Hoiwever, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Jafry Ariffin welcomed the allocations for the industry, describing them as “realistic” given the present situation.
He said this includes the special RM1,000 grant for traders in Sabah affected by the drop in tourist arrivals.
“The special grant which will also be given to taxi and e-hailing drivers, hired cars and tour guides is surely good news for them after having lost their incomes since the movement control order (MCO) began in March,” he said.
Jafry also said he was happy with the RM50 million allocation to repair tourism infrastructure nationwide with many attractions in Sabah requiring improvements as they were old.
‘Extend loan moratorium, wage subsidy programme’
The Malaysia Budget Hotel Association also expressed disappointment over the budget, saying Putrajaya failed to address the need to sustain the tourism and hotel sectors beyond the three-month extension of the wage subsidy programme.
Its president, Emmy Suraya Hussein, urged the government to automatically extend the loan moratorium and wage subsidy programme until June next year for the industry.
She warned that failure to help sustain the industry could lead to many employees losing their jobs and industry players shutting down their operations.
“This industry has been badly affected and will be the last to recover. We also hope that the government can provide more tax reliefs for the industry and domestic tourists who will boost the industry,” she said in a statement today. - FMT
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