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KUANTAN: Just when most hotels decide to close its doors due to the Covid-19 scare, a hotelier in Indera Mahkota here choose to "remain in business". However, instead of accepting room bookings from guests, the owner Pajan Singh has been providing frontliners battling the Covid-19 pandemic in the state to stay for free at his premises — Veer Hotel — which has 35 rooms. The Civil Defence Force personnel (APM) and National Security Council (NSC) staff have been occupying his premises here since March 25, and the 55-year-old is more than happy to accommodate them until the MCO is lifted. The father-of-three said he understood the struggles faced by some of the frontliners who were required to travel to neighbouring states and various districts in Pahang in order to carry out their duties and even lacked proper rest. "Since my premises was closed due to the MCO and there were rooms available, I decided to offer the frontliners to stay for free. "I informed the Pahang Tourism and Culture Ministry (Motac) chairman (Datuk Idrus Yahya) on March 23 and he shared the news with the relevant parties. "Two days later, an officer from MKN visited the hotel to check on the premises before arrangements were made for a group of APM personnel and MKN staff to move into the building which can accommodate about 80 people.

"I sometimes met some of them at the lobby and they are grateful for the resting facilities," he said today. Pajan who has been in the hotel industry for about eight years, said he was concerned with some of the frontliners who had no access to proper accommodation after a long journey due to work commitments. "Some were having a tough time to find a decent place for a proper shower and rest. "These days, I noticed that some of the personnel would return past midnight and then leave to work early in the morning.... the personnel are sacrificing their time and energy, and being in the hospitality industry, this is my small contribution in assisting them. "We provide the frontliners with the essential room services without any charges. "Since, we have the same group of individuals occupying the rooms, it is a little easier for us to coordinate them during their stay," he said, thanking Motac and the Pahang government for the opportunity to serve the society.

Pajan, who manages the hotel with his wife and 24-year-old daughter, said he had another hotel nearby and was prepared to open the premises for frontliners should the current one reached full occupancy. Meanwhile, Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA) deputy president Dr Sri Ganesh Michiel lauded Pajan's decision saying although the industry was badly hit due to the pandemic, some hoteliers were trying to alleviate the burden of the frontliners. "Some hoteliers have offered their premises as quarantine centres for Malaysians returning from overseas while in Pahang, Pajan is offering those battling the pandemic to stay for free. "Malaysians are rallying together to battle the Covid-19 during these tough times." he said. Source-NST