SMC urged to act against illegal hotels

SIBU: It’s better late than never. That was the response from Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong on Sibu Municipal Council’s (SMC) intended action to wipe out illegal hotels in town.

SMC chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King (said at the council meeting on Wednesday that they would soon embark on a drive to close down illegal hotels, including illegal entertainment centres and eating outlets, in view of the Visit Sibu Year 2016.

Wong in response told Sarawak Metro yesterday that “I am very happy that Tiong has finally announced he would take action. We have long been waiting for his action.”

He, however, fervently hoped the council would live it up to its promise and not just said it.

“There is a Chinese saying that ‘You can hear a person walking down the stairs but you see nobody in the end’. By this it means that you said it but don’t do it. Whatever that he has mentioned he should immediately do it as the situation here is already quite bad,” he explained.

Wong had every reason to say that as he said over the years no action from the council had resulted in the mushrooming of such illegal accommodation.

The SMC, he said, must put a stop to illegal hotels as they were not properly set up and they would create a bad image for the town if any untoward incident happened.

He revealed that 15 new illegal hotels had just opened for business while there were between 30 and 40 illegal room-for-rent type of accommodation in town now.

Wong also wanted the council to be on lookout for illegal renovation of shophouses and not wait until the renovation had been completed before taking action.

A cafe operator said illegal food outlets, which were operating from their homes, were killing the business of the legal ones.

“They are taking away business from us. Moreover, we have to pay rental, license fee and other bills which they do not have to,” he fumed.

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