Govt called to extend moratorium for another six months

Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun. File photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association Tour Agency (MATA) has recommended that the government extend the loan moratorium period for at least another six months in the 2021 Budget which will be tabled next week.

Its president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said the move would give industry players the chance to restructure their company’s finances following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO), which to date is still being enforced, as some states have been placed under conditional and enhanced MCO.

“For example, travel agencies will have the opportunity to focus on marketing tourist destinations while tour bus operators will be able to continue paying the instalments to stop financial institutions from repossessing their vehicle.

“Bear in mind that as long as the country’s borders are not opened, there will be no tourist movement into and leaving Malaysia and this is going to affect the income of those in the tourism sector,” he said in a statement today.

Mohd Khalid said industry players cannot rely solely on domestic tourism because the sector contributes less than 20 per cent of the total tourism sector income.

In addition, he also proposed that the wage subsidy be continued so that tourism operators do not have to lay off their workers which would at the same time help over 3.6 million workers in the sector from being unemployed.

He also hoped that the government could restructure the Penjana Tourism Sector Financing Scheme of RM1 billion by allowing existing government agencies to manage the funds.

Apart from giving licence fee exemption until 2022, he said, the government should also provide attractive tax relief packages including income tax exemption to licenced travel companies and further encourage investment in the tourism industry

“The government should take our call seriously because the tourism sector had contributed a significant amount of revenue as it was ranked third, having contributed 15.9 per cent to the Malaysian economy after the manufacturing and commodity sectors, in 2019,” he said. – Bernama

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