Illegal rentals still mushrooming across M’sia, says group

MELAKA: Hoteliers here have been pushing for a mechanism to regulate short-term residential accommodations (STRA) for almost a decade but the unlicensed ones are still mushrooming, says Malaysian Hotel Association of Hotels.

Its Melaka chapter chairman Khairulnizam Kasim said the issue had been brought up at various meetings with the state government.

“Illegal short-term rentals have caused concern not only among those in the hotel industry but also the legal ones registered with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry,” he said in an interview.

He has called for the state government to distinguish between residential strata and those that are allowed to operate STRA.

“Everything is mixed-up now, even residential strata are being turned into unlicensed accommodations,” he added yesterday.

Khairulnizam said the issue of unlicensed STRA was raised in the state legislative assembly earlier this year but until now, no enforcement efforts were made to monitor this business.

The association hoped that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh would be able to resolve this long-standing issue, he said.

He also claimed that illegal STRA operators did not pay heritage and income taxes and are not subjected to other regulations set by the authorities on the safety of guests.A STRA operator, who only wished to be known as Johan, said the homestay business in villages could help to boost tourism.

“STRA-like homestays in the villages are different from those being run at strata properties.

“Those operating at strata properties serve as mere lodgings but ours play a part in promoting cultural-related activities,” he added.

Johan called on the authorities to cut the red tape and to help STRA operating in villages get a licence.

Kota Laksamana assemblyman Low Chee Leong said he had received many complaints about short-term rentals at strata residential properties.

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