Sarawak hoteliers cry foul over additional costs of tourism tax

John-Teo

PETALING JAYA: The Sarawak chapter of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) has hit out over the additional costs accompanying the tourism tax which came into force on Sept 1.

Its honorary secretary-general John Teo said hoteliers would have to spend at least RM5,000 to upgrade their accounting systems, which had just been upgraded two years ago at the cost of RM20,000, the Borneo Post reported.

Calling the tax “a further burden for hoteliers”, Teo told the daily that additional manpower would also be required to ensure that all taxes, including the goods and services tax (GST), would be accurately calculated and paid.

In July, MAH’s Penang chapter asked the government to give hotels enough time to make adjustments to their systems before it imposed the tourism tax.

This included accounting software and cashier and management systems.

Penang MAH chairman Khoo Boo Lim told FMT that hotels would need to work extra to adapt to the new tax, and might incur extra expenses to reprogramme their management software.

Teo meanwhile said there had been several changes with regard to the collection of the tourism tax in the state.

He told the Borneo Post that such changes were expected to continue until the tax collection mechanism was finalised by the Customs Department.

Malaysians and permanent residents are exempted from paying the tax, which sees foreign tourists charged a flat rate of RM10 per room per night for all types of hotel rooms.

The tax does not apply to homestays and kampung stays registered with the ministry and premises with fewer than four rooms.

The government expects to collect about RM210 million in tourism tax annually.