MATTA President Tan Kok Liang says the RM1 Billion PENJANA Tourism Financing (PTF) facility which will be made available to finance transformation initiatives by SMEs in the tourism industry is one of the good initiatives.
“We seek details on the mechanism of the PTF facility where we are looking at extremely low interest rates or interest free loans for digitalisation under the new norm where most procedures and sales are contactless, and are also done extensively through e-marketing platforms. Also, in order to remain competitive, investment in health and safety protocols is necessary to boost travellers’ confidence and simultaneously safeguard both employees and tourists.”
“However, to date, under the Special Relief Facility (SRF) fund, we were given to understand there has been no drawdown yet for the tourism players under the previous
Economic Stimulus Package. Members have also complained that they were either disqualified for the fund or the allocation had been fully used up. We hope that the government will monitor and supervise this funding facility to ensure fairness to all.”
He further said that the tourism tax and service tax exemption for accommodation services extended to June 30 are also welcomed to boost travel demand. While it may not pose any positive effect due to weak demand in the next 6 months, but MATTA anticipates it will help spur travel interests for 2021 especially when regional and international borders open up.
“Additionally, the extension of the period for income tax relief of RM1,000 for tourism
expenses is a good move to rejuvenate the local tourism industry, but the conditions
should include spouse and children. The eligibility should also be limited to tour packages bought from licensed travel agents and tour operators which include hotels, tours and transfers to ensure effectiveness.”
According to MATTA, on the extension period for deferment of tax installment for tourism industry, it would be more helpful if taxes made payable for year of assessment 2019 are being set off against current period losses and for year of assessment 2020.
“As tourism companies are in a tax loss position, they will also not be able to enjoy tax relief or incentives for Covid-19 testing and purchase of PPE and thermal scanners, and
renovation of business premises. Government grants or subsidies would be more appropriate under these circumstances.”
“Finally, the extension of the Wage Subsidy Programme by 3 months needs to be reviewed again as the tourism industry will only recover by the end of the year. Likewise, we hope that the government will continue with the staff retention programme,” Tan added.