KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry wants to defer the implementation of the departure levy – supposed to be on Sept 1 this year – to after Visit Malaysia 2020.
Its Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi (pic) said he would personally raise the matter with Lim Guan Eng.
"I agree with it (to defer the levy's implementation), and will try to discuss the matter with the Finance Minister," he said, answering a question raised by Datuk Jalaluddin Alias (BN-Jelebu) on Thursday. (July 11).
Jalaluddin, who made the suggestion, claimed that a local airline had approached Opposition lawmakers to delay the implementation of the levy.
"They said that the departure levy on Sept 1 would affect arrival of inbound tourists.
"They asked us to request Pakatan Harapan to defer the levy until after Visit Malaysia 2020 so we can attract as many tourists as possible during the period," Jalaluddin said.
The Departure Levy Bill 2019 was passed in Parliament on April 10 and was to have been implemented on June 1 this year.
Lawmakers from both sides of the political divide had questioned the need for the levy, arguing that it would affect tourist arrivals.
In Budget 2019, a departure levy was proposed, to be imposed on all air travellers leaving the country from June 1.
This was aimed at encouraging the development of domestic tourism.
Under the proposed law, a levy of RM20 is imposed on any person leaving Malaysia and travelling to other Asean countries, and RM40 for those going to other countries.
Implementation of the levy was deferred to Sept 1.
However, it was reported that air travellers leaving the country to Asean countries in economy class would be charged RM8 while business class and first class passengers will be charged RM20.
Those departing to non-Asean destinations in economy class will pay RM50 while those flying in business class and first class will pay RM150.
On July 2, Deputy Finance Minister Amiruddin Hamzah said that departure levy is likely to be implemented in September, saying the Government would consider the departure levy segmentation based on seat classes of air tickets.