The Malaysian Parliament has passed a Tourism Tax Bill in which it must be imposed and levied on tourists staying at any accommodation made available by an operator.
Parliament was adjourned after the Tourism Tax Invoice 2017 which was tabled by Tourism and Tradition Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz was handed with a big majority.
The Bill was passed in the longest Parliament session of the country, which lasted more than 20 hours.
According to local news media Bernama, the session ended at 5.05am early Thursday (6 April) morning, setting a new record as the longest Parliament session, surpassing the old time of 4.25am.
During the debate, Minister Nazri stated that the revenue from Tourism Tax would be in the region of RM654.62 million if the overall occupancy rate for the 11 million ‘room night’ in the country can achieve 60 percent.
He said that with proper promotion and 80 percent occupancy rate, RM872.82 million can be collected.
"Tax collected can provide a sustainable fund every year to develop the Tourism industry and ensure tourism becomes even more competitive," he added.
In accordance with Section 8, the Bill stated that tax shall be charged and levied on a tourist staying at any accommodation premises made available by an operator at the rate fixed, which will be discussed at a later stage by the finance minister, together with the tourism minister.
The Tourism Tax would be collected from all types of premises used as accommodation for tourists, except homestay and Kampung Stay registered under the ministry, premises managed by institutions (education), premises used for training purposes and religious institutions where such facilities are not used for commercial purposes.
It shall be the duty of a tourist to pay the tourism tax to the operator of the accommodation premises.
The Bill also read that where more than one tourist are staying in the same accommodation at the same time and the tourism tax has been paid by any one of them, the other tourist staying shall not be liable to pay tourism tax.
Clause 9 of the Bill also proposed the finance minister to be empowered to exempt any tourist or class of tourists from the payment of the whole or any part of the tourism tax, or also to exempt any operator from collecting tourism tax.
Under the Criminal Procedure Code or Act 593, the proposed act empowers a senior officer of customs for the purpose of enforcement, inspection and investigation in case an offence is committed.