Sunday, June 16

Room rates in Sibu to stay despite higher operating cost

Johnny Wong Sie Lee

Johnny Wong Sie Lee

SIBU: Hoteliers here are keeping a lid on their room rates, despite soaring operational costs as any increment could be counter productive to their business.

Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong Sie Lee was asked if he anticipated any increase in room rates, come the implementation of the revised minimum wage taking effect this July 1.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in tabling Budget 2016 in October last year, announced that the minimum wage rates had been fixed at RM1,000 (from RM900) in Peninsular Malaysia and RM920 (from RM800) in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan across all sectors, except domestic services or domestic maids.

On this, Wong remarked: “So far, no members have proposed (on the revision of room rates) yet, but most likely not as business is already slow due to lack of tourists.

“Hence, any increase in room rates will hurt us further. We have been hard hit by illegal hotels such as the ‘room-for-rent’ units.”

Nevertheless, he did not deny the implementation of the revised minimum wage next month would increase their already ballooning operational costs.

Asked if their members had any difficulty in following the revised minimum wage, Wong said he had yet to receive any feedback.

“Furthermore, we have not received anything from the relevant authority on the matter so far. But, if necessary, we hope the authority concerned could give us some time to comply.”

On a different matter, Wong praised Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) for its efforts in tackling illegal hotels.

He hoped that other relevant authorities would also exercise greater enforcement to prevent the sprouting of illegal hotels here.

He was concerned over the safety of guests staying in unlicensed hotels as their (hotel operators’) level of safety compliance had not been determined.

On a more positive note, Wong looked forward to better business next year in view of ‘Visit Sibu Year 2017’ campaign.