Penang tourism players seek improvements on Penjana tourism financing facility

File picture of tourists in George Town, Penang. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
File picture of tourists in George Town, Penang. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, June 29 — While the tourism industry has applauded the Federal Government’s National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana), the Penang tourism fraternity have offered feedback in the hope of securing further aid for key industry players.

Chairman of Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang Chapter Khoo Boo Lim said a meeting was held between the whole MAH, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to discuss the proposals in the Penjana Tourism Financing (PTF) facility, valued at RM1 billion.

He said while some of the proposals introduced in the PTF facility were valid, there was still room for tweaks and improvements.

“One significant feedback was on employees (in hotels), which is one of the key issues we seek the federal government to help us with.

“If the hotels are not able to maintain the employees then we have to let them go, which would then cause an increase in the unemployment market,” he said in a press conference here today.

Khoo also hoped the Federal government could further elaborate on PTF facility’s mechanism and how businesses could be involved in the initiative.

Meanwhile, Association of Tourism Attraction Penang (ATAP) chairman Ch’ng Huck Theng hoped the Federal government could also introduce grants or other forms of incentives in the PTF facility to assist industry players in the tourism sector.

“With more loans received, there will be more stress (for businesses) to pay back the loan, especially when the tourism sector has been badly impacted by this crisis,” he said.

He also suggested that the Federal government seek more potential sources of revenues, especially when the borders are gradually lifted in a safe and healthy manner.

“Without the foreigners coming in (to Malaysia), we are now solely surviving on domestic tourism. But luckily for us, there are signs of good recovery (for the tourism industry),” he added.

On June 5, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled the RM1 billion Penjana Tourism Financing facility for financing transformation initiatives by SMEs in the tourism industry. — Bernama

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