The Malaysian government yesterday announced a review of the controversial tourism tax by imposing a RM10 (US$2.33) flat rate per night, per room on foreign tourists staying at hotel accommodations while exempting Malaysians from paying the tourism tax.
This is a change from earlier plans where locals are exempted from paying the tax at three-star or lower hotels.
Welcoming the changes in a statement through Whatsapp, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents’ newly elected president, KL Tan, wrote: “The exemption for all Malaysians will stabilise domestic tourism as well as provide a relief for essential travel such as travelling within the country for business purposes, medical, religious and educational purposes.
“Reducing the tax from RM20 to RM10 per night, per room for five- and four- star hotels will minimise adverse impact on the high-end industry. However, we need to review the lower-class category providers and as the increase may be between five to 30 per cent of the room rate.
According to Tan, part of the funds collected from the tax will be spent on tourism infrastructure development.
The implementation date, which was expected to be launched on August 1, will be decided by the Malaysian prime minister, said tourism and culture minister, Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.