Malaysia’s MICE: help on the way

Continual dialogue with the government is underway to implement stimulus package benefits

Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre CEO, Gunther Beissel Credit: MITEC

KUALA LUMPUR - The travel industry in Malaysia has reacted positively to the announcement of the government's economic stimulus package. The RM20 billion (US$4.7 billion) package was introduced on 27 February to help sectors adversely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) CEO, Mr Gunther Beissel, said the package has successfully addressed the main worries of industry players, eased the financial burden and cash flow for all tourism-related industries including convention and exhibition centres.

He said: "Strategies laid out such as the deferment of income tax, 15% discount on electricity, suspension of Human Resources Department Fund (HRDF) contribution and six per cent service tax exemption for hotels will assist to restore the confidence of industry players by motivating and encouraging and at the same time building the knowledge on how to overcome challenges such as the outbreak."

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (The Centre) GM, Mr Alan Pryor, said he welcomed the assistance of the government provided through the Economic Stimulus Package 2020, but the situation is still evolving and he looks forward to continued dialogue with the government as it develops.

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre General Manager, Alan Pryor Credit: KLCC

He said: "The local business events industry stakeholders were invited by the government to put forward a wish list which was compiled by the Business Events Council of Malaysia and the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers and submitted through the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau for elevation to the government for their consideration."

Mr Beissel said: "The encouraging support by the government is vital in giving business events visitors the confidence to do business with Malaysia. The fact that the Malaysian government is immediately acting on ways to overcome challenges, shows the swift initiative of authorities to lessen economic impact."

Even with a new government headed by the new Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was sworn in on 1 March, Mr Pryor said all indications point to the new government implementing the package to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

He noted that while a few local corporate events have been cancelled, and some international events postponed and rescheduled, the authorities have not indicated any need to curtail business events.

In response to the outbreak, MITEC has implemented temperature screening at all three entrances for all guests, team members and contractors. Any person showing symptoms will be taken to a treatment room and further examination will be conducted by a health professional. MITEC says it is the only trade-fair venue in Malaysia with its own inhouse clinic, an isolation room and a permanent ambulance on standby.

MITEC and The Centre both follow all the guidelines from local and international health authorities and these include provision of more hand sanitisers and extra cleaning and disinfecting of all areas, especially those of high traffic and surfaces that are handled often like door knobs and hand rails.

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