KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) notes that the ongoing COVID‐19 spread has highlighted the lack of proper regulations for home‐sharing businesses like Airbnb.
The idea of having strangers from all over the world moving in and out of homes every other day without any standard operating procedures whatsoever is as risky as operating an international airport
A recent circular from the Joint Management Body of a posh serviced residence in the heart of Kuala Lumpur had notified its owners and residents of a confirmed Covid‐19 novel coronavirus case, involving an Airbnb guest within the condominium, says MAH, revealing a worrying concern long highlighted by the tourism industry.
They add that the lack of registration information, guest services and support, emergency preparedness as well as basic standard operating procedures for home‐sharing activities, poses critical risks to the country’s crisis management, leaving citizens vulnerable to external threats.
“The idea of having strangers from all over the world moving in and out of homes every other day without any standard operating procedures whatsoever is as risky as operating an international airport.
“The onus of added maintenance such as cleaning and disinfecting of the properties and its common grounds lies on the joint management bodies, at the cost of every owner and resident, which is unfair,” points out Kamaruddin Baharin, MAH’s president.
Yap Lip Seng, MAH CEO, notes that hoteliers have long urged the Government to regulate and control home‐sharing activities. He adds that the framework drawn up by the Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC) last year is said to be ready but yet to be adopted by policy‐makers and regulators.
“We have appealed to the to the Government to immediately put a halt to home‐sharing, more specifically Airbnb, arguably the most popular platform used for home‐sharing. We also urge Airbnb to do the right thing and suspend all operations immediately to assist Governments worldwide in containing the Covid‐19 coronavirus as profitability has to be set aside to prioritise keeping people safe,” explains Mr Yap.
He notes that most of these platforms do not even have a local presence in the locations they are operating on, hence no accountability or social and community sense of responsibility.