GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) today said it was not aware the government would only subsidise the stay of those under Covid-19 quarantine at a cost of RM150, as opposed to paying for the rooms in full.
This was after Defence Minister Ismail Sabri said the government would pay up to RM150 in subsidy per room for hotels which are three-star and below, while those wanting to stay at high-end hotels should “pay on their own”.
Those arriving on international flights at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine by the health department, where they will be sent to quarantine centres, including hotels designated for the purpose.
“That’s not what we were briefed,” the association’s CEO, Yap Lip Seng, said in an immediate response to Ismail’s statement.
Earlier, Yap said hotels which allowed themselves to be turned into quarantine stations had agreed to charge a “very low rate” which would be fully paid by the tourism, arts and culture ministry.
He said most hotels had agreed to a standard fee to be paid for boarding out of national interest and corporate social responsibility. He did not want to divulge the quantum of the rates.
“There shouldn’t be any complaints as all being quarantined are staying there for free, with meals provided,” he said.
On the issue of five-star hotels being part of the list, Yap said these luxury hotels were picked due to their sanitary levels by the health authorities.
He said as far as the hotels were concerned, those selected and sent to five-star hotels were picked at random, depending on time schedules.
“In the eyes of the authorities, the better the hotel is, the better it is for quarantine for a controlled environment. It also makes sanitation work easier,” he said.
Separately, Sabah Health Minister Frankie Poon said three hotels in Kota Kinabalu were unaware of who would foot the bills for those quarantined.
He said the three hotels were the Monaco Boutique Hotel, Ming Garden Hotel and Residences, and Pan Borneo Hotel.
Poon said his office was seeking a response from the national disaster management committee on the matter.
Meanwhile, Deputy Health Minister I Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said the selection of hotels was made by the tourism, arts and culture ministry and the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma).
He said the health ministry’s engineering division would carry out disinfection at these hotels, including cleaning of linens, while police, Rela and maritime officials would take care of security.
“As for food and beverages, that is coordinated by the welfare department … the hotel charges per day are between RM150 and RM200,” he said.
FMT has contacted tourism, arts and culture minister Nancy Shukri for comment.