(Updated) Budget 2024: A wide range of incentives for tourism, arts, film, creative, entertainment fields

File photo of a stage performance by the Temple of Fine Arts. The creative industries from arts, to film production are set to enjoy several incentives including reduced entertainment tax, award programmes and more.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced a wide range of incentives for the tourism, arts, film, entertainment and creative industries when presenting the 2024 Budget in Parliament here today.

Pointing out the richness of the country’s cultural and traditional heritage as well as its natural resources, Anwar said in the area of tourism, the niche markets of ecotourism will be among those that will continue to be promoted.

Other tourism areas that will be promoted include scuba diving, golfing, medical as well as wedding destinations.

He said these posed high potential and well planned structures will help energise these areas and ensure their capacities to become engines of development for the country’s economy.

Along this line, Anwar announced:

  • 2026 as Visit Malaysia Year
  • An estimated 26.1 foreign tourists are expected to visit the country with a contribution of 97.6 billion ringgit in expenditure
  • Govt to allocate RM350 million to promote tourism activities towards bringing back Malaysia as a leading tourist destination including Visit Malaysia 2026 campaign.
  • The budget will also cover collaboration with industries to carry out promotions both within and outside the country.
  • Assistance to more than 200 operators of arts and cultural activities
  • Matching grants to chartered international flights to Malaysia to facilitate easier passage of travel
  • Funds for Islamic Tourism Centre to develop Muslim friendly tourist industries.
  • Heritage buildings, areas and premises that are tourist attractions will continue to be maintained well .
  • RM20 million will be allocated to state governments for the maintenance of tourist attractions such as Tasik Timah Tasoh in Perlis, Kenong Rimba Park in Pahang, and Pantai Teluk Kemang in Negeri Sembilan.
  • RM80 million has been also allocated for the development of heritage buildings and sites with the potential of being acknowledged by UNESCO, including Niah Caves in Sarawak; Bujang Valley in Kedah and Perak’s Royal Belum.
  • RM20 million ringgit has been allocated for Think City to enhance and raise Kuala Lumpur as a creative city.
  • Easing of Employment Pass approvals for strategic investors in main sectors.
  • Introduction of long term social visit passes for international students who have completed their studies and can provide their service in high skilled industries.
  • Improve Visa-On-Arrival process, social visit and multiple entry passes to encourage tourists especially from China and India
  • Relaxation of regulations for applications for Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H).

A total of RM160 million has been allocated to local creative talents to produce more works and undertake various initiatives.

Under this, Anwar announced:

  • An allocation of RM60 million under the Digital Content Fund to promote local contents that support national values
  • An allocation of RM90 million under the Film in Malaysia Incentive (FIMI) to encourage international level films and RM10 million for matching grants under MyCreative to support artists to produce creative works
  • Government will reduce entertainment tax in the Federal Territory in line with Selangor’s move to do the same from 25 percent to the following rates: Full exemption for stage presentations by local artists, reduction to 5 percent on entertainment tax for theme parks, family recreation centres, indoor games and simulators.
  • Entertainment tax for stage presentations by foreign artists and entertainments like films, sports and games will be reduced to 10 percent.

Anwar also called on state governments to consider reducing duties on 51 entertainment services that will support local creative artists and raise the country’s tourism industry.

He said he had also studied an input during the Madani Budget roadshow in Johor in relation to the government’s vision to encourage foreign film production units to Malaysia and provide competitive incentives compared with other countries.

In this term, the government is planning on fixing the special tax income to between zero and 10 percent for the film production companies, foreign actors and the crew taking their film in Malaysia.

Anwar also announced that the government will once again sponsor the Anugerah Seni Negara, an award in recognition of arts practitioners in the country.
— WE