Tour Buses and Vans Should not be Excluded from the Diesel Subsidy Program

MCA Youth has called on the government to reconsider its decision to exclude tour bus and van operators from the diesel subsidy aid program, highlighting significant potential repercussions for Malaysia’s tourism industry.

According to FMT, Deputy Chief Chong Yew Chuan expressed concerns that without these subsidies, the cost of operating tour buses and vans will rise, making Malaysia less competitive as a tourist destination. This, according to Chong, threatens the livelihood of tourism operators and could have broader negative implications for the country’s economic growth.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim recently announced that the Cabinet had approved targeted diesel subsidies for Peninsular Malaysia. These subsidies will benefit 10 types of public transport vehicles and 23 types of goods transport vehicles. However, the new diesel subsidy aid program, introduced by the finance ministry, does not extend to diesel motorcycles, caravans, motorhomes, and, notably, tour vans and buses. Eligible recipients under this program will receive RM200 monthly.

Chong emphasised that with the ringgit’s continuous depreciation, it is an opportune time to attract international tourists to spur growth in the tourism sector. He pointed out that while the government has often emphasised revitalising the national economy through tourism, the decision to end diesel subsidies for tourist transport could counteract these efforts by increasing domestic travel costs. This move, Chong warned, could diminish Malaysia’s appeal as a tourist destination, undermining the government’s initiatives to draw more visitors.

Chong also noted that the government has set ambitious targets for the tourism sector, aiming for 36 million tourist arrivals and RM150 billion in tourist receipts for Visit Malaysia Year 2026. However, without adequate support for the tour transport sector, achieving these goals might be jeopardised. Thus, Chong’s statement underscores the need for a policy review to ensure the continued growth and competitiveness of Malaysia’s tourism industry.

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