Tourism Sector Let Down Again Says Sabah Group
The Sabah Tourist Association says the government should review the Permai package to help industry players in the state. (Bernama pic)PETALING JAYA: The RM15 billion Permai package announced by the prime minister yesterday does nothing to help the Sabah tourism industry players, says a disappointed Sabah Tourist Association (STA).
STA president Tonny Chew said this disappointment was a familiar one as they felt the same way after the 2021 budget was tabled. He added that he hoped Putrajaya would review the package as the situation for the tourism sector in Sabah was getting worse.
“Once again, we’re disappointed with the package as tourism industry players aren’t given any priority in assistance.
“The Permai package only offers 10% discounts for electricity bills and this impact is not big, as many companies have either been working from home or have temporarily halted operations,” he told FMT.
Chew said the industry’s burdens were not electric bills but the lack of business due to the pandemic since the start of 2020.
While firms have tried to be patient and tough it out for the past year, he said, the lack of cash flow has led to numerous companies going bankrupt as they were unable to cope with their monthly expenses.
“We ask the prime minister to reconsider channelling more aid to the tourism industry so companies do not remain paralysed.
“If something isn’t done, it would also affect workers who will have to be retrenched due to the challenging and uncertain climate,” he added
In announcing the Permai package yesterday, Muhyiddin Yassin said a special 10% discount on electricity bills will be given from January to March to six specific business sectors.
These sectors are hotel operators, theme parks, convention centres, shopping malls, local airline offices and travel/tour agencies.
Some 14,000 tour guides and 118,000 taxi, school bus, tour bus, e-hailing and rental vehicle drivers are also set to receive a one-off financial aid of RM500.
The Malaysian Association of Hotels had also expressed its disappointment over the package, saying hotels were looking forward to more direct assistance, such as higher wage subsidies, higher electricity, and discounts on water and assessment rates.
The Budget Hotel Association also said the package was insufficient, calling for a higher wage subsidy for each employee and for an automatic loan moratorium extension. - FMT
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