Now that Malaysia is in its third Movement Control Order, the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (Mita) is urging the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) to seek another round of financial aid for tourism industry stakeholders (MCO 3.0).
MITA president Uzaidi Udanis (picture) stated that while its members are grateful for the government's allocation of RM1 billion in loans to tourism players, they must wait to see the outcome and impact of the facilities.
“We hope that Bank Negara Malaysia will be able to provide us with the most up-to-date information on the disbursement of the funds and facility regularly,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Uzaidi stated that the government should investigate the reasons for the low loan take-up rate, and that loan approval for tourism industry players should be made easier and with fewer requirements.
Aside from that, Mita urged the country's banks, including credit and finance companies, to assist the nation in combating the pandemic by instituting an automatic loan moratorium with zero interest effective immediately and lasting until December 31, 2021.
Uzaidi said this moratorium should apply to all individual tourism players and tourism companies with loan facilities before March 2020.
“Because all banks made massive profits in the fiscal year 2020, we hope they can become corporate role models in assisting the nation during this difficult time,” he added.
According to Uzaidi, the tourism industry is almost completely paralysed, and there is no growth as interstate and international borders remain closed.
He emphasised that the tourism industry used to be a significant contributor to the national GDP, generating an estimated RM90 billion in tourist receipts and providing four million jobs for Malaysians, accounting for 24 percent of total employment in Malaysia.
In terms of tax examption for travel agents, Uzaidi predicted that tax exemptions would be extended to all travel agents for five years, until 2025, the expected recovery period for the tourism industry.
He also requested a three-year waiver on insurance and road tax, including the Puspakom fee, for all validly registered tourism vehicles until 2024.
“There are about 9,990 registered ‘bas persiaran’ in the market, so based on a minimum rental income of RM600 per day, the bus operators are losing about RM6 million a day.
“In addition, the bus operators need to pay high insurance fees for tourism vehicles (van and bas persiaran) which range from RM1,000 to RM10,000 per year even though the buses are not moving,” he said.
To accelerate the flattening of the Covid-19 wave, Mita also called on the government to issue a complete lockdown.
Uzaidi said although it will be tough, the association is ready to sacrifice for the sake of the country and the people.
“Once we succeed in breaking the chain of infections, we can start travelling again in accordance with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the new norm.
“Mita hopes all industry players, stakeholders and the authorities will work together and move forward with a new normal of tourism,” he said.
Meanwhile, Uzaidi has asked that travel agencies be allowed to work from home and close their offices until December of next year.
He also advocated for travel agencies to be able to renew their annual Motac licence without having to submit an audited account, as this would reduce their annual expenditure, as auditors' fees range from RM4,000 to RM50,000 per year.
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