Don’t know about departure levy? Scandalous, says former Sabah CM Yong

Former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee has mocked tourism minister Christina Liew for saying she is in the dark over the departure levy.

KOTA KINABALU: Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee has slammed Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew for saying she was not aware of the departure levy to be imposed by the federal government.

Yong, the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, said he was “shocked” and “utterly disappointed” that Liew, who is also the deputy chief minister, claimed to not know about the levy, which will be enforced on Sept 1.

“She is an MP. The departure tax was announced by the federal finance minister in Parliament in November 2018.

“The whole of Malaysia knows about the tax but our Sabah minister does not. This is a scandal of unprecedented proportions,” Yong said in a statement here today.

Yesterday, Liew questioned Putrajaya’s decision to impose the departure levy. She said Sabah had not been consulted.

“I was in the dark, I didn’t know,” she said, adding that the state was looking at claiming at least half the fees collected from Sabah airports.

Yong said that instead of asking for 50% of the departure levy, Liew should have objected to it in the first place.

“The minister has displayed ignorance of something that is going to be a burden on the people and was imposed by her own political party,” he said.

From Sept 1, travellers heading to Asean countries in economy class will have to pay a levy of RM8, while a RM50 levy will be imposed on those flying in other than economy class.

Those flying to non-Asean countries will be charged RM20 if they fly economy class, while those flying other than economy class will need to pay RM150.

The Departure Levy Bill 2019 was passed in April.