The recent announcement of Budget 2019 by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in the Parliament has caused mixed emotions among Malaysians. If you had missed the announcement on Friday, 2 November 2018, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we will be focusing on how Budget 2019 affects travelling and at the same time the tourism industry generally.

Free Bus Services in KL

Kuala Lumpur City Council will allocate RM20 million next year to provide additional free GoKL free bus services. This is also done to improve the public transport coverage in Kuala Lumpur which can be benefited by citizens and travellers alike.

Unlimited Pass for Public Transport

The government will introduce a RM100 unlimited public transport pass which is set to start on 1 January 2019. This means that the holders of the pass will be able to travel anywhere they desire via public transports with only a single payment. 


More Duty Free Islands

Tax free incentives is to be given to Penang’s Swettenham Pier and also declare Pulau Pangkor as a duty free island to further promote domestic tourism.

Improved Medical Tourism

The government will also allocate RM20 million for the Malaysia Healthcare Tourism Council (MHTC). This is done to promote medical tourism, which has been gaining global recognition as of recently. MHTC is expected to generate 25% growth in a year to collaborate with reputable private hospitals to enable the branding of Malaysia as a destination of coice for medical tourism.

Increase of Malaysia’s Railway Transits

The government will proceed with several infrastructure projects such as the Light Rail Transit 3 (LRT3) and Mass Rapid Transit 2 (MRT2) projects. The LRT3 and MRT2 projects, which are expected to be fully operational in 31 August 2020 and July 2022 respectively, will provide better public transportation coverage to the people. This will increase accessability for the citizens and also the travellers.

However, it’s not all roses. Here are 3 main travelling downsides to this budget proposal:

Taxing All Overseas Trip

It was also announced by Lim Guan Eng that the government proposed to impose a departure levy for all outbound travellers by air, which will commence on 1 June 2019. The proposed rates are RM20 for outbound travellers to ASEAN countries and RM40 for outbound travellers to countries other than ASEAN. This is done to promote domestic tourism.

Pay More for Casinos

Now for the bad news; the government has increased the taxes, fees and levy on the Gaming Industry. The increment in taxes, fees and levy of the Gaming Industry are as follows; casino license will be increased from RM 120 million to RM 150 million per annum, casino duties will be increased up to 35% on gross collection, machine dealer’s license will be increased from RM 10,000 to RM 50,000 per annum and gaming machine duties will be increased to 30% on gross collection. If you’re planning to visit the casino during your visit to Malaysia starting from next year, expect an increase in the services provided.

To learn more about Budget 2019, click here.

Text by Imran Sukri

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