Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Sandakan closing down, workers laid off

In the letter dated May 27, Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan’s general manager David Scully informed the staff that the hotel had in the last few months been facing economic challenges due to a lack of demand for hotel services, noting that the hotel is unable to remain operating. — Picture from Facebook/Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan
In the letter dated May 27, Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan’s general manager David Scully informed the staff that the hotel had in the last few months been facing economic challenges due to a lack of demand for hotel services, noting that the hotel is unable to remain operating. — Picture from Facebook/Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — The Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan hotel in Sabah will be closing down and will be terminating the services of its employees by the end of this month, a letter by the hotel’s general manager to its staff showed.

In the letter dated May 27, Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan’s general manager David Scully informed the staff that the hotel had in the last few months been facing economic challenges due to a lack of demand for hotel services, noting that the hotel is unable to remain operating.

“The employer had taken early steps to find alternative methods to reduce the effect of business losses such as temporary suspension of work on employees, but this effort still burdened the company and resulted in the termination of employees due to the hotel’s closure.

“Therefore, we wish to inform you that your position in Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan will be terminated starting from May 31, 2020,” he wrote in the letter, adding that the work termination is not related to the employees’ individual performance.

The letter said employees would be contacted to schedule for meetings before the hotel closes down to brief them on termination benefits and the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) Employment Insurance System, adding that they would be paid for the remainder of their annual leave, work termination benefits and payment for notice of work termination in line with Sabah’s labour laws.

The hotel staff was also asked to return all hotel properties to the human resource department to avoid the withholding of wage payment, with the letter also thanking them for their service.

At the time of writing, the hotel’s official Facebook page did not carry any announcement of the closure. Local Chinese-language newspaper Sin Chew Daily said an employee at the hotel had confirmed receiving the letter yesterday.

Malay Mail has contacted the hotel operator to seek confirmation.

Even during the movement control order (MCO) period, Four Points by Sheraton had sought to help keep Sandakan residents’ spirits up, including its “Light Up For Hope” initiative announced on its Facebook page on April 9 by displaying patterns using its hotel room lights.

“From today onwards, watch our hotel light up with a smiling face and heart shape, a happy demeanor that radiates positivity and instills hope that richer, more fulfilling travel experiences are awaiting, and our hotel and associates will be here waiting to create new memorable moments for each of you.

“We are hopeful that we will come out of this together and stronger. Till then stay safe and stay healthy,” the hotel had written in the Facebook post then.

According to the hotel’s website, the 26-floor Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan is a four-star hotel with 290 rooms, nine suites and 10 meeting rooms.

The hotel was reportedly launched in 2012.

The tourism and hotel industry has been taking a severe beating due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions including the ban on foreigners’ entry into Malaysia, with several hotel operators announcing the closures of hotels throughout the country since late last month.

The hotels that were reported to be closing down are located in places such as Ipoh, Perak (Tower Regency Hotel and Apartments, Kinta Riverfront Hotel and Suites, Syuen Hotel, Travelodge Ipoh), Penang (Mercure Penang Beach, The Gurney Resort Hotel and Residences) , Melaka (Ramada Plaza Hotel) and also the GTower Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

The Hilton KL was also reported to have initiated a retention and retrenchment programme for its employees, which would also include unpaid leave options while some will be retrenched.

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