MATTA calls for subsidy extension

PETALING JAYA, 2 October 2020: Local travel companies are counting on an extension of the government’s ‘Kita Prihatin’ assistance package to save the country’s travel industry.

First reported by Star news online, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the extension of the additional allocation under the package’s Wage Subsidy Programme version 2.0 would be a big help to travel agents.

“We have all been badly impacted… The MYR600 wage subsidy is a good gesture to cushion the situation that has impacted us, especially payroll costs,” he noted.

Tan has been campaigning to get banks to adopt a more flexible policy to extend the loan repayment moratorium for the tourism industry as well as for individuals linked to tourism.

The “Kita Prihatin stimulus package” is considered a lifeline for local tourism players that have now gone almost 10 months without income from international tourism.

Hotel owners are also clamouring for more support with the Star news channel saying there was a call for a service tax waiver for the hotel industry as well as a plea for discounts on utility bills such as electricity, 

Sarawak Tourism Federation chief operating officer Franklin Simon said the extension of the wage subsidy was definitely Welcomed.

“As companies adapt to the ever-fluid and fragile situation, the aid from the Federal Government will definitely ease the pressure on companies, although not as a long-term solution,” Franklin said.

He said the tourism industry was projected to lose at least 80% revenue this year alone.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin recently announced a second wage subsidy scheme to assist companies still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the subsidy would be given to companies experiencing revenue reduction of up to 30% compared to last year since the recovery movement control order.

A wage subsidy of MYR600 monthly will be given to a maximum of 200 employees each for three months.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri recently said the tourism industry had been hit by an estimated MYR45bil in losses due to the pandemic.

(Source: The Star and MATTA)

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