KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Anyone who flies out from Malaysia will have to pay tax in the form of a departure levy ranging from RM8 to RM150 from this September 1, the government has announced.

In a ministerial order gazetted by the Federal Government on July 31, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng set out the departure levy rates depending on the destination abroad and whether the flight is economy class.

If you are flying from Malaysia to Asean countries, you will have to pay either RM8 as an economy class passenger, or RM50 if you are not flying economy.

Asean countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Those flying out from Malaysia to other countries outside of the Asean region will be charged a departure levy of RM20 if they are flying economy, and RM150 if they are flying other than economy class.

Economy class refers to flights that are advertised and sold by airlines using economic terms or their equivalent, or having the lowest prices when compared to other packages, the Departure Levy (Rate of Departure Levy) Order 2019 explained.

In a separate order also dated July 31, the finance minister said the departure levy will be imposed from September 1.

Separately in another order dated July 31, Lim said the departure levy will not be imposed on infants and toddlers aged below 24 months, or pedestrians.

Also exempted from paying the departure levy are aircraft passengers transiting via Malaysia, namely if they arrive in Malaysia from abroad and leave (whether it is in the same or different aircraft or with the same or different flight number) Malaysia to the next destination with the transit period not exceeding 12 hours.

Exempted from paying the departure levy are any crew on duty on board any vehicle (including aircraft or vessel), and anyone driving or riding any type of vehicle for personal use (including aircraft or vessel) and pillion riders or passengers of such vehicles.

According to the order from the finance minister, certain operators are exempted from having to register and charge the departure tax on passengers.

These include operators of any water or land vehicle, any government operating any type of vehicle carrying out passengers from Malaysia, or any commercial vehicle operators who provide chartered air transport services for carrying workers to oil rigs or platforms.

The Departure Levy Bill 2019 was passed by both the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara this year, with the new law granted royal assent on July 3 and gazetted on July 17.

According to the Departure Levy Act 2019's Section 9, anyone who fails to pay the departure levy where applicable may be fined up to RM500,000, imprisoned up to three years, or both.

In his speech when tabling Budget 2019 on November 2, 2018, Lim had said the government was proposing to impose a departure levy for all outbound travellers leaving Malaysia by air starting from June 1.

Lim had then said the proposal was intended to encourage domestic tourism, also noting that the proposed rates then of RM20 for Asean destinations and RM40 for non-Asean destinations was consistent with rates charged by others such as Thailand (US$20), Hong Kong (US$15) and Japan (US$10).