Include hotels under essential services, Matta tells govt

Many tourists will be affected by the government’s restricted movement order, says Matta.

GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has urged the government to include hotels under essential services, saying it would create chaos to usher guests out before the restricted movement order kicks in tomorrow.

It also said foreigners staying at hotels would be forced to leave, adding that they would have no where to go given the travel ban which will take effect as well.

“Some (foreigners) are long-staying guests at the hotel, including rich retirees and expatriates working here. It is insufficient to bar the entry of tourists without having to repatriate those already in the country,” Matta president Tan Kok Liang said in a statement.

“If these hotels cease operations until the end of the month, but guests are asked to check out by noon today, how are they going to fend for themselves?

“We can’t expect a guest to head to the airport right after checking out, as easily as taking a train home after work.”

Tan also said hotels should be allowed to stay open as they are essential to transient workers such as those in the oil and gas, shipping and airline industries.

Last night, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced a ban on mass gatherings for religious, sports, social and cultural activities as well as the closure of schools, government and business premises from tomorrow until the end of the month.

However, essential services such as supermarkets, public markets, sundry shops, mini markets and outlets related to food supply will remain open.