Govt to study exit tax structure on airline passengers, says PM

Anyone leaving Malaysia for Asean countries will be charged RM8 for flights in economy class and RM50 for other classes.

SEPANG: The government will study the tax structure imposed on passengers of low-cost and full-service airlines as it is not fair for everyone to pay the same amount, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“We are studying (the tax). Obviously, if you charge the passengers the same exit tax for high-cost flights and low-cost flights, it is not fair,” the prime minister told a press conference after visiting RedQ, AirAsia’s headquarters, here today.

He was commenting on calls from the industry to defer the implementation of the departure levy next month until after Visit Malaysia Year 2020, while others have asked for the tax to be lowered or included in the airline fares for convenience.

Mahathir said the government would look into the matter to ensure that the tax structure would be fair for everyone.

“At the moment, when you talk about taxes, it is one level of tax for everyone but everyone is not the same.

“So, we have to take into consideration the size, the cost, all of it,” he said.

In a gazette published on July 31, the finance ministry fixed Sept 1 as the effective date for the departure levy. Anyone leaving Malaysia for Asean countries will be charged RM8 for flights in economy class and RM50 for other classes.

For flights to countries outside Asean, those travelling in economy class will be charged RM20, while those in other classes will have to fork out RM150.

This levy is on top of a passenger service charge or airport tax, which is RM35 for flights to Asean and RM73 for non-Asean flights.

Asked to comment on the defamation suit filed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) against AirAsia, Mahathir said: “When there are differences and they cannot solve it outside the court, normally they go to court. But I prefer solutions outside the court.”

On the proposals received from interested parties to turn around Malaysia Airlines Bhd, he said the government was not yet convinced with any proposal.

“But we will consider all proposals given to us,” he added.