New Straits Times, Photo Credit to EfficientGov
clock 12-06-2018
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MAH Highlights Need to Scrap Tourism Tax, Regulate Airbnb

The Malaysian Association of Hotels has urged the government to scrap the tourism tax and regulate the Airbnb service.

It's president Cheah Swee Hee said that the two issues were among the things discussed in a meeting with the Council of Eminent Persons today.

"We need to find solutions to ensure that it is fair to all. Currently, the rate is flat and it does not encourage foreign tourists to stay longer."

"The best way is to scrap it and as a result will encourage more tourists to come to the country,"

"But of course this should be discussed with the government first," he said when met after meeting with Council of Eminent Persons at Ilham Tower here today.

Under the tourism tax, which came into effect on September 1 last year, foreign guests have to pay a flat charge of RM10 per room per night, regardless of the hotel's star rating.

Other matters discussed included the association's plans of making the Kuala Lumpur International Airport a hub with greater connectivity. Also bandied were the goods and services tax, the sales and services tax and the proliferation of unregulated Airbnb.

On Airbnb, Cheah said regulation is necessary as to ensure all parties received an even hand in the industry.

He also spoke about harmonising the wage regulation for the industry as their structure differed from other industries.

Cheah argued that this was because tips sometimes exceed hotel workers' wages.

He was drawing on minimum wage hike proposed by Pakatan Harapan in its manifesto. The pact had pledged to raise the minimum wage to RM1,500.

Cheah also said that the council was open to proposals and suggestions from the association and other stakeholders in the industry.

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