Partial Lockdown Bold And Timely But Needs Clarification For Tourists Caught In Transition, Says MATTA

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 March 2020 – The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) welcomes the announcement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that a movement control order will be imposed from tomorrow until the end of the month to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang says “Although it was a bold and decisive move by the government, industry players are concerned that some hotels are closing down as their operations are not listed under essential services. But if these hotels cease operations until month end and guests are asked to check out by noon today, how are they going to fend for themselves? Guest cannot be expected to proceed to the airport and catch the next flight home as easily as commuters taking a train home after work.”

“If hotels are not classified as essential service under existing laws, then exceptions should be made. It would be problematic to kick out foreign tourists that we have welcomed with open arms earlier. Also, some are long staying guests at hotels, and they include rich retirees and expatriates working here. It is sufficient to bar entry of tourists without having to repatriate those already in the country. We also have to bear in mind that hotels are needed by transient workers such as oil and gas, shipping and airline crews.”

“In our media statement yesterday, we stated that “The lockdown should provide sufficient notice and be clearly spelt out and not perceived as 24-hour curfew, which will result in panic buying and hoarding. Also, mechanisms must be in place to prevent or reduce unnecessary hardships to the rakyat as well as remaining tourists still holidaying in Malaysia.”

“These measures are clearly lacking and also Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) should have been prepared and released immediately after the announcement to clear confusion.Most importantly, another announcement must be made immediately that hotels should not be closed, and no guests be ejected, as food, clothing and shelter are basic needs. Foreign tourists already in Malaysia should be allowed to complete their tours. At the point of the press release, in-house tour groups are getting panicky due to lack of clarification. Also, as the aviation industry is considered as essential services, business premises providing air ticketing services should be allowed to operate with reduced manpower”, concluded Tan

President MATTA
Term 2019 – 2021

For further information, contact:
MATTA Communications Department, or 03-9222 1155