MalaysiaMany feel proposed levy is too much to pay on top of the PSC, fuel surcharge and a host of other ‘must pay’ fees when booking a flight.

Malaysia’s proposed departure levy faces opposition

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KL Int Airport 190418
Will new departure tax means fewer travellers through Kuala Lumpur International airport?
KL Int Airport 190418

The levy’s objective, the minister stated then, was to encourage the development of domestic tourism although its effectiveness in boosting this sector is debatable, many in the travel trade said.

Is paying a RM20 (US$4.80) to RM40 (US$9.70) departure levy to fly out of Malaysian airports a deterrent to your travel? 

A question I put to a few friends who fly frequently for both work and play. All answered in the negative, as the amount is too small to affect their travel budget or stop them from taking holiday breaks.

Malaysia’s Parliament passed the Departure Levy Bill 2019 on April 10, effectively making the tax a reality. Its implementation date and rate will be decided by the Cabinet and announced at a later date. 

However, when finance minister Lim Guan Eng tabled Budget 2019 in November last year he proposed to impose the tax from June 1 at a rate of RM20 (US$4.80) to Asean countries and RM40 (US$9.70) to other international destinations.

The levy’s objective, the minister stated then, was to encourage the development of domestic tourism although its effectiveness in boosting this sector is debatable, many in the travel trade said.

The departure levy is over and above the current passenger service charge (PSC) of RM35 and RM73 for outbound travellers to Asean and the rest of the world respectively. The PSC is paid to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), the airport operator, to manage the airports. 

And therein lies the bone of contention, for many feel that this is too much to pay on top of the PSC, fuel surcharge and a host of other ‘must pay’ fees when booking a flight.

A number Malaysians are against the fee and have called on the government not to go ahead with the implementation, while trade associations have asked the government to reconsider the levy or delay it.

Footnote: Malaysia’s government has extended the rights of Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) to operate, manage and maintain 39 airports nationally for a further 35 years.


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