SIBU: Looking for a cheap place to stay? There is plenty here.
For travellers to this town, it is not difficult to find down-to-earth price for accommodation. These are the illegal room-for-rent type of facility. As there is no action from the local authorities with regard to such accommodation, even homestay facilities are mushrooming in the town centre.
A check by Sarawak Metro confirmed such accommodation exists. The asking rate for some of there places are RM25 per night. At one place, for a non-air-conditioned room with four beds, the rate is even much cheaper at RM35 a night.
For some, the security is quite simple – a couple of staff manning the small reception area. At one place, the security, however, is so tight that one needs to call up the person-in-charge with the number first to book for a room.
The mushrooming of these types of accommodation has riled up Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association.
Its chairman, Johnny Wong, said he had brought up the matter to the local authorities concerned many times already but until now no action had been taken.
“All these entities are illegal as they do not have a licence to operate. With no action taken, more and more are coming up now,” he lamented.
Asked on their number in this town, he said there were between 20 and 30 of them now.
Wong said though the council dod not have any by-laws to check on such business, they should at least prevent new ones from being set up.
“Before any renovation work is done on a shophouse for such accommodation, the council should see to it whether they have the permit to do such work.
“If not, they should immediately issue a stop-work letter to them,” he suggested.
Likewise, the Fire and Rescue Department, he said, could come in also by checking whether these premises met their requirement like having two staircases, including fire-fighting facilities.
Wong said since the council had no power to act against these types of accommodation, it could nevertheless issue them with a licence provided that their business was properly set up.
As it is illegal now, they could be tarnishing the good image of the association if untoward incidents happen.
“As they are illegal, no insurance company wants to insure their business. In case of fire, who is going to answer for it?” he asked.
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