Monday, 12 June 2017

Amicable solution to be sought

June 12, 2017

Minister says state govt to discuss Tourism Tax at next meeting to resolve disagreement over its implementation

Abdul Karim (centre) stirring the ‘bubur lambuk’ before distributing it to the people during yesterday’s event.

KUCHING: The state cabinet will discuss in detail the implementation of the Tourism Tax in the state at a state cabinet meeting that will be held soon.

Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the outcome from the state cabinet meeting will enable the state government to come up with a follow up action on the issue.

“I believe it (Tourism Tax) will be discussed in the coming state cabinet meeting and we will make a follow up from that. This matter is higher than my ministry. 

It is the sole right of the state government and the people of Sarawak,” Abdul Karim told reporters after presenting ‘bubur lambuk’ and ‘bubur pedas’ to the people at an event at Sarawak Plaza here yesterday.

The event was organised by Perbadanan Kemajuan Kraftangan Malaysia Sarawak branch in cooperation with Borneo Island Big Bikers (BIBB).

Abdul Karim was responding to federal Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz’s statement, published in a Chinese national daily yesterday, calling him ‘ignorant’. Mohamed Nazri said the levying of taxes is the power of the federal government and once the (Tourism Tax) Bill is passed in Parliament, Sabah and Sarawak should also pay taxes to the federal government.

Abdul Karim was hopeful that the follow up actions taken by the state government on the implementation of the Tourism Tax will be refined and will come up with an amicable result for all parties. 

He added that the state government did not mean to oppose the implementation of the Tourism Tax or the federal government, just that it was not consulted on the matter.

“We know that tourism is a matter which was not discussed when Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was signed. 

In fact, nobody knew about tourism at that time in 1963 and I don’t know whether there was such a term as tourism in 1963.

“So it was not in what we call the Federal List, State List and Concurrent List. So when matters are not in these three lists, any law students or constitutional lawyers will look at it as what we call the Residual List.

“When something is in the Residual List, it is to be discussed between the parties who are signatories to the agreement (MA63) on who should be taking care or looking into this. 

So that was the reason why I am asking why Sarawak was not consulted?”

Abdul Karim distributing ‘bubur lambuk’ to a motorist at Sarawak Plaza yesterday.
 Abdul Karim said he was not trying to brag about Malaysia Agreement (MA63) but since the agreement is related to the formation of Malaysia, every party should respect the agreement.

Abdul Karim said through the years, the state government was also not consulted even when tourism was quietly incorporated into the Federal Constitution under the purview of the federal government.

“But we respect each other and we are not going to make a big fuss out of it but we just don’t want the federal government to treat us like that.

“We are not here to go against the federal government. 

We are just asking them to consult us because there are certain things that may need a little bit of adjustments.”

Abdul Karim said these were among the powers of the state government that had eroded over the years.

“Malaysia is a country that practices democracy, I believe our forefathers who signed the MA63 wanted it to remain like that.

"If there is anything that needs to be discussed, we must discuss it amicably.”

In response to Nazri’s calling him ignorant, Abdul Karim said: “Well, if he thinks that I’m ignorant, I don’t think he knows me that well. 

It is not polite to call somebody ignorant, especially if you’re a senior minister and when this is the month of Ramadan.

“But to me, I’m not slighted. 

"What I’m doing is based on the laws, based on what I know as a lawyer and to look after the interest of Sarawak.” -TheBorneoPost

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