KUALA LUMPUR – The government will set aside RM50 million to provide training and placements for 8,000 employees of airline companies in Malaysia affected by job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.
Presenting the 2021 budget themed ‘Teguh Kita, Menang Bersama’ (Stand united, We Shall Prevail) in Parliament today, he said the government would also provide employment opportunities for 500 people from the local and Orang Asli communities as tourist guides at all national parks.
He said that to ensure the readiness of tourist hotspots, a total of RM50 million would be provided for the maintenance and repair of tourism facilities nationwide.
“An allocation of RM20 million will be provided to improve the infrastructure and intensify the promotion of cultural villages in Terengganu, Melaka, Sarawak and Negeri Sembilan.
“In addition, RM10 million will be allocated to ensure that national heritage buildings, such as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and Carcosa Seri Negara, will continue to be preserved and become tourism icons,” he said.
Tengku Zafrul said the government would also provide RM35 million to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council to enhance the competitiveness of the country’s health tourism industry.
He stressed that the government would also extend income tax exemption for the export of private healthcare services until the year of assessment 2022.
The government, concerned with traders and hawkers in Sabah being deeply affected by the lack of tourists, also announced a Grant Khas Prihatin of RM1,000 that will be given to 20,000 traders and hawkers in the state. It will also be given to taxi drivers, e-hailing, rental cars and tour drivers in Sabah.
To help reduce the cash flow burden of companies still affected by the pandemic, Tengku Zafrul said an exemption from the HRDF levies would be given for six months, effective Jan 1, 2021. The exemption will cover the tourism sector and companies affected by the COVID-19 crisis.