SOS: Five prominent hotels in Melaka expected to close down in May

Malaysian Association of Hotels' (MAH) Melaka chapter secretary Jason Bak.

MELAKA: Five well-known hotels in the historic city of Melaka are expected to shut down for good in May.

These hotels, some of which stretch back to the 1970s and 80s, have been badly hit by the drop in occupancy rates and revenue since the start of the year, said Malaysian Association of Hotels' (MAH) Melaka chapter secretary Jason Bak.

Their situation worsened in recent weeks owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and the movement control order imposed to contain the outbreak, he explained.

"To date, we know there are five but there could be more hotels shutting down in the next few months," he said on Saturday (April 4).

Bak said MAH was trying hard to find a solution to save the hotels and jobs.

"Melaka hotels have come forward as one entity to look for alternatives to garner support from financial institutions and the government to provide micro-financing or help to restructure existing loans," he said.

MAH, along with Melaka Tourism Association (MTA), Malaysian Association of Tours and Travel Agents Melaka (MATTA), Malaysia Hotel Budget Association Melaka (MYBHA), are calling upon the government to consider their plights in the wake of gloomy businesses.

In a joint statement, the tourism and hospitality industry players said the government should consider waiving taxes.

The group suggested that Heritage and Tourism taxes imposed on tourism players and hoteliers be waived from April to December, along with quit rents and assessment rates for two years.

They said the government should render assistance in ensuring the tourism and hospitality industries continue to survive while providing steady employment to locals.

MAH has 75 hotels under its umbrella, MYBHA has 160 hotels, MTA represents 97 companies involved in tourism-related products and MATTA has 88 tour companies as members.

Separately, a senior executive of a hotel here said his management had asked employees to go on unpaid leave through WhatsApp messages and emails.

The executive, who requested anonymity, said 95 employees were given the notice during movement control order (MCO) period.

"There was no prior discussion by the top management to inform on the decision to ask the employees to go on unpaid leave," he said, adding that they had brought up the matter to the relevant authorities through email correspondence due to the MCO.

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