PUTRAJAYA, Jan 6 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) will not hesitate to take firm action against operators of unlicensed hotels and guest houses, said its minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi.
He said should investigations reveal that these illegal premises do exist, a list of the premises should be provided so that immediate action could be taken, as the ministry was concerned over the safety of those occupying the premises.
"The ministry does not want the public, especially tourists to be deceived by these operators who are providing illegal services. Should any untoward incident occurs not only will there be loss of lives but it will mean bad image for national tourism," he said in commenting on the front page article of an English-language newspaper today, entitled 'Illegal Hotel Menace'.
Mohamaddin added that MOTAC will mobilise the relevant agencies to work closely with the local authorities (PBT) in tracking down the illegal premises more frequently.
"If possible the ministry wants the inspections to be conducted once a month so that this illegal business could be curbed," he said in a statement.
He said the ministry and the local authorities would also discuss on stern action to be taken apart from referring to the rules and regulations under the Tourism Industry Act 1992 and Act 482 on operators of unlicensed boarding houses.
Mohamaddin added that people should not be misled by the promotions run by the unlicensed premises which were similar to promotions carried out by the registered and licensed premises.
"These premises which have not been registered can also cheat customers online by posting attractive promotions and offering low prices. We will discuss with the related ministry to monitor and block the websites developed by the illegal operators," he said.
Mohamaddin added that following this, everyone should be more alert of the situation and to ensure that the premises are licensed before checking into hotels or guest houses.
"I urge the public to lodge a report to the local authorities immediately if they come across any unlicensed premises providing accommodation and other services in their areas," he said.