Total lockdown, aid for biz a must: MAH

by LYDIA NATHAN

A complete lockdown is absolutely necessary to break the spread of the ever-increasing cases of Covid-19 in the country, but government must support the businesses throughout the period.

The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) CEO Yap Lip Seng said it is the only way to ensure the long-term survival of industries, including the hotel and tourism industry.

He said businesses that are unable to cope with operations and payrolls should be given leeway on statutory payments during the lockdown, to protect jobs of the people.

“The government must also do its best in ensuring businesses are supported throughout the period. Enhancement to the wage subsidy program is long overdue, and banks must play their part too by giving automatic full moratorium at zero interest to assist the government in ensuring the survival of businesses. Banks collectively declared billions of net profit for year 2020 as well as the first quarter of 2021,” he said.

Additionally Yap said he hopes the standard operating procedures (SOP) should be announced with considerations for all industries which in turn will help with the recovery process later on.

“For hotels, the industry needs to be classified as essential services as it is currently playing a major role for quarantine as well as for the general public opting for self-isolation after potential exposure, to protect family members especially those in the high risk category.

Personnel of essential services is also dependent on hotels to provide temporary accommodation,” he said.

Meanwhile Yap said now is a good time for the government to take advantage of this lockdown to conduct mass testing and isolate anyone that is infected to break the chain of the community spread.

“The country can move towards the second and third phase of the lockdown soonest possible. Hotels are ready to receive and support the need of low-risk treatment and for quarantine purposes.”

“And above all, the industry is thrilled on the news of the incoming supply of vaccines, as hotels worked with the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) in registering over 35,000 names of those within the industry. Hoteliers are hopeful as economic frontliners that their employees will be included in the upcoming schedule, and are open to exploring means and options to support CITF in ramping up of vaccination,” Yap concluded.