PUTRAJAYA: A regulation on service charge, commonly imposed by hotels and restaurants, is being worked out, says Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad (pic).
He said a working group at the ministry level had been formed to look into this.
“We are working on it with the MoF (Finance Ministry) and Human Resources Ministry.
“Associations representing the hoteliers as well as the employees are also involved in the effort and we hope to come out with a solution soon,” he said at a press conference on Friday.
Alias said the first meeting, which he chaired, was held on Wednesday.
“Not much can be disclosed now but I am happy to inform the public that there is an initiative to resolve the issue.
“The solution could be abolishing the service charge or replace it with another type of charge.
“However, it must be stated that the collection from the service charge is for the employees and not the hotel or restaurants owners,” he added.
Alias said until a decision had been decided, there was no law to stop hotels and restaurants from imposing a service charge.
“It is like tips for the employees and to be distributed among them regardless of the which section they are attached to.
“The basic salaries of hotel and restaurant employees aren’t that high and the collection from the service charge acts like a top-up for them,” he said.
Since the GST began, a number of diners had been refusing to pay the 10% service charge, much to the dismay of waiters and managers.
“We can’t force them to pay. We try to explain that the GST is for the Government while the service charge goes to us,” said a floor manager of a sushi chain.
A cafe in Bangsar is also facing similar problems.
“We have had customers questioning the charge. They would tell us that we are not allowed to charge for service as there is now the GST,” said the manager.
Fomca president Datuk Marimuthu Nadason urged consumers who had been levied with the GST on their service charge to lodge complaints with the authorities.
However, he also urged consumers to be patient in light of the various teething problems.
“Many restaurant and eatery operators, for example, are still unsettled, so I request that we should not penalise them just yet.”
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