Tuesday, September 24

Lawyer claims departure levy unconstitutional, sues government

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Any imposition of a departure tax in addition to the existing service and airport taxes would be burdensome and harsh, R Kengadharan said. 

KUCHING: A lawyer in Kuala Lumpur is challenging the constitutionality of the departure levy imposed on people flying out of Malaysia which is set to be enforced on Sept 1 this year.

R Kengadharan, in his originating summons filed in the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday, said the move breached his fundamental right to travel, news portal FMT reported today.

The lawyer is seeking a declaration that the Departure Levy Act 2018 and the Departure Levy Order 2019 goes against Article 5 (1) of the Federal Constitution and cannot be enforced.

In his affidavit, he said any form of tax imposed, including on those who wish to go on pilgrimage or to perform the haj, is a violation of the fundamental liberties guaranteed in the constitution.

He also said that any imposition of a departure tax in addition to the existing service and airport taxes would be burdensome and harsh.

The news report said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Putrajaya were named as defendants.

It was reported last week that anyone who flies out from Malaysia will have to pay tax in the form of a departure levy ranging from RM8 to RM150.

For those flying out from Malaysian to Asean countries, a departure levy of RM8 will be imposed for economy class passengers on flights while those flying other than economy class will be charged RM50.

Those flying out from Malaysia to countries outside of the Asean region will be charged a departure levy of RM20 if they are flying economy, and RM150 if they are flying other than economy class.

Economy class refers to flights that are advertised and sold by airlines using economic terms or their equivalent, or having the lowest prices when compared to other packages, the Departure Levy (Rate of Departure Levy) Order 2019 explained.

The levy will not be imposed on infants and toddlers aged below 24 months or two years old or pedestrians.

Also exempted from the departure levy are aircraft passengers transiting via Malaysia, namely if they arrive in Malaysia from abroad and leave (whether it is in the same or different aircraft or with the same or different flight number) Malaysia to the next destination with the transit period not exceeding 12 hours.

Exempted from the departure levy are any crew on duty on board any vehicle (including aircraft or vessel), and anyone driving or riding any type of vehicle for personal use (including aircraft or vessel) and pillion riders or passengers of such vehicles.