KUALA LUMPUR (March 17): The government has introduced new initiatives and extended existing ones for tourism, retail and other sectors that are affected by Covid-19 under the PEMERKASA stimulus package announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today.

To further encourage domestic tourism, the government has extended the exemption for tourism tax and services tax for hotel accommodation until Dec 31, 2021.

It has also announced entertainment duty exemption for entrance fees into entertainment premises including theme parks, stage performances, sports events and movie screenings within Federal Territories. However, the details on the period was not stated.

Individuals who purchase tourism packages from tour agents that are registered with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) are also eligible for tax relief of up to RM1,000.

To support cash flow, companies in the tourism sector and selected sectors such as cinema operators and spa operators are allowed to delay their payment for monthly income tax for the period from April 1 until Dec 31, 2021.

Similarly, the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) levy is exempted for affected tourism and retail sector companies up until June 2021.

Another RM700 million was allocated to extend the Wage Subsidy Programme 3.0 for additional three months for companies involved in tourism, retail and wholesale trade, as well as businesses that were closed during the Movement Control Order (MCO) such as gymnasium and spa. This is expected to benefit 400,000 employees and 37,000 employers, Muhyiddin said.

The government also announced a one-off Special Assistance Grant of RM3,000 for 5,000 tour agencies registered with MOTAC, as well as one-off cash assistance of RM600 for 4,000 homestay operators registered with MOTAC.

Meanwhile, the existing special electricity bill discount of 10% for hoteliers, theme parks, convention centres, shopping malls, local airline offices and tour and travel agencies is now extended for three more months until June 30, 2021.

Concurrently, Bank Negara Malaysia has allocated an additional RM2 billion for its Targeted Relief and Recovery Facility (TRRF), which is provided for affected small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

PEMERKASA, announced today, comprises 20 key initiatives across four key focuses, namely to control the Covid-19 outbreak, to steer economic recovery, to strengthen the nation’s competitiveness, and to ensure the inclusivity agenda.

Muhyiddin said the PEMERKASA package is valued at RM20 billion, which includes a fresh fiscal injection of RM11 billion from the government.