KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Putrajaya delayed rolling out the new Tourism Tax to August 1 because the Customs Department needs time to implement the collection system, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today.
The tourism and cultural affairs minister dismissed speculations that the deferment of the tax was caused by resistance from hotel operators.
“The date of when the new tax will be in place will be decided by Custom, it us up to how the preparation is going,” Nazri told reporters after launching a tourism event here.
“The Cabinet had hoped to implement it in July. Remember the Bill was enacted as an Act in March but these things there is a mechanism,” he added.
“The delay was not due to resistance but to give time to Customs to prepare,” the minister added.
The tourism tax, passed in Parliament earlier this year, was set to be collected from this month but later postponed to August 1.
The charges have been set at between RM20 and a lowly RM2.50 a night, depending on the hotel rating.
Initially, the new tax drew criticism, primarily from budget hotel operators out of fear that it would push tourists towards rental platform operator Airbnb.
But the government has since announced an exemption for Malaysians who stay at hotels rated three-stars and below.