Penang guest rooms assigned late due to labour dilemma, says Malaysian Association of Hotels state chief

An aerial view of Gurney Drive from Komtar in George Town, Penang September 7, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
An aerial view of Gurney Drive from Komtar in George Town, Penang September 7, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, Nov 7 — The reason hotel guests are being assigned their rooms late — especially in Penang’s tourist hotspots — is the shortage of workers for dangerous, dirty and difficult (3D) jobs.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang chapter chairman, K. Raj Kumar, said that due to the impact of the almost two-year-long pandemic on the hospitality sector, many had sought employment elsewhere.

“Right now, we are in critical need of 3D workers for room cleaning because the locals aren’t willing to do housekeeping jobs.

“In fact, based on information received, a lot of hotels are experiencing a labour shortage because many people are working in the manufacturing sector.

“We reckon every hotel is experiencing a 3D worker shortage of 30 — 40 per cent.

“That’s the reason many visitors here experienced a long delay in receiving a room after check-in,” he explained today after several guests complained on social media about waiting till the evening to be assigned a room.

Raj Kumar said the problem became acute after travel restrictions were lifted and people were coming in all at once.

The other reason is the lack of foreign workers because they are now in other sectors.

“Right now agents can’t supply extra workers because they are in the manufacturing and plantations sectors mainly.

“It is among the reasons hotels are short-staffed. Before, many hotels got their extra foreign labour through agents,” he said.

To overcome this problem, most hotels have reduced their occupancy rate.

“For example, if they have 100 guest rooms, just 70 are open for booking. This is what a lot of hotels are doing at the moment to prevent issues like guests being assigned their room late,” said Raj Kumar. — Bernama

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