S’wak minister sees red over Putrajaya going back on tourism tax promise

S’wak minister sees red over Putrajaya going back on tourism tax promise

A Sarawak cabinet member has blasted the federal government over the reduction of the state’s share of the tourism tax from the promised 33.33 percent to 10 percent.

State tourism, arts, culture, youth and sports minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he was taken aback by the reduction.

“This (equal distribution among Sabah, Sarawak and ) was proposed by the federal Tourism and Culture Minister (Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz) himself and later by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“Why suddenly reduce it to RM1 for every RM10 per room per night collected from each state?” the Asajaya assemblyperson told The Borneo Post yesterday.

Sabah’s minister of tourism, culture and environment Masidi Manjun has also asked for his state to be given a more equitable share of the tourism tax, said Abdul Karim.

“Since this tourism tax is meant for promotion of tourism, both Sarawak and Sabah should not be equated like the other states in Malaysia when it comes to the division of this tax,” he said.

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Nazri Aziz on July 6 said revenue collected from the tourism tax will be channeled back to Sarawak and Sabah in equal proportions to the federal share, that is, 33.33 percent to each Borneo state.

However, last Wednesday Nazri changed his tune and announced that for every RM10 collected, RM1 would be returned to the respective state governments to fund their tourism promotion activities.

Nazri and Karim had been engaged in a war of words over the introduction of the tourism tax nationwide earlier this month.

Nazri had reportedly told Karim not to behave “like a gangster” after the latter repeatedly urged Putrajaya to defer the previous July 1 implementation of the tax for Sabah and Sarawak.

The Sarawak government later withdrew its representative from the Malaysian Tourism Board.