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Mavcom vows to be transparent on exit tax
Published on: Friday, August 18, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) assured it will be transparent on how the total collection of RM1 levy to be imposed on travellers departing airports in the country starting next year, will be spent.Depending on the traffic of air travelers for each year, the commission estimates to collect between RM30 to RM35 million yearly.

"We will publish our audited accounts every year. In fact our first audited accounts will be made public later this year. So every ringgit and every sen will be accounted for and will be made transparent," its Chief Operating Officer Azmir Zain, said, Thursday.

The new levy will apply to departing passengers for both domestic and overseas destinations except for rural air services in interior Sabah and Sarawak.

Mavcom had previously explained that the purpose of the RM1 levy is to ensure financial sustenance and independence of the commission.

"We feel RM1 is reasonable because the end result is that it brings a lot of benefits and savings to consumers.

That's basically the kind of value air travelers get from paying the levy. In the last 12 months we have shown results. For example, we've lowered the passenger service charge from RM65 to RM35 flat for all Asean destinations. That's a saving of RM30 for customers," he said.

Formed in March, last year, to regulate economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation in Malaysia, Mavcom reportedly received government funding for the first two years of operations.

Mavcom's goal is to promote a commercially viable, consumer-oriented and resilient civil aviation industry which supports the nation's economic growth.

Among its other functions are to provide a mechanism for protection of consumers, provide a mechanism for dispute resolution between aviation industry players, administers and manage air traffic rights and advise the Government, administer and manage routes under public service obligations.

The RM1 levy move, however, may not go down well with some travelers who feel they should not be burdened to help sustain the commission's operations, even though the amount is small.

A national daily reported Thursday that the Malaysian Public Transport Users Association (4PAM) had begun to make noise, even questioning the commission's right to tax passengers to finance its operations.

The matter however will be tabled in parliament later this year, said Azmir.

He pointed out that other aviation agencies also charge passengers directly, citing close neighbour Singapore that charges $6.10 on every departing passenger Aside from the levy, passenger service charge at all Malaysian airports may also be raised from the current RM50 to RM73 for all international flights beyond Asean beginning next year to standardise the system.

Currently, KLIA1 and other international airports in the country including KKIA have different rates from KLIA2.

Passenger service charge is fixed at RM35 for all destinations in Asean.

Azmir further explained that the PSC is an income to the airport operator, not the airline or government.

Meanwhile, he reiterated that KKIA has been forecast to last up to only five years before congestion reaches the ceiling. He confirmed that both the State and Federal Government have been looking into building a new airport but did not elaborate.

"I wish not to steal their thunder. But I'm sure they'll announce in due time," he said. - Leonard Alaza



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