Fuming over surprise heritage tax hike

MELAKA: Hoteliers here are up in arms over the steep increase in heritage tax imposed by the state government.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Melaka chapter chairman Khairulnizam Kasim said the industry is gearing up to oppose the hike that would cause an adverse impact on doing business.

“We were given less than two weeks to implement these new charges, which are not conducive to the tourism industry.

“The state government did not even invite us for discussion before deciding on a 50% increase from the current rate,” he said yesterday.

Khairulnizam expressed concerns about the tax hike coming on top of existing challenges like low occupancy rates and rising operational costs.

“Why punish us in this manner when we are part of the larger local tourism industry that is already one of the largest revenue contributors?” he questioned.

Khairulnizam pointed out that continual cost increases, such as recent hikes in diesel prices and rising raw material costs for kitchen operations, are already squeezing hotel revenues.

The tax, originally introduced in 2017, requires hotels to declare occupied rooms and pay local authorities bi-monthly.

He said that hoteliers would assure timely payments to avoid penalties, adding that any defaults in payment would result in their hotel star ratings being affected.

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