Sarawak Government Demands At Least 30 Per Cent From Tourism Tax

KUCHING, Aug 11 (Bernama) -- Sarawak has demanded that the state should get its fair share from the tourism tax, which is nothing less than 30 per cent from the collected amount.

Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth, and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that the amount of tax collected must be shared equally by the three regions (Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia).

"We want a larger revenue to be given back to Sarawak; we want at least 30 per cent or more from the amount collected," he added.

Abdul Karim said this when asked by reporters on the latest development with regards to the tourism tax which will be imposed effective Sept 1, whereby foreigners would be charged RM10 per room per night.

Prior to this, Sarawak government wanted the Federal Tourism and Culture Ministry to explain why its share from the tourism tax collected from foreigners had been reduced to RM1 for every RM10 per room per night collected from foreigners.

Abdul Karim said originally it has been agreed that the total collection was to be divided equally among Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah.

"This equal distribution among the three regions was proposed by the federal Tourism and Culture Minister (Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz) himself and later by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi," Abdul Karim said, adding that was why Sarawak has agreed to the implementation of the tourism tax.

Nazri recently said that his ministry planned to return RM1 for every RM10 in tax per room per night collected to the state governments for the purpose of promoting tourism.

Abdul Karim said he fully agreed with the statement by his counterpart from Sabah Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun for Sarawak and Sabah to be given a more equitable share of the tourism tax.

Masidi said both states had been carrying their own tourism promotion over the years at their own cost and hoped this would be taken into account in the division of this revenue from the tourism tax.

"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," Abdul Karim said.

-- BERNAMA