MAATFA urges new govt to repeal 25pc entertainment tax

Tourists are seen wearing masks to protect themselves against the new coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur January 26, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Tourists are seen wearing masks to protect themselves against the new coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur January 26, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — To draw more local and foreign visitors, theme park operators want the new Malaysian government to do away with the 25 per cent entertainment tax imposed on visitor tickets.  

Malaysian Association of Amusement Theme Park & Family Attractions (MAATFA) president Tan Sri Richard CK Koh said the association would send in a proposal soon to the government to abolish the tax which is under the Entertainments Duty Act 1953.

He argued that the tax was originally introduced in theme parks that had entertainment zones such as gambling, sports betting, and night clubs where people paid a lot of money.

“Nowadays theme parks have become a family-oriented zone, where children and families gather, there are no more gambling areas and boxing arenas like years ago.

“But we still impose the tax in the entrance fee which is 25 per cent extra from the ticket price, and making the theme park tickets very expensive to visitors,” he said during a press conference to promote the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia by Matta Fair at the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) headquarters here, today.

On the effects of the Covid-19 scare on theme parks, Koh said from January to February, theme parks in Malaysia have lost almost 50 per cent of their visitors with the loss amounting to RM40 million in terms of revenue.

He said media reports about this virus and fake news have instilled fear in the public and hence many remained indoors.

“We have informed all our 52 members (theme park operators) around the country on the appropriate precautions including to thoroughly sanitise their parks and attractions, and set up hand sanitiser stations in all 82 parks in the country,” he said.

However, according to Koh, since the beginning of March, theme park visitor figures around the country have shown some improvement.

“I think people are getting bored of staying indoors and want to spend time outside, after May this year hopefully everything would turn out to be okay,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, in partnership with Tourism Malaysia, Matta is organising the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia by Matta Fair on April 4 and 5 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), which is the first exclusive fair, promoting and selling domestic destination hotels and attractions.

Matta is also collaborating with MAATFA to allow visitors to enjoy theme parks, which have attracted many tourists in the past, whereby these theme parks will be having big promotions at the fair.

The Pakatan Harapan government, formed after the 14th General Election in May 2018, collapsed on Feb 24 and on March 1, Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed as the new Prime Minister by the King.

Muhyiddin’s Cabinet was sworn in before His Majesty at Istana Melawati in Putrajaya this afternoon. — Bernama

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