Extend loan moratorium to tourism industry, urges Matta

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents says many tourism players have been deprived of income since March.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has urged the government to extend the loan moratorium by a further six months for the tourism industry which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said the tourism industry was a significant job provider and important economic contributor to the country, and would take longer to recover from the Covid-19 crisis than other sectors.

In a statement, Matta noted that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had said on July 6 that the tourism industry would need four years to recover.

“Many tourism players have been deprived of income since March. Against a backdrop of recession and unemployment, being wholly dependent on domestic tourism will not be sufficient to sustain related businesses and individuals working in this industry,” said MATTA president Tan Kok Liang.

He said industry players were unable to service their loans because of regulatory constraints and weak demand.

Tan said individual borrowers working in the hospitality and tourism industry should also be given a six-month moratorium extension as many had taken pay cuts, unpaid leave or had been retrenched.

“Many do not have the ability to repay their loans under current pressing circumstances, and the rate of unemployment is rapidly increasing,” he said.

The tourism, arts and culture ministry had estimated the losses suffered by industry at RM45 billion. It said about one million workers in the industry in Malaysia were expected to lose their jobs this year.

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