Govt tables bill to tax outbound travellers

by DASHVEENJIT KAUR / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The government has tabled a Departure Levy Bill 2019, taxing all air travellers leaving through the country’s airports.

The bill was tabled for its first reading by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

The bill, if passed by legislators, will see all outbound travellers — local and foreign — charged a designated fee starting June this year.

The idea to charge air travellers leaving the country was first mooted in the 2019 budget presented by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

According to the bill, any person who leaves Malaysia will be taxed and the operator of any carrier shall collect the levy on behalf of the government.

The bill proposes for any foreign registered person who contravenes to be fined up to RM50,000 and/or face imprisonment for a term of up to three years.

It also proposed that the minister may fix the rate of the levy to be charged that may vary, or amend the rate of the levy. The rate will then be presented in the Dewan Rakyat.

Foreign operator who does not have any business or place of business in Malaysia is required to appoint an agent who will be binded by the new ruling.

“A penalty of up to 40% shall be paid by the registered person or operator who fails to pay wholly or partly the departure levy due within the prescribed time.

“Any registered person who contravenes will be liable to a fine of up to RM500,000 and/or imprisonment for a term of up to three years,” the bill read.

Other countries also imposed similar levy like Thailand (US$20), Hong Kong (US$15), and Japan US$10 (RM42).

The government is expected to collect a few hundred millions of ringgit annually from the tax.

Presently, Malaysia’s airports handle more than 100 million passengers for both inbound and outbound.