Pangkor could bloom if duty-free done right, say locals

IPOH, Nov 29 — Local  tourism players are cautiously optimistic hopeful about the island’s future as the country’s newest tax-free tourist destination, but said authorities must make the proper choices.

While saying they still did not have details about the move, they still believed it would improve the island’s attractiveness to visitors.

 Pangkor Coral Bay resort shift manager Raja Zaimah Raja Harman claimed tourists arrivals could increase by up to 30 per cent next year as a result, but said this was contingent on the island’s authorities using the tax-free status to expand current offerings.

“At the moment, many of the shops here are selling seafood like salted fish and anchovies,” she told Malay Mail.

“We need larger shops hawking branded goods like chocolates, perfumes, clothes and accessories in addition to the unique attractions of Pangkor,” she said, saying Langkawi was a good example.

Pangkor Sandy Beach Resort manager William Joseph Pillai said he could not yet plan to take advantage of the island’s new status as he was unsure what this entailed.

“Pangkor Island already has strong name-recognition among the public. If the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is waived on the island, it could increase occupancy by around 10 to 20 per cent,” he said.

Separately, Perak Tourism Association chairman Datuk Odzman Kadir said it was vital that any development be balanced against the preservation of Pangkor’s natural treasures.

He said it was imperative to protect the island’s natural beauty, especially its sandy beaches that he said were among the best along the west coast of the peninsula.

“Duty-free shopping is fine, but we must also ensure the beaches are clean and the water is not polluted.

“It is important to take care of the basics. Make sure the hotels, restaurants and resorts are clean and offer good service. Don’t let hawker centres block the stunning views of the sea.” he added.

When tabling Budget 2018, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the island would be declared tax free from next year, with the exception of tobacco, alcohol,and vehicles.

The island will also be exempted from the GST.

Source : Malay Mail Online

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