THE implementation of the departure levy which will come into effect in September this year, may be pushed back after Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VM2020) pending discussions with the Finance Ministry, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi.
The minister agreed to the recommendations from the Opposition who opined that the implementation of the levy in September would disrupt foreign tourist arrivals.
“I agree, I strongly agree with the proposal (to postpone the implementation) of the departure levy. The only thing is, you should have posed this question to the finance minister.
“However, since I already said I agree (with your point of view), I will try to negotiate the matter with the Finance Ministry,” Mohamaddin told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He was responding to a suggestion by Datuk Jalaluddin Alias (Barisan Nasional-Jelebu) who claimed that a local airline had approached Opposition MPs to delay the implementation of the levy.
“They said the departure levy in September would affect inbound tourist arrivals. They have asked us to raise the matter with the Pakatan Harapan government to defer the levy
until VM2020, so that we can attract as many tourists as possible during the period,” Jalaluddin said.
The Departure Levy Bill 2019 was passed in April despite brickbats during the debate session. It was supposed to be implemented on June 1 this year, but was later deferred to Sept 1.
The departure levy will require those departing from Malaysian airports to Asean destinations to pay an additional RM20, and RM40 if they are travelling to non-Asean destinations. This is on top of the RM73 passenger service charge imposed by airports.
It is estimated that the departure levy will add between RM900 million and RM1 billion to the federal coffers annually.
Meanwhile, Mohamaddin announced that the logo for VM2020 will be launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on July 22 in Putrajaya.
He said the government is targeting to achieve a revenue of RM100 billion from 30 million tourists.
“The planning and promotion of VM2020 had started from 2018 itself. Additionally, the ministry is also building a VM2020 microsite site that is interactive, user friendly and can be used to deliver information about the VM2020 Campaign as a whole,” he said.
The logo was selected from dozens of participants who entered the compe
tition to design the VM2020 campaign logo, which was held from March 11 to 24. VM2020 is the fifth such campaign organised since 1990 and is targeted
to bring in 30 million tourists.
In 2018, a total of 25.8 million tourists had visited Malaysia and spent RM84.1 billion last year.