According to the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA), several of the actions described in the Pemerkasa Plus aid package can help tourism players, notably travel agents, stay afloat during current crisis.
"Foremost is the push for the rollout of the vaccination programme for the rakyat, which will help pave the way to a quicker re-opening of borders and revive tourism and all related economic sub sectors.
"We have written to the coordinating minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme to request that the vaccination program for tourist workers be expedited," said organization president Datuk Tan Kok Liang.
Several other nations have been able to reopen their borders to international travel as a result of the effectiveness of their vaccination programs, he pointed out.
He also mentioned the government's tour bus rehabilitation program, which Tan claims MATTA has been advocating for since the beginning of the outbreak.
"We appreciate the government's brave move to act on behalf of bus owners, given that prior moratoriums did not apply to leasing businesses.
"According to MATTA, its members together possess almost 9,000 Bas Pesiaran (tour bus) vehicles, many of which were obtained through credit and leasing businesses.
"To put things in perspective, a 40-seater tour bus costs between RM490,000 and RM580,000 - a debt that is impossible to service in these difficult circumstances, and that has the potential to cripple the tourist ecosystem if not addressed quickly and decisively," he added.
MATTA also requested that the moratorium be extended and that the wage subsidy scheme be prolonged until December 31.
"The contribution to the Human Resources Development Fund should also be extended (HRDF). Another practical move that will assist businesses during this period is the exemption of late payment penalties and renewal of licenses to the Commission of Companies (SSM), as well as the deferral of penalties for payment of outstanding tax to the Internal Revenue Board (LHDN) "Tan expressed his views.
MATTA also wants the government to provide a RM10,000 subsidy to help travel agents cover fixed costs and other overheads.
"Travel agencies, in particular, have been hard affected, with many struggling to stay alive by diversifying into other companies that offer little to help the corporation and its 47,000 direct employees.
"Finally, we applaud the announcement that all ministers and deputy ministers are not taking their salary for three months, and that this money be channeled towards the Covid-19 fight. This is indeed a positive contribution, a 'walk-the-talk' commitment by the Cabinet," said Tan.
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