Malaysia’s minister of tourism, arts and culture, Mohamaddin Ketapi, has called on unlicensed hotel operators and those offering vacation rental services on Airbnb to register with the ministry immediately to avoid legal action under the Tourism Industry Act 1992.
Mohamaddin said the ministry was also in talks with the Housing and Local Government Ministry on implementing conditions for Airbnb businesses, including registration requirements, according to a Bernama report.
In response, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said in a statement that it had been actively involved with the two aforenamed ministries in drawing up regulations for the home-sharing sector, based on laws in cities such as Paris, Barcelona, New York, San Francisco, Santa Monica and more recently, Japan with its Minpaku law.
The MAH statement read: “Many of these laws were drawn up with intention to protect local residents as home-sharing business had in fact driven property prices up, to the disadvantage of locals – displacing them from main cities and indirectly raising cost of living, as well as causing disturbance and nuisance at residential areas.
“As much as Airbnb had openly declared their willingness to cooperate with the government of Malaysia, we have yet to see actual actions from them to comply with existing laws (such as Innkeepers Act 1952, Registration of Guests Act 1965, Tourism Industry Act 1992, Tourism Tax Act 2017 and various tax laws, just to name a few). If Airbnb is sincere to be part of the tourism industry of Malaysia, it must demonstrate its compliance to the laws of Malaysia and ensure hosts & listings that do not comply with registration and licensing requirements are removed from its platform immediately.”
It’s high time the government tightened regulation of home-sharing, stressed MAH, citing revenue loss for the country.
“The government and the industry should not be made to bear such losses when on the other end home-sharing hosts and operators are reaping fruits of what they did not sow.”
Uzaidi Udanis, president of the Malaysian Tourism Council, agreed that the call for regulations is timely, as it helps “ensure there is a level playing field with licensed hotel operators and hotel investments are also protected”.
He added: “It is also important to keep records of guests staying at home sharing platforms as we don’t know their intentions of coming to the country.”