Thursday, 6 July 2017

Best to wait till next year

July 6, 2017

Brooke (centre) presents Abdul Karim (second right) with a memento during the 137th anniversary remembrance and Lan Ngabang Raya joint celebration at Fort Margherita.

Abdul Karim says not time to implement tourism tax yet, several issues yet to be ironed out

KUCHING: The best time to implement tourism tax in Sarawak is early next year, says Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Following a discussion with their Sabah counterparts, Abdul Karim said July 1 was not practical as there are still a number of questions to be answered such as how the taxes would be distributed to East Malaysia, and how the mechanism would work.

“We have to give due consideration to forward booking. We have come up with all these good packages, hoping for tourists to come. 

"They have bought the promotion that we offered via Matta fair and so on. 

"And now, we want to tax them? That’s not good,” he said.

He said those promotions would end next year thus the implementation of tourism tax is best enforced early next year, with the blessing of Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Abdul Karim said there were other reasons they picked next year and they would present the outcome of their discussion in Sabah to Abang Johari at the earliest opportunity

He added that he also discussed this with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi during the latter’s visit earlier this week.

“Hopefully, we’ll have a good ending to all this, a win-win situation for all involved,” he told reporters during the meet-and-greet session with Sarawak Key Tourism Industry Associations here on Tuesday.

The session was held in conjunction with 137th anniversary of Fort Margherita and the Lan Ngabang Raya joint celebration.

Since its opening in Sept 24 last year until June 30 this year, Brooke Gallery has received more than 21,000 visitors from 66 countries, said Jason Brooke the director of Brooke Trust.

“The gallery has hosted five foreign ambassadors and high commissioners as well as royals such as Tunku Zain Al-Abidin Tuanku Muhriz of Negeri Sembilan. It had local drama shootings by Astro, RTM and local producers and a documentary on Sarawak by French-German production house,” he said in his speech.

The gallery has also hosted education programmes for students.

“The gallery is leading the way in showing how a beautiful building can be transformed into a community, tourism and educational resource with some hard work and people working together.”

Sarawak Museum Department director Ipoi Datan, Layar assemblyman Gerald Jabu and wife Rosemarie Wong as well as representatives from Sarawak Tourism Federation and Sarawak Association of Tourism Attractions were present. -TheBorneoPost

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