BY Azlan Othman
MALAYSIA is proposing a departure levy for all international outbound air passengers leaving Malaysian airports from June 1, 2019.
The Malaysian government proposed a fee of RM20 per head for those departing for ASEAN member countries and RM40 for other countries, Malaysian newspapers reported.
Bruneians in Malaysia leaving for overseas holiday will have to bear with the additional costs. Travelling solo might not affect as badly as those travelling in a large group.
“The rate proposed is consistent or not more than what many other countries are charging,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said while tabling Malaysian Budget 2019 in Parliament on Friday.
Lim Guan Eng said Thailand currently charges USD20, Hong Kong USD15 and Japan USD10. He said the departure levy was meant to encourage domestic tourism.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said it will work closely with Putrajaya on the plan to impose a departure levy and also to the set up of the Airport Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).
In a brief statement, MAHB said all aeronautical charges are regulated and are the prerogative of the government and this includes the introduction of the departure levy. “We will work closely with the government to implement it in accordance with the regulation.”
A total of 921,321 Bruneians visited Malaysia in the first eight months of this year (January-August 2018), a drop by 19.9 per cent compared to the same period last year where 1,150,759 visitors travelled to neighbouring country, statistics from Tourism Malaysia website revealed.
Malaysia recorded 1.66 million Bruneian travellers in 2017 and 1.4 million travellers in 2016, making Brunei its fourth largest market. In 2015, some 1.3 million Bruneian tourists visited Malaysia.
Singapore, Indonesia, China, Brunei, and Thailand are Malaysia’s top five major markets last year in terms of the number of tourist arrivals.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin