MELAKA: Hoteliers here have been pushing for a mechanism to regulate short-term residential accommodations (STRA) for almost a decade, says the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH).
Melaka chapter chairman Khairulnizam Kasim said the issue was brought up in various meetings with the state government for many years but illegal STRA continued to mushroom, especially in stratified residential buildings.
"Illegal short-term rentals here have caused concern not only among the hotel industry but also legal ones registered with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry," he said in an interview on Monday (May 29).
Khairulnizam said the state government has to draw a line between residential strata properties and those who are allowed to have STRA.
"Presently, everything is mixed-up, even residential strata properties are being turned into unlicensed accommodations," he said.
Khairulnizam said the issue was raised in the state legislative assembly earlier this year but until now there were no enforcement efforts to monitor such accommodations.
"MAH is confident that current Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh will be able to resolve this long-standing issue," he said.
Khairulnizam said STRA operators also do not pay heritage and income taxes, and are not subject to other regulations set by the authorities for the safety of guests.
"It completely undermines the tourism industry," he said.
Meanwhile, an STRA operator here who wanted to be known as Johan said the authorities should help to register such premises.
He said STRA-like homestays offered at villages are different from those at stratified properties.
"Those in the villages boost tourism and the state government should look into helping us sustain the business," he said.
Johan said he and a group of STRA players attempted to register their premises but had to endure a lot of red tape before obtaining a licence.
Separately, Kota Laksamana assemblyman Low Chee Leong said he had received many complaints about short-term rentals at stratified residential properties.
He said some of these properties are meant for STRA and others are for residential purposes.
"I have heard grouses from residents over noisy guests, littering, and safety concerns as well as damage to the common properties," he said.