New Sabah Times, Photo Credit to TechCrunch
clock 03-10-2017
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SATTA Wants Laws Amended to Accommodate Airbnb Trend

The State Government has been urged to amend the existing building by-laws to keep abreast with the current world trend of providing accommodation to visitors.

The Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (SATTA) chairman Dato' Seri Winston Liaw said the amendment is needed as the current building by-laws enacted some 40 years ago is outdated.

"We should follow the world trend of making a booking through online for Airbnb, Agoda, and others accommodation service providers" called Liaw during the installation ceremony of the new office bearers-cum-3rd anniversary of Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu Mandarin on Saturday, 30th September.

Lawyer George Ngui was elected as the president for the term 2017-18 succeeding accountant Dato' George Lim Su Chung.

Liaw said Sabah is blessed with friendly people and beautiful natural scenery and thus has become a popular tourist destination.

"We should take advantage of this golden opportunity as tourism is now the main source of income for our state's economy" said Liaw who was invited to talk on the Rotary Club theme ‘To Change The World'.

The tourism industry has created an opportunity for the working class to partake and earn extra income. He cited those who with monthly income between RM2,000-RM4,000, who are unable to buy a property priced at RM400,000 to RM500,000 because the bank will not approve the loan.

"Now if the developers build high-rise properties allowing Airbnb to operate, the working class can pay the down payment of 10 to 15 percent, if the units are allowed to be rented out on a daily basis, which means in 10 years the owner will be able to repay their loan" said Liaw.

He said a 1,000 sq ft condominium with three bedrooms can easily be rented out at RM300 per day, as each room is only RM100 which is cheaper than opting for a hotel.

"If the occupancy rate is 70 percent, for instance, they can collect RM6,300 per month plus miscellaneous earnings, on average some RM5,200-RM5,300 can be generated" said Liaw, adding the owner can earn a profit of RM1,000 on top of their salary.

He believed the bank will be willing to approve their loan as they can see the tourism sector is growing rapidly in Sabah, causing shortages of hotel rooms, which has so far impeded the aggressive growth the state is experiencing.

"And after 10 years" he said, "the working class will also own a home as the loan will be settled by then.” When the banks relax their stringent loan procedures, the developers will be more confident to build housing projects to meet the demand for the working class, he argued.

"So we must seize this opportunity because Sabah is well-known for her unique natural resources and is dubbed as a tourism paradise by foreign

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