Malaysia to impose tourism tax from July, not August: Minister
A view of Kuala Lumpur skyline in Malaysia February. Reuters

Malaysia will start imposing the new tourism tax for hotel stays from July and not from August, Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said on Thursday. According to an earlier announcement by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, the tourism tax was supposed to be imposed from Aug 1. The webpage with details on the tax has been taken down.

Nazri also shot down a news report which claimed the implementation of the tax would be postponed. "The gazette (on Tourism Tax) is automatic, in accordance with the country's procedures, when it is approved by the parliament. If we want to say it has not been gazetted, that's right, but it cannot prevent the will of our MPs who have unanimously approved to implement this tax, and it will be implemented," he told Bernama.

"So our target is Jul 1," he added. Nazri also said that the tax will be collected from all types of premises used as accommodation for tourists, such as registered hotels and inns.

The taxes are levied on rates starting from RM2.50 (S$0.80) a room each night at a non-rated accommodation to RM20 a room each night at a five-star accommodation.

During the last session of parliament, the Tourism Tax Bill 2017 tabled by Nazri was approved in a majority vote. While winding up the debate on the Bill, the minister said that the tax would be the source of revenue of about RM654.62 million if Malaysia's 11 million hotel rooms see a 60 per cent occupancy rate.