Minister: Tourism tax to stay for now

Minister: Tourism tax to stay for now

Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi speaks to reporters at the Malaysia Tourism Centre in Kuala Lumpur July 12, 2018. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — The tourism tax on hotel rooms for foreigners is unlikely to be scrapped, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said today.

He said the ministry’s review of the tax, which charges RM10 per night per room, was still ongoing.

“I would not say we will scrap the tax, for now,” he told reporters during the ministry’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at Jalan Ampang.

Mohammadin said the review will at least determine if it is necessary to retain the tax.

“There must be some benefit to the country, if we choose to scrap the tax,

“But if scrapping the tax will cause the nation to lose out, then we will not do so,” he said.

Mohammadin declined to reveal further details of the tax review, adding that for the time being, there is no set time frame for its conclusion.

“We will hold discussions with the Finance Ministry and key players from the tourism industry on how best to proceed,” he said.  

Mohammadin said that the same goes for any existing tourism and culture policies implemented by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government, which are also being looked at.  

“Policies that are good will be retained, and those found wanting will be adjusted or rectified accordingly,” he said.  

Since the tax came into effect on September 1 last year, concerns have been raised about its impact on international tourists coming into Malaysia.

In May, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents president Datuk Tan Kok Liang called for its abolishment, as he said collecting the tax from foreign tourists would be ‘counterproductive’.