PETALING JAYA: Parti Warisan Sabah today questioned if chief minister Musa Aman had done enough to convey the state’s objection against Putrajaya’s move to introduce the tourism tax on all hotels in the country, including Sabah and Sarawak.
Its vice-president Junz Wong said Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi had yesterday announced that the issue was resolved and the tax would be implemented as planned.
He said Zahid said this the day after Musa was seen breaking fast with him and Prime Minister Najib Razak at Sri Satria in Putrajaya.
He said he was “surprised” by Zahid’s announcement and wondered if Musa had impressed the “aspirations” of Sabahans on the matter to Najib and Zahid.
“If he has, why did the DPM announce that the tourism tax will continue as planned?” Wong, who is the Likas assemblyman, said in a statement today.
“Sabahans are still hoping that the strong-armed tourism tax will be rejected,” he said.
“Warisan’s stand is to reject this tourism tax which will further burden Sabahans and Sabah tourism as a whole,” he added.
He said Sabah’s assistant tourism, culture and environment minister Pang Yuk Ming had stated on June 12 that the state government had yet to decide on the issue.
On June 14, state minister Masidi Manjun claimed that the state had objected to it since 2016, Wong added, saying that Musa was seen breaking fast with Najib and Zahid that very evening.
The tourism tax will come into effect on July 1. Once implemented, it will see both locals and foreigners paying a levy to hotel 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.
Leaders in both Sabah and Sarawak have voiced displeasure over it, saying the states were not consulted beforehand in the spirit of the agreements they had signed with the federal government for the formation of Malaysia in the 1960s.
On June 11, Sarawak tourism minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah was quoted by Borneo Post as saying that the new tax was a glaring example of Putrajaya imposing tax laws in Sarawak without consultation.
This led to an outburst by Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz that same day where he called on Karim to watch his mouth when issuing statements against the federal government. Political leaders from the two states backed Karim in the dispute.
Zahid yesterday said the spat between Nazri and the east Malaysian states was resolved, and that the issue had been deliberated by the federal cabinet on Wednesday.
He said it was agreed that no further statements should be made on the matter by federal and state ministers.
He also said he had personally met the chief ministers of Sarawak and Sabah on Wednesday and the chapter was now closed.