Tourists have to pay new tax for Malaysian hotel stays from July 1

Those who book a stay at the five-star Grand Hyatt in Kuala Lumpur would probably pay the highest tier of the new tax, which is $6.50.
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia will start imposing the new tourism tax for hotel stays on July 1, its tourism minister told the media yesterday (June 8).

Tourists booking a stay at a registered hotel or inn can expect to pay between 80 cents and $6.50 for each room per night.

Passed in Parliament in April, the Tourism Tax Bill 2017 excludes home stays, kampung stays and boarding schools.

Malaysia expects to receive some 32.2 million visitors this year, up from 31 million visitors last year, according to a minister in a report in The Star.

But the new tax also applies to local visitors.

In response to the passing of the bill, totel operators had called for it to be waived for locals and asked the government to postpone the implementation so that they would have enough time to adjust their booking system.

But it looks like the government is quite adamant about introducing it in July.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told reporters yesterday that MPs had unanimously approved the bill and the gazette on the tax was automatic according to operating procedures.

"So our target is July 1," he said.

chenj@sph.com.sg

Related: How much tax you have to pay according to hotel categories