RM2 Heritage Tax from April 1
By JASON GERALD JOHN AND HANIS MEKETAB
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Malacca hopes to collect RM7m a year from tourists staying at lodging facilities
MALACCA: Come April 1, all guests at hotels, resorts, chalets, apartments and lodging facilities in Malacca would have to pay a Heritage Tax, which would be used to help preserve heritage sites in the city centre.
However, instead of the five per cent surcharge on the published room rate as announced last year, it has been fixed at a flat rate of RM2.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the state hoped to collect about RM7 million annually once the tax comes into force.
"The RM2 Heritage Tax would be collected from 241 premises such as hotels, resorts, chalets, apartments and lodging facilities which currently provide some 12,857 rooms for both locals and foreigners.
"The five per cent surcharge on the published room rate referred to as Heritage Tax was supposed to come into force last September but hoteliers did not agree to it.
"But this time around, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), Malaysian Budget Hotels Association (MBHA) and the Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (MAHO) proposed to us to set the Heritage Tax at RM2 and we agreed.
"The Heritage Tax is solely for the preservation and conservation of the heritage sites in the city centre which were recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco)," he said after meeting hoteliers at the Seri Negeri Auditorium, here, yesterday.
Ali said that the state was planning to introduce the tax on Feb 1 but had to postpone it to April 1, as local and foreign tour agents have contracts signed with them till March 31.
Ali said visitors staying in the Historical City should consider the surcharge as their contribution towards the conservation of the local heritage sites.