First-time pilgrims exempted from departure levy, says Guan Eng

The proposed departure levy has raised concerns among MPs on its impact on the people. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today clarified that the proposed departure levy will only apply to air travel.

Lim also said pilgrims who are performing the haj and umrah for the first time will be exempted from paying the levy.

He was speaking to reporters after officiating Credit Guarantee Corporation’s SME Awards here.

This comes after concerns were raised in Parliament today that the proposed departure levy – RM20 for intra Asean destinations and RM40 elsewhere – will burden pilgrims, those who travel to Singapore and Brunei daily to work, and others who go to Thailand for business or leisure.

Debating the bill, tabled for its second reading today, MPs from both sides of the divide called for it to be deferred or for certain groups of people, including pilgrims, to be exempted.

During the tabling of Budget 2019, Putrajaya had proposed a departure levy on all air travellers leaving the country from June 1 to boost domestic tourism.

The departure levy would be on top of the RM73 passenger service charge (PSC) already imposed by airports.