Finance Ministry: Departure levy only for those flying out of country

KUALA LUMPUR: The Finance Ministry has clarified that the Departure Levy will only be imposed on those flying out of the country.

"The government intends to impose the tax to those taking flights from Malaysia. That is what we intend to do for now," said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah when wrapping up his debate.

The Departure Levy Bill 2019 was tabled for its second reading in Parliament here on Wednesday (April 10).

Several lawmakers had expressed their concerns about the Bill's wording as it did not specify the word "flying".

Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) said the Bill was very general and did not specify the exact nature of the levy.

"If the matter is brought to court then it is dangerous as the Bill is broad. Now the Deputy Minister is saying that the levy is only for those who fly out," he said.

"Just say that it is limited to flying and not other modes of transportation, that would resolve the issue," said Dr Wee.

To this, Amiruddin said that the government intended to have the Bill as broad as possible so it would be easier for the government in the future to include provisions and clauses to it.

He also assured lawmakers that there would be no abuse of power and any changes would need a mandate from the Cabinet.

"Let's say in the future the government, for some reason, decides to impose the departure levy on cruise lines.We already have this Bill as a reference and there will not be a need to bring in a fresh new Bill for that purpose," said Amiruddin.

On the rate of the levy, Amiruddin said it would be decided by the Cabinet and announced in the future.

The Bill does not state the amount of the proposed levy.

In Budget 2019, the government had proposed a departure levy of RM20 to Asean countries and RM40 for non-Asean countries.

Amiruddin said that if the Cabinet eventually decides to impose the levy that was proposed during Budget 2019, then the government can collect between RM900mil and RM1bil from the levy once it comes into force.

The Bill was passed in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (April 10).

Across The Star Online