The government should provide a lifeline to individuals in the tourism industry by deferring statutory fees under the movement control order, theme park and hotel organisations urged.
Despite their support for tax breaks, one-time incentives, and a blanket moratorium, two tourism sector associations have expressed reservations about Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's Pemulih plan.
According to Richard Koh, president of the Malaysian Association of Theme Park and Family Attractions (MATFA), all statutory payments, such as licence renewals, annual fees, routine vehicle inspections for tourist buses, and other government costs, should be postponed until December 31.
He stated that the tourist sector contributed only RM12.6 billion last year compared to RM66.1 billion this year, an 81 percent decline, indicating that the pandemic had had a negative impact on the industry.
While a RM1 billion Penjana loan was made available for the tourism sector, only RM65 million was disbursed to 327 applications, according to Koh. He believes the loans should be controlled by the ministry of tourism, arts, and culture, rather than a panel of 12 banks, as is currently the case.
To make the process of seeking support easier, the ministry should ideally be the sole agency in charge of all tourism-related efforts.
In the second phase of the national recovery plan, Koh hopes to see theme parks, attractions, playlands, spas, cinemas, and family entertainment centres in shopping malls reopen.
“These businesses need to at least claw back something when we see domestic tourism returning and movements becoming less restricted. Many businesses won’t be able to reopen as the losses have been too much to bear in (the past) 16 months,” he said in a statement.
Another group representing hotels said the loan moratorium should be interest-free, and that the present 10% electricity bill discount was too low, at a time when most hotels were barely meeting 20% occupancy during the lockdown.
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