MATTA calls for action to save travel firms

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 November 2020: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) expressed grave concerns over the failure of credit and leasing companies to extend loan moratoriums as advised by the Prime Minister.

In a report posted by MATTA earlier this week, the association president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said: “About 10,000 bus operators currently owe up to MYR3 billion. Bus operators have had no business since March, yet they are still required to make repayments to the credit and leasing companies.

“It has been more than six months that the tourism industry, in particular the coach operators, have been highlighting this issue, yet to date, no proactive action has been seen taken to tackle this serious issue,” added Tan.

“This matter had previously been brought up in March 2020 when we received complaints from our members that leasing and credit companies have created their own rules and practices in respect of moratoriums on repayment of loans instead of applying the directions issued by Bank Negara Malaysia.

“Sadly, none of the relevant ministries directly involved such as Ministry of Domestic Trade, Ministry of Housing and Local Government, Ministry of Transport nor the Ministry of Finance, have shown any interest in resolving the predicament of the tourism industry which up till this pandemic had consistently contributed significantly to the growth of the GDP and wealth of the nation.”

He noted that the Budget 2021 provided for sales tax exemption for the purchase of new coaches without acknowledging the reality that many of these coach owners have and will default in repayment obligations and their buses, coaches and vans might then occupy the yards of credit and leasing companies.

The MATTA statement noted that the proposed budget did not address these and other industry issues.

“Failure to address the issues and concerns of the tourism sector will greatly affect the intended tourism restart in the near future in 2021 and may lead some parties to conclude that the government views the industry as dead in 2021.”

He concluded: “It is high time for the government to regulate these credit and leasing companies under the provisions of the Financial Services Act or other relevant legislation.”

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