2020 stimulus: Tourism players get 15pc electricity bill discount, tax payment deferral

Interim Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad arrives at the press conference to announce the economic stimulus package announcement at Perdana Putra building in Putrajaya February 27, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Interim Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad arrives at the press conference to announce the economic stimulus package announcement at Perdana Putra building in Putrajaya February 27, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — Tourism-related businesses can delay remitting their monthly income tax to the government and will get a discount on their monthly electricity bills from April to September, the federal government said today.

Interim prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced these incentives to help ease the cash flow of businesses most affected negatively by the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

“First: To allow deferment of monthly income tax instalment payments for businesses in the tourism sector. In addition, companies affected by the Covid-19 to be allowed to revise their profit estimates for 2020 with respect to monthly income tax instalment payments without penalty.

“Second: To provide 15 per cent discount in monthly electricity bills to hotels, travel agencies, airlines, shopping malls, conventions and exhibitions centres,” he said.

He added that hotels and travel-related companies will also be exempted from the Human Resource Development Fund levies for the same six-month period from April to September this year.

Additionally, hotels will be exempted from the 6 per cent service tax from March to August 2020.

“In the spirit of shared responsibility to overcome current challenges, the government calls on industry players to play their part – for hotels to offer discounts and shopping malls to reduce rentals to their tenants.

“Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) will provide rebates on rental for premises at the airport as well as landing and parking charges,” he said in the statement.

While the Covid-19 virus outbreak has been well-contained in Malaysia with 20 out of 22 infected patients already fully-recovered, Dr Mahathir noted that the disease had caused a sharp decline in tourist arrivals throughout the region, with those badly affected being hotels, airlines, travel companies and the tourism-dependent retail industry.

He said the affected companies will be provided with financing facilities, including via Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) RM2 billion Special Relief Facility especially in the form of working capital for Small and Medium Enterprises at an interest rate of 3.75 per cent.

He said Bank Simpanan Nasional will also allocate RM200 million in microcredit facility offering an interest rate of 4 per cent to affected businesses, while the approval process for existing loan funds such as Bank Pembangunan’s RM1.5 billion Tourism Infrastructure Fund will be further streamlined.

“All banks are required to provide financial relief in the form of payment moratorium comprising restructuring and rescheduling loans for affected businesses and individuals. BNM is tasked to ensure that all financial institutions will assist all companies in need without exception,” he said.

The entire economic stimulus package has three strategies, namely to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, spurring rakyat-centric economic growth, and promoting quality investments.

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