Providers of digital bookings for accommodation must register with MyTTx next year

Service providers of accommodation bookings using the digital platform are required to register with the Malaysian Tourism Tax System (MyTTx) under the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, the latest three months before July next year to ensure the implementation of the taxation system. Deputy Finance Minister II Mohd Shahar Abdullah said the implementation of the service provider tax is expected to increase the government’s revenue from tourism tax by between RM21 million and RM46 million. “Any business premises or service providers using the digital platform who defy this are liable to be fined up to RM30,000 or jailed not less than one year or both,” he said when winding up the debate on the Tourism (Amendment) Bill 2020. (Bernama)

Govt urged to set screening fee

With the Covid-19 screening being mandatory for all foreign workers, employers are urging the government to control the service fee imposed by clinics and hospitals for tests. Rehda president Datuk Soam Heng Choon said several months ago, prices of the RTK and PCR tests were cheaper when screening was not mandatory. “Prices have gone up now that it’s mandatory to test all foreign workers. The government should set price control to prevent unnecessary rush or profiteering, ” he said. Soam said RTK that used to cost between RM50 and RM60 several months ago was now priced RM100 to RM120. There are also calls for the government to absorb the service fee since the RTK is subsidised for foreign workers who contribute to Socso. On Dec 1, Socso reportedly said it would provide RTK test kits for about 900,000 foreign workers, who are contributors to the body, for the Covid-19 screening programme. It said panel clinics or hospitals registered under the programme were free to determine their service fees. (The Star Online)

Medical personnel collecting samples for Covid-19 testing from flat residents in Subang Jaya in October.
(Source: The Star)

Govt to speed up approval for entry of business travellers, subject to strict conditions

The government is in the midst of improving the process in order to expedite and smoothen the approval process for business travellers who make short trips to Malaysia for investment purposes. However, they will be subject to strict standard operating procedures (SOPs). To eliminate red tape and bureaucracy, the government has set up a One-Stop Center (OSC) to facilitate a speedy approval process. The OSC — a quadripartite initiative by Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Immigration Department and Ministry of Health — has been operational since October. Such an initiative is aimed at assuring continued inflow of foreign investments when the country is battling with the pandemic. The improvements in the OSC will allow fast-tracking — a green lane of sorts — for those that are eligible. MIDA said the upgraded system will be up and running in January, with details to be announced soon. (The Edge)

Vehicle sales tax exemption extended until June 2021

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has announced the extension of the vehicle sales tax exemption period by a further six months until June 30, 2021. The government had previously given a sales tax exemption for the purchase of new vehicles for the period of June 15 to Dec 31, 2020. the MOF said the full sales tax exemption was implemented for locally assembled – also known as completely knocked down (CKD) – passenger vehicles, including multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). “A 50% sales tax exemption is levied on completely built up (imported) passenger cars, including new and used MPVs and SUVs,” it said. Currently, the sales tax for vehicles is set at 10% for both locally assembled and imported cars. With the exemption, it means that the sales tax is fully waived for the purchase of locally assembled cars while a 5% tax is imposed for imported cars. (Bernama)

UK records over 50,000 COVID cases overnight for first time

Britain recorded more than 50,000 coronavirus cases overnight for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world, according to official figures released Tuesday. Another 53,135 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, marking a new record daily increase in coronavirus cases in the country. The total number of coronavirus cases in the country now stands at 2,382,865. Another 414 have died within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 71,567. Britain is “entering a very dangerous new phase of the pandemic” due to the spread of a new coronavirus variant, said Prof Andrew Hayward, a member of the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG). “We’re going to need decisive, early, national action to prevent a catastrophe in January and February,” he said. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce any changes to England’s tier restrictions on Wednesday. (Bernama)