Use financial aid to help people with wages, interest-free loans, rental, utility subsidies – Guan Eng

Retail outlets at a leading shopping mall closed during the MCO period. The financial aid injection agreed to by the Government and Pakatan Harapan can be used to alleviate the sufferings of the people, and recover badly affected businesses, says DAP Sec Gen Lim Guan Eng.

PENANG, Sept 17 – From the RM45 billion financial aid injection in the PH-Government MoU, help can be channelled to double the wage subsidy programme for all workers, offer interest-free bank loan moratorium, business grants, rental and utility subsidies, says DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng.

This will be a start and while arguments can be there on the quantum to be given, the problem is if none is offered, none can be expected to survive, he said.

“The Hotel Royal Penang is the latest renowned hotel in Penang to shut down following the closure of the 5-star Hotel Equatorial and Holiday Inn Resort, due to the failure of the Federal government to save the tourism and hospitality industry following the COVID-19 imposed total lockdowns,” Guan Eng said in a statement today.

The 276-roomed four-star business hotel is expected to be closed by November putting hundreds of employees out of job.

Guan Eng quoted Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Yap Lip Seng saying that the hospitality industry has lost over RM11.3 billion with over 120 hotels closed down.

The MAH June report showed that the industry achieved an average daily rate (ADR) of RM190 and an average occupancy rate (AOR) of 32 percent in 2020. ADR for 2021 is projected to be in the RM180-to-RM190 range, whereas AOR is expected to be far worse than last year, at 23 percent.

“This is a frightening prospect when the tourism industry lost RM100 billion last year,” said Guan Eng.

The PN government’s eight economic stimulus packages amounting to RM530 billion failed the tourism industry with not only much needed financial grants missing but also the Tourism Minister’s inability to help them survive the RM100 billion losses last year. Offering loans and tax deductions or rebates are meaningless when there is no revenue or business available.

With the RM45 billion cash injection advocated by PH and agreed to by the Federal government in the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Transformation and Stability, the Finance Ministry should be able to provide much needed financial aid.

The tourism industry is too important to ignore or abandon without any concerted financial assistance, the Bagan Member Parliament.

According to the Department of Statistics, the Gross Value Added of Tourism Industries (GVATI) in 2019 recorded a contribution of 15.9 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) amounting to RM240 billion.