Miri hotel, housing industries facing ‘financial crisis’ — property developer

Lau (seated, third from left) with Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (second from left), his wife, Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib (left), Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (seated, third from right) and others at Lau’s Chinese New Year open house.

By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, Feb 8: The hotel and housing sectors in this Resort City are in need of the state government’s assistance as “a financial crisis” is brewing.

Prominent property developer Datuk Lau Siu Wai lamented that development here had gone “quiet” after most of the headquarters of oil and gas companies moved to Kuala Lumpur.

On the housing industry, Lau, who is executive chairman of the well-known Miri Housing Development Realty Sdn Bhd, revealed that at least 1,000 shophouses had already been built but had no takers.

“About 2,000 houses are also facing a ‘no occupancy’ situation because banks restrict loan applications, and at the end, the market is dead.

“If the situation persists, by the end of this year, many businesses will be affected,” Lau told reporters at his Chinese New Year open house at Hill Top Garden here yesterday.

On the hotel industry, Lau said occupancy in most hotels in Miri division had dropped to between 20 and 30 per cent below operating cost.

“If this continues, I don’t how many hotels will close.

“We are facing a financial crisis.”

Lau reckoned the only way to save the economy here is to promote the tourism industry and transform the city into a centre of educational excellence.

“If this is not done, no hope for Miri to grow.”

Hence, he said the business community here hoped the state government could come up with a comprehensive development plan for Miri’s tourism industry.

“After most of the headquarters of oil and gas companies moved to Kuala Lumpur, Miri became quiet, and this affects retail business very much.”

He also urged business tycoons in this division to work together with the government to help transform Miri into a great city again. One way is to propose or make suggestions to the government.

“As everybody knows, Miri in the past depended on timber exports and also oil and gas. Now the times have changed. We have to revive other industries, such as tourism and education, to boost our economy.” — DayakDaily