In true hospitality fashion, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) has launched an initiative to distribute essentials and food supplies to those in the hotel industry who are in need.
The MAH Cares programme is allocating RM200,000 worth of food aid through the association’s state chapters. It is expected to benefit thousands of families who will be supplied with basic necessities and essential items.
MAH president Datuk N. Subramaniam said the programme is part of the association’s efforts to sustain those employed in the sector that has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“MAH recognises the needs of the industry and will continue to support its members and the industry directly and indirectly, as well as work closely with the government of the day in ensuring the survival of the tourism industry towards a strong recovery,” he said in a statement.
MAH estimates that approximately 120 hotels have closed down either temporarily or permanently, with the industry losing over RM6.5bil in revenues last year, and likely another RM9bil or more in 2021.
The current lockdown and travel restrictions will continue to impact the livelihoods of the Malaysian hotel industry’s workforce, said MAH.
A survey conducted by MAH earlier this year revealed that a huge majority of hospitality workers (63.13%) in Malaysia have been put on unpaid leave.
The study, which polled 320 hotels nationwide, revealed that many hotels have been forced to implement several cost-cutting measures to survive the pandemic and travel restrictions.
These include cutting workers’ salaries (44.6%), retrenching their workforce (14.06%), reducing employee benefits (34.69%) and assigning other duties to workers (73.75%).
The MAH Cares initiative, a partnership with Yeo Hiap Seng (Yeo’s) and Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, is expected to further highlight the plight of the local tourism and hotel industry.
“Our thoughts are with those affected by the unprecedented challenge, and it is important for us to support in ways that we can. More than ever before, we need to join hands as one community and care for each other to weather the challenge together,” said Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation director Daryl Ng.
In addition to MAH Cares, the association has also secured partnerships with various digital and tourism-related products and services to empower its members and the hotel industry.
Last year, it also set up a tourism recovery committee, comprising industry experts, to formulate strategies that would drive the recovery of the tourism sector.