Abolish Penang hotel tax first, Gerakan tells Opposition

 |Jul 3, 2017
File pic credit Wikimedia.

The Penang state government should first abolish local tourism taxes before asking for the Tourism Tax Act 2017 to be revoked.

Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang said this in response to the statement by Opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who said that the Opposition would abolish the Tourism Tax Act, which imposes tax on hotel rooms if they win in the next general election.

Reminding Wan Azizah that there is a similar tax introduced by the DAP-led Penang state government in 2014 known as the Local Government Fee which is levied against all hotels in Penang, Tan went on to question the difference between the two.

“If the Opposition is sincere in abolishing such taxes against hotels in Malaysia, it would be best if they start by abolishing the Local Government Fee against hotels in Penang.

“That’s clearly within their power and jurisdiction in Penang,” Tan said in a statement today.

He suggested for Wan Azizah to table the motion for the Local Government Fee against hotels in Penang in the upcoming Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting to “show sincerity” and to “walk the talk”.

Last month, Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz announced that the Tourism Tax, which is set to see rates between RM2.50 and RM20 charged for a night’s stay, will be enforced as scheduled on July 1.

However, Sabah and Sarawak have both voiced their displeasure over the matter, asking for the enforcement to be deferred.

The tax will see hotel guests being charged between RM2.50 for non-rated hotels and up to RM20 for five-star hotels.

The tax is expected to rake in RM654.62mil, with an assumption of 60% occupancy rate at over 11 million hotel rooms in the country.