‘Tourism tax proof govt doesn’t understand Sabah, Sarawak’

Azis-JammanPETALING JAYA: Parti Warisan Sabah Youth chief Azis Jamman says the tourism tax is proof that Umno does not understand the sensitivities of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

He said in implementing the tax, the government had overlooked the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), showing that it had no intention of fulfilling it.

“The tourism tax was implemented without taking the views of both states, as if Sabah and Sarawak are only passengers who follow the desire of their master Umno from the peninsula,” he said in a statement today.

Claiming that the tax would place an extra burden on Sabah and Sarawak, which is already dealing with the withdrawal of subsidies and the GST, Azis said Prime Minister Najib Razak was only giving “false hope” to Sabahans and Sarawakians.

He also questioned Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz’s statement that the revenue from the tax would be channelled back to the states according to their collection, saying it showed the government is practising favouritism.

“Why was this system not applied by Umno leaders in redistributing oil revenue to Sabah and Sarawak while states in the peninsula, except Terengganu, do not contribute any oil revenue?

“When the Saudi king came to Malaysia, Najib sent the investment to Johor that doesn’t have any oil at all,” he said.

He pointed to former deputy finance minister Ahmad Maslan who had said that revenue from the GST would be returned to the people.

“After one year, not only have we not seen this, but the revenue has been used to settle the 1MDB debt.

“Now Nazri is using the same words when he says the income (from the tourism tax) will be given back to the people. Can we trust Umno again when it comes to money?”

Arguing that the Barisan Nasional coalition could not form the government without the inclusion of MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, Azis said the next general election (GE14) would be a platform for the states to “unite and teach Umno a lesson about respect and sensitivities”.

The tourism tax will come into effect on July 1. Once implemented, it will see both locals and foreigners paying a levy to operators, on a per room and per night basis, at the same rate.

The tax for non-rated hotels will be RM2.50, while the tax for two-star ones is RM5, three-star RM10, four-star RM15 and five-star RM20.