LABUAN: At least 29 entertainment outlets and sports bars (including karaoke) in the duty-free-island here are at risk of closure, the latest by October, after the owners are incurring losses to the tune of RM6 million since the start of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18.
The continuous staff monthly salary, business premises monthly rental, power supply, suppliers, overhead cost and projection profits among others attributed to the losses, leading to concern on the bleak future of the local entertainment industry.
Labuan Entertainment Owners Association (LEOA) (Persatuan Pemilik Pusat Hiburan Labuan) deputy chairman Surjit Singh said a joint memorandum from the association and the joint business chambers in Labuan would be submitted to the Federal Government through Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“Our business is shrinking as a result of business disruptions chiefly caused by the MCO, which has been extended to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have taken up this issue to the Labuan Indian Chamber of Commerce recently and we agreed to bring it up to the government for consideration,” he said at a joint press conference with the entertainment outlets owners today.
He said three entertainment outlets in downtown had ceased business operation during the MCO, and some would follow suit should there be no relaxation given for the reopening of the business operation.
The association treasurer, Chris Teo said employers continues to pay employees salary since the start of MCO until today without delay despite generating no revenue.
“We continue paying salary including the employee provident fund (EPF) contribution and Socso which is in line with the governments’ directive for no lay-off or retrenchment of staff, and we are still paying the monthly rental.
“The situation will be deteriorating (if the entertainment business suspension continues) after the moratorium is expired in October. We, as building tenants will be in financial trouble as we have to resume paying business loans,,” Teo said.
The association secretary Wong Kun Weng said the entertainment business should be treated equally to that of reflexology centres which had resumed business operation on July 1.
“The reflexology business involve physical touch, whereas the entertainment business operation is otherwise…we appeal to the government to consider our plight, we are adhering to the government’s call to retain staff, but what about our business predicament?…we must be allowed to resume operation but with standard operating procedure set forth by the government,” he said.
Edward Liang, the association member said the closure of entertainment business had affected the local tourism industry badly, with the tourism players including the tourist guides struggling to make ends meet.
“The night life of Labuan is one of those included in the Labuan tourism package, but since the movement restriction was imposed, our income is zero. We cannot deny the fact that the economic sector is drowning.” he said.