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Saturday, April 22, 2017
Hotel associations troubled by Tourism Tax Bill, reject role as tax collection agent
(File pix) Malaysian Associations of Hotels’ president Cheah Swee Hee
PUTRAJAYA: Hotels should not be made ‘tax collection agents’, charging government taxes on tourist staying at hotels in Malaysia.
Three major hotel associations have expressed its concerns and disagreement on the Tourism Tax Bill which was passed in Parliament two weeks ago.
The associations were Malaysian Associations of Hotels (MAH), Malaysian Asociation of Hotel Owners (MAHO) and Malaysia Budget Hotel Associations (MyBHA).
MAH Cheah Swee Hee said it was unfair to make hoteliers as scapegoats to collect tax money on behalf of the government.
“While the Bill had been passed in Parliament, the association and its members are still unclear on the mechanism as to how the tax would be collected and it collectively opposed the proposed implementation making hotels as tax collection agent, which is detrimental to the hotel and the tourism industry.
“It is unfair for the hotel industry to collect this tax as tourists only spend 25 per cent of the expenses on accommodation and the rest goes to shopping, transportation and food,” he told reporters during a special press conference today.
Cheah said the associations were also unclear of how the tax will be applicable to accommodation providers such as AirBNB and unlicensed hotels.
“We are unsure how the government will impose such tax on them when they should be closed in the first place,” he stated.
According to Cheah, there were 3,046 accommodation premises registered with the Tourism Ministry as of November last year. However, at any one time, there were over 8,500 tourist accommodation premises available for booking in Malaysia via booking websites such as Agoda.com and this doesn’t include accommodations on AirBnB.