Saturday, 10 June 2017

Abdul Karim wants enforcement of Tourism Tax deferred

June 10, 2017

KUCHING: Sarawak wants the federal government to defer enforcement of the Tourism Tax, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the state government wanted to have consultation and discussion with the federal government on the matter before the enforcement of the tax here.

“We want the enforcement of the Tourism Tax to be deferred. 

If they do not want to defer it in Semenanjung (Peninsular Malaysia), that is up to them. 

But at least defer it in Sabah and Sarawak.

“You have to respect the Malaysia Agreement 1963. 

And another thing – the state government must have some say in the matter; maybe the state government wants part of the tax collected to be returned. 

There is no federal allocation for the tourism sector in Sarawak this year,” he told reporters here yesterday.

Abdul Karim said this in response to the announcement made by federal Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz that the Tourism Tax – set to see rates of between RM2.50 and RM20 charged for a night stay in hotels – would take effect this July 1.

Abdul Karim also said the state government’s stand did not mean that it was going against the federal government, but he insisted there should be ‘give and take’ between both sides.

“It seems like they are in rush to implement it, which is not very good. 

You are going against the tide. 

That’s how I see it,” he said.

Abdul Karim went on to say that such tax or levy was also imposed in other countries, but the enforcement must be reasonable such as giving different rates to domestic and foreign tourists.

“All hotels would have to register for this tax; otherwise they would be penalised. 

That’s why we want a deferment. 

Let’s negotiate first, don’t do it in a rush,” he said.

Abdul Karim also said when Malaysia was formed in 1963, tourism was not under the federal list, state list and concurrent list, but placed in the residual list where the matter were to be deliberated and discussed between the state and federal governments.

However, tourism was included in the Ninth Schedule some years ago and now treated as being placed under federal list, he pointed out.

The Tourism Tax Bill 2017 tabled by Nazri was approved by majority vote during the last session of the Parliament sitting.

Bernama had quoted Nazri as saying that the tax would be able to bring in an income of about RM654.62 million if there was a 60 per cent occupancy rate at over 11 million hotel rooms in the country. -TheBorneoPost

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