Association: Govt stands to lose millions in taxes if outlets close down

Klang Valley Pub, Night Club, and Bar pro-tem committee chairman Benny Bedi said the situation is getting worse as more and more entertainment outlets are closing down all.

BETWEEN March and June this year, a total of 1,037 entertainment outlets and pubs in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang and Johor have permanently closed down.

And 5,190 people have lost their jobs due to the closure resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was discovered following an audit by the Restaurant and Bistro Owners Association (RBOA).

Its media advisor Jeremy Lim said the entertainment sector was the only one that had not been allowed to operate since last year.

Ironically, he said, the sector was one of the highest taxpayers in the country and revenue generator for the government.

Lim said that between January and end of February, about 8,210 outlets nationwide suspended operations with over 41,050 jobs at risk.

The estimated revenue loss is about RM208mil and losses in taxes to the government amounts to about RM155mil, he said.

As for the entertainment outlets and pubs, he said some 3,700 outlets were still not allowed to operate, which meant an estimated gross revenue loss of RM328mil and losses in government taxes of RM250mil.

Some 18,500 people are at risk of losing their jobs, said Lim.

“The sector contributes towards the government’s excise and sales tax collection of more than RM2bil.

“It provides employment to more than 50,000 people, either full time or part time, as well as for more than 30,000 musicians and entertainers,’’ he added.

The sector also contributes some RM21.7mil annually in liquor licence fees and RM120mil in annual entertainment licence fees.

In November last year, Klang Valley Pubs, Night Clubs and Bars Association pro-tem committee chairman Benny Bedi told StarMetro that nearly 20% of Kuala Lumpur’s nightclubs had shut down since the first movement control order.

Over 200 restaurants, bars, karaoke joints and dance clubs in Kuala Lumpur have shut down permanently last year, he said.

“Today, the number has increased to 60% based on feedback from industry players,’’ he added.

Bedi, who is also managing director of Jewel in the Crown, a restaurant and bar in Jalan Sultan Ismail, said his business had suffered losses of almost 80% since last November.

“Takeaways don’t work.

“We are now competing with so many housewives and people who have lost their jobs and are surviving by selling food.

“Our overheads like rental, staff salaries and material cost are drowning us and frankly, I don’t know how much longer I can last,’’ he said.

In recent times, renown establishments like the 20-year-old Beach Club Cafe in Jalan P. Ramlee, and Coliseum Cafe that stood the test of time over nearly 100 years in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, have closed down too.

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