Sarawak minister lauds move to exempt locals from tourism tax

Abdul-Karim-Rahman-Hamzah_pelancong_600

PETALING JAYA: Sarawak minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has hailed the federal government’s decision to exempt Malaysians from paying the tourism tax.

In a report by The Borneo Post, the state tourism, arts, culture, youth and sports minister said he hoped the tax collection would be distributed fairly in order to promote the tourism industry.

“The tax implementation proposal keeps changing and I hope this time around it is confirmed so that it will not burden the people,” he was quoted as saying at a press conference on Wednesday night.

He added that RM10 was a small amount to charge foreigners for their stay at hotels.

On Wednesday, Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz said Malaysians would be exempted from paying the tourism tax while foreigners would pay a flat fee of RM10 per room per night, regardless of the star rating of a hotel.

He told the Dewan Rakyat that the flat rate would make it easier for Customs to collect taxes based on the number of rooms booked at a hotel, adding that the implementation date of the tax would be announced soon.

The Tourism Tax Bill 2017 was passed by the Dewan Rakyat on April 6.

The tourism tax was fixed and charged on a per-room, per-night basis, with the amount subject to the rating of the hotel. For non-rated hotels, the tax was RM2.50; two-star, RM5; three-star, RM10; four-star, RM15; and five-star or higher, RM20.

The tax was originally meant to be implemented on July 1. It was then moved to Aug 1, and later postponed indefinitely, as the ministry wanted to give hotels a chance to develop the mechanism for the collection with the customs department.

No tourism tax for Malaysians, foreigners pay RM10 flat rate