Treasury Secretary General Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said Malaysians who stays at hotels rated 3-stars and below might be exempted from the new tourism tax.
What is the tourism tax? How will it affect the rakyat.
Let us take a look.
What is the tourism tax?
Earlier this month, the government announced the implementation of the tourism tax by July to promote tourism related activities in the country as well as build tourism infrastructure.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the money collected will be chanelled back to all states including Sabah and Sarawak.
The tax rate will be fixed at RM20 per room per night (five star), RM10 per room per night (four star), RM5 per room per night (one, two and three star) and RM2.50 per night (one, two and three orchid) and RM2.50 per night for non rated accomodation premises.
How will if affect the rakyat?
If the tax is not exempted, it will affect the rakyat as they are the ones who will have to pay for the tax which will include the Goods and Services tax.
My Budget Hotel Association Negeri Sembilan honorary secretary Ahmad Fairul Ibrahim said the new tax will be an added burden to domestic tourists.
So the tourism tax will not be good for the rakyat unless those staying at three star hotels and below are exempted.
The economy will be stronger if the rakyat do not pay the tax
If the tourism tax is exempted at three star hotels, the rakyat will be able to spend the money on other things.
Let us not forget, it is the rakyat which spends a lot to help support the domestic economy.
It is the rakyat which spends at pasar malam and at shopping malls.
It is the rakyat who go on holidays and go shopping.
They are the ones who help support the domestic economy.
So the rakyat must be exempted from paying the tourism tax at three star hotels and below.
Tourism tax exemption will attract tourists from China and India
MyBudget Hotel Association president Suresh Armugam said in a statement recently that the tax exemption on three star rooms is very much welcomed as it will attract tourists from China and India.
The tax exemption will make hotel rooms in Malaysia more competitive compared to other hotels in the region.
All this while, the hotel sector in the country has been intensifying efforts to promote the country’s tourism packages to overseas markets especially to tourists from China and India.
So this tax exemption will definitely attract foreign tourists into the country.
Tourist tax exemption will bring tourist dollars into the country
Foreign tourists arrival in Malaysia will be good for the economy as they will spend their money here to shop, stay at hotels, pay taxi fares and go sighseeing.
All these activities will be good for the economy and will provide the rakyat with jobs and enable them to earn an income.
When tourists come into the country, it shows that they are confident of Malaysia and its economy.
When this happens, the ringgit will also strengthen and this will boost investors confidence.
When the ringgit is strong, investors will invest money into the country and this will make our economy stronger.
Tourism tax is not all that bad and is not new
The tourism tax however is not all that bad and is already implemented in Melaka and Penang.
The tax is also not new and is alredy implemented in countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia of which the rates slapped are higher compared to Malaysia.
So the government has done all it can to make sure that the tourism tax is low and does not burden Malaysians.
Tourism tax is however necessary
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the tourism tax however is necessary as oil and gas prices have gone down and thus promotion for tourism is no longer a priority for the government.
In a New Straits Times report on June 11, Nazri said therefore the government has to find a way on how it can get the fund from and it must be from a sustainable source.
Without the tourism tax, the government cannot build and upgrade infrastructure such as the National Muzeum and clean up Dataran Merdeka.
A beautiful National Mosque and a clean Port Dickson beach will attract the tourists.
And the tourism fund is needed to find the money to upgrade our tourists spots.
Tourism tax can bring in RM654 million
In a news report by Free Malaysia Today on June 11, while winding up the debate on the Tourism Tax Bill in the Dewan Rakyat on April 6, Nazri said the tax would be able to bring in an income of about RM654.62 million if there was a 60 percent occupancy rate at the over 11 million hotel rooms in the country.
So the tourism tax is very much needed to boost the tourism tax.
However, the rakyat must be exempted from paying at three star hotels and below so that the welfare of the rakyat can be taken care of.