KUALA LUMPUR: Associations affected by the new electricity tariffs have urged the government to provide a moratorium on the new tariffs to all commercial users until year-end.

In a joint statement, they said this action would enable affected companies to recover, especially after the pandemic.

The associations, in the statement, further said they could only start recovering from the aftermath of the pandemic after borders were re-opened at the start of the second quarter of last year.

"We were also unable to fully capitalise on the recovery period due to still being affected by the lingering after-effects of the pandemic, such as the manpower shortage and the growing general caution for people to travel.

"Additionally, recent legislation such as the minimum wage revision and amendments to the Employment Act have further hampered our industries' recovery process.

"Now, we also have to contend with this immense and sudden upsurge in their energy bill price hits below the belt.

"Hence, we would like to sincerely urge the Government to provide a moratorium for the new electricity tariffs to all commercial users until the end of 2023 to provide us time to recover," they said.

The joint statement included the Bumiputra Retailers Organisation (BRO), Association Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), the Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (MAHO), the Malaysia Budget & Business Hotel Association (MyBHA), the Malaysian Association of Themepark & Family Attractions (MATFA), Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA) and Persatuan Pengurusan Kompleks Malaysia (PPK) – Malaysia Shopping Malls Association.

The Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) implemented the new electricity surcharge last month.

The surcharge, introduced during the Electricity Tariff Adjustment for Peninsular Malaysia announcement on December 16, 2022, saw medium voltage (MV) and high voltage (HV) users and multinational corporations paying 20 sen/kwj as opposed to the previous rate of 3.7 sen/kwj.

"As electricity is an essential utility for businesses to operate, it also constitutes a significant portion of its operational costs.

"Recently, hotels, theme parks, entertainment and related industries including shopping malls and retailers all over the country were shocked when they received their January energy bills as they, on average, faced a minimum of 20 per cent to 30 per cent increase in their monthly energy bill compared to the year prior with similar usage," they said.

They added that the constant and increasing pressure on their businesses has made them unable to operate efficiently and effectively.

"We hope to hear a favourable response soon, and we are always open for talks with the Ministry for the overall betterment of the industry in Malaysia."