GEORGE TOWN, May 9 — Tourism industry players in Penang are bracing for the impact from the third Movement Control Order (MCO 3.0) which starts tomorrow, expecting substantial damages and losses.

The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang branch chairman Raj Kumar said the upcoming two weeks of MCO 3.0 would severely affect some 6,000 employees in the state’s hotel industry.

“Many hotel owners are running low on cash and find it difficult to pay their staff. I would not be surprised if more hotels in Penang shuts down, whether temporarily or permanently in the next two weeks,” he told Bernama.

He hopes that the Federal government would carefully and strictly undertake the necessary measures, not only to ensure public health safety and security against COVID-19, but also the survivability of hoteliers during the MCO period.

Meanwhile, operators of tourism attractions in Penang have also been put in a tough spot since the ban on interstate travels remains.

The Association of Tourism Attractions Penang (ATAP) chairman Ch’ng Huck Theng is concerned that some of the members might not be able to survive until year-end if the MCO continues.

He said the various versions of MCO saw some of its members that were running smaller attractions having to shut down, and noted that even the bigger ones are struggling to hold down the fort right now.

Ch’ng said pre-COVID-19, ATAP members employed more than 10,000 employees and managed to garner a cumulative net revenue of RM1 billion.

“While I understand that the MCO is necessary, we hope that the Federal government would ensure that this would be the last.

“This is the time for us to truly learn from our mistakes and unite to bring back hope to us all,” he added.

Yesterday, Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that three districts and three sub-districts in Penang will be placed under the MCO from May 10- 23.

The areas are the Timur Laut, Seberang Perai Tengah and Seberang Perai Selatan districts; Mukim 12, Barat Daya; Butterworth city; as well as Mukim 14, Seberang Perai Utara.


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