by Kevin Chong
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YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Mahiaddin, Prime Minister of Malaysia – Photo Credit: Sinar Plus

The Malaysian Association of Theme Park & Family Attractions (MATFA) is once again requesting that YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Mahiaddin, Prime Minister of Malaysia allow the tourism industry to operate in Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan along with shopping malls, resorts, and hotels. 

The National Recovery Plan aims for the tourism industry to be open for business in October 2021 at the earliest; MAFTA says that the timeline will only do more damage to them and some might not even recover from the prolonged closures. If not the entire industry, the association asks to allow core businesses such as theme parks, attractions, playlands, spas, cinemas, and family entertainment centers to operate at the very least. 

Being the third biggest contributor to Malaysia’s GDP, the tourism industry holds a significant number of employees (some 3.6 Million) that the association fears the worst for, as they are now facing cumulative losses of about RM100 Billion since the start of the pandemic. Businesses are already closing down, some even permanently. MATFA says that for some of these businesses there isn’t a possibility of a comeback when all their investments and cash reserves have evaporated over the MCOs in the past 17 months. 

Hence, MATFA once again asks for the Government to work with the private sector to align a tourism recovery plan targeting immediate and mid-term results. As such, here are the proposed actions MATFA has provided to the Prime Minister, should the tourism industry be kept in the negative list: 

  1. Compensate – financial aid, accelerated wages subsidy, operational cost,  statutory leaves, utility discounts and tax obligations must be provided.
  2. Review food aid programs – a more extensive and accessible program is required for the rakyat to benefit from.
  3. Initiate vaccination campaign – for tourism-related sectors to be mooted under MOTAC similar to PIKAS under MITI, and RiVAC under KPDNHEP. 
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dato’ Richard CK Koh, President of MATFA

“When you made your early announcements amid a perfect storm in March 2020 – political, economic, and a healthy one – your pledge of ‘Nobody will be Left Behind – still reverberates strongly. To echo that, we want to make a collective plea on behalf of all Malaysians – so that nobody slips through the ever-widening cracks of economic destitution. We strongly believe that you and we, together and all of Malaysia, will come out of this war with our resolve to fight back, remaining intact and bring back our nation – Malaysia, to its rightful position of a resilient and fast-growing economy,” said Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dato’ Richard CK Koh, President of MATFA, to YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Mahiaddin. 

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