KUALA LUMPUR: A government MP has called on Putrajaya to exempt tourists from paying the tax on luxury goods, warning it could make the country less appealing to travellers, especially those from China.
Yeo Bee Yin (PH – Puchong) said it would be better for the government to allow tourists to get a value-added tax (VAT) refund, a system practised in Singapore, Australia, Canada, European Union countries, South Korea and Japan.
Under the recently tabled national budget, Putrajaya is planning to introduce a luxury goods tax this year for luxury watches and fashion items.
The Puchong MP also pushed for the government to table the climate change bill this year, saying it was not impossible to do so.
The former energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister was responding to a statement by the current minister, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who had said it would take two to three years to draft the document as he did not want a “toothless bill”.
Yeo said if Putrajaya felt that climate change was a serious and urgent issue, “then the government needs to act at a similar (pace)”.
“Therefore, I propose that the government draft and table the climate change bill this year. Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” she said when debating the supply bill at the Dewan Rakyat.
On the issue of healthcare, Yeo suggested that Putrajaya take a more universal approach when it came to Hepatitis B screening of pregnant women to curb its spread from mother to child.
She also suggested that the government revive the human papillomavirus or HPV vaccination initiative and conduct “catch-up” programmes for those who had missed their vaccine shots.
The programme was put on hold after schools were shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic, and funds diverted to the national vaccination programme, she said.
Quoting statistics from the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, Yeo said more than 500,000 girls had missed their HPV vaccine shots and this could lead to more cervical cancer cases and related illnesses in coming years.