Full-time employment is still on hold as the situation is uncertain, says industry player
by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / Pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE reopening of hotels, crossborder travels and the year-end holiday period are allowing hotels to make up for lost businesses and provide job opportunities.
However, the Malaysian Association of Hotels CEO Yap Lip Seng said at the moment, hotels are taking in mainly contract and part-time workers to cope with the peak holiday period.
“Full-time employment is still on hold as the situation is uncertain,” he told The Malaysian Reserve recently.
To date, the hotel industry alone has seen approximately 90 hotels closing, either permanently or temporarily — affecting over 7,000 employees industry wide.
Over 12,000 were retrenched, while others are either on a pay cut or unpaid leave, risking more tourism revenue which would lead to more cost for rebuilding.
Previously, it was reported that players in the hotel industry have had to let go of the workers due to the lowered capacity and to improve their cashflow.
According to the Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, a total of 204 tourism and hotel operators were reported to have closed their businesses since March because of the enforcement of the Movement Control Order throughout the year.
As of Nov 23, it was said that the number comprised 109 entities in the hotel sector which included hotels, resorts, motels, homestays and chalets, while 95 others were tourism agencies and activities operators.
The ministry said it would hold discussions with other government agencies and related associations to identify issues and find solutions, and has so far approved new licence applications from 135 tourism companies and operators.
The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) deputy president Mohd Akil Mohd Yusof said due to the easing of interstate travel ban, tour operators are starting to return and open their offices again.
“However, some are still not operating as bookings can still be made in more than one way, such as directly to hotels, airlines, mobile apps and such.
“This is discouraging travel agents from going back to work as they are not making enough from this lift,” he said.
Responding to the recently announced National Tourism Policy 2020-2030 by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Yap said the policy would have to be accepted and empowered across various ministries and agencies, and not “just another project paper” for Motac.
“Motac must be given sufficient autonomy to ensure the objectives under the policy are achieved within the set time frame.
“The tourism industry is a complicated sector which involves various stakeholders, both public and private, and very often overlapping jurisdiction with other government agencies with conflicting priorities,” he said.
He said the policy must be upheld for it to be relevant, and a clear example is the need to drive international arrivals versus immigration controls.
“The government must realise that the relaxation of immigration restrictions such as visa requirements plays a major role in driving tourist arrivals while immigration concerns are valid too, which should be a matter of enforcement and not upfront restrictions,” he said.
Among other concerns expressed by stakeholders is the risk of over-committee, such as having an excessive number of committees and subcommittees or councils to discuss matters with little action taken.
Matta president Datuk Tan Kok Liang noted that one of the key areas yet to be addressed is governance transformation, where legitimate local tourism stakeholders have been disadvantaged for years.