Monday, November 18

Budget hotel rooms in Central Region now dearer

Johnny Wong Sie Lee

Johnny Wong Sie Lee

SIBU: A number of budget hotels have been forced to increase room rates by 20 per cent to stay afloat after implementation of the minimum wage policy.

Sarawak Central Region Hotels Association chairman Johnny Wong Sie Lee told reporters yesterday that their members in Kapit and Mukah had revised their rates upward.

“However, in Sarikei, only a few members have increased their room rates, whereas for Sibu I believe members here will soon follow suit.

“With the implementation of the new policy, hotels with more than five employees are compelled to fork out an extra RM2,000 due to higher wages.”

Wong said smaller hotels were hard hit as they were already grappling with dwindling occupancy rate due to sluggish business.

He said this was among the issues raised and discussed during their committee meeting last week.

In the wake of higher operational cost, he reminded members not to undercut each other to stay afloat.

“That (undercutting) could only spell trouble and hurt the industry as it is not a healthy form of competition.”

Instead, he suggested, members should provide better services to their clients to ensure better business.

He reminded members with more than five workers to abide by the policy to avoid being nabbed.

Under the minimum wage policy, workers in Peninsular Malaysia earns a minimum of RM900 per month while those in Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan RM800.

Wong said: “Those with fewer than five workers would need to adjust their workers’ salaries starting July 1.”

He also said they would bring their suggestion for the standardisation of room size with the local authority because the specification from the Ministry of Tourism differed from that of the local authority.

“We also planned to pay a courtesy call on Sibu Municipal Council chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King to voice our concern over the mushrooming of room-for-rent which had badly affected our business.”

Wong appealed to those who are also members of Public Performance Malaysia (PPM) to make payments to the body regularly.

Members who need assistance on this matter can contact him at 019 887 2187 or secretary Tony Hii (019 886 8735).