Hoteliers have sustained, thanks to govt’s help

Abdul Karim (left) with the ministry's permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee at the press conference.

KUCHING: The state government’s move to use hotels in Sarawak as quarantine centres has helped hotel operators not to close down amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Hamzah.

“Our approach in helping the hoteliers is different from other states in Malaysia. The method we use is a form of support for the operators and as a basis for them to survive the pandemic which has lasted for a year and a half.

“As a result, we are able to sustain the hotel industry unlike other states. Thus far, I haven’t heard of any hotels in the state closing down, however, if there are, I would like to know whether it is due to the pandemic or other reasons.

“Nonetheless, to my knowledge, there is a bulk of hotels in Peninsular Malaysia which had to close down due to the pandemic,” he told a press conference after officiating at the launch of DayakDaily’s D’Drift 2021 at its office yesterday (Oct 12).

Commenting further on the matter, Abdul Karim said that initially, some hoteliers in the state refused to use their hotels as quarantine centres as they assumed those who were put under quarantine after being flown in from outside Sarawak were positive cases.

“Little did they know 99 percent of those who were put under quarantine were not positive cases. Later, hoteliers who did not participate in our initiative started to call us, asking to be part of the programme,” he added.

Abdul Karim said that the state had also helped the others in the tourism industry such as tour guides, boat owners, and many more through the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS).

“These groups were provided with so much assistance from BKSS 1.0 to BKSS 7.0. The assistance provided by the state government might not help them in total but at the very least, it could reduce their burden,” he added.