PETALING JAYA: The hotel sector, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, is urging the government to regulate home-sharing businesses, such as airbnb, as soon as possible.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng(pic below) said home-sharing businesses in Malaysia operated differently compared with other countries that have imposed regulations on it.
“In Malaysia, home sharing operates freely, benefiting the high income earners who can afford a second or third home. Renting out an empty accommodation is purely a tourist accommodation rental business, not home-sharing.
“Other than displacing locals from major cities, the business model also causes inflation and increased rental rates, while being a major leakage for tourism that is not being reinvested back into improving and sustaining the industry, ” he said in a note.
Yap said airbnb last reported over 53,000 listings in Malaysia, adding that this would further hamper recovery of the legitimate hotel industry. “The government must place priority on tax-paying businesses that supports employment of locals, especially at times like this. Home-sharing must be stopped to allow tourism to recover.”
Malaysia Budget Hotel Association national deputy president Sri Ganesh Michiel said the association is proposing to the state government to strictly ban and stop all unlicensed accommodation providers such as home-sharing and online apps that promoted and sold unlicensed accommodations.
“These have reduced the income of the hotel sector, as an unlicensed business is easier and cheaper rather than operating the accommodation premise legally.”
Yap said MAH is urging the government to relook into the level of corporate taxes, as affected companies would likely report losses for year 2020. “A proactive initiative from the government in the form of a waiver, relief or incentive would send positivity to the industry.
“The government also needs to consider a higher personal income tax relief for year 2020 assessment and to instruct temporary exemption on Potongan Cukai Bulanan deductions, to ease the burden of individuals.”
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