GEORGE TOWN, June 29 — A task force, formed by the Penang Executive Councillor’s Office for Tourism and Creative Economy and a coalition of tourism associations, has sent a formal request to the federal government seeking for vaccine supply in an effort to vaccinate employees in the tourism sector.
Task force committee member who is also the Penang Malaysian Association of Hotels chairman, Raj Kumar, said the formal vaccine request was sent to the Coordinating Minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin; Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
“Most, if not all, of us here (in the hotelier sector) have been waiting to be vaccinated so that we can ensure better safety and health security of our potential customers once we reopen our businesses.
“We are willing to pay for the administration fee for the vaccination process if it means allowing us to vaccinate our staff,” he told Bernama.
He hoped that hotels and other parts of the tourism sector in Penang could reopen their businesses and recover from the economic impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as the prolonged nationwide movement control order (MCO) had hit them badly.
Although Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced the National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (Pemulih) worth RM150 billion to aid the affected economic sectors, Raj said the group would not benefit much from the incentives.
“We hope that the federal government can recognise our need to not only ensure public health and safety in hotels knowing that the staff are vaccinated, but also the need to resume our operations so that we are able to gain revenue and pay our employees and taxes,” he added.
According to the Pemulih announced on June 28, the federal government has agreed to exempt tourism tax and service tax to hotel operators until year-end, as well as providing a three-month extension of electricity bill discounts of 10 per cent from October to December for hotel and theme park operators. — Bernama