Sarawak minister says departure levy on land and sea travellers too

Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah says land and sea travel is also subjected to the departure levy announced by Putrajaya.

KUCHING: The upcoming departure levy for those travelling abroad from Malaysia is also applicable for land and sea exit points, says Sarawak’s Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

“Whoever leaves Malaysia through whatever exit, whether by air, by road or by sea, they will have to pay a departure tax, whether you are a Malaysian or a foreigner,” Karim told reporters today.

He was commenting on uncertainties over whether those commuting from Miri to Limbang and Lawas via Brunei would have to pay the new levy.

However, when contacted, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance denied that the levy applies to land and sea travel.

The levy, announced last week by Putrajaya, will be imposed from next month.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the rates would apply to those travelling by air, depending on the destination and on the class of travel.

Karim said he was against the implementation of departure levy, adding the federal government never consulted with Sabah and Sarawak which have autonomy over immigration matters.

“We have certain rights and the state government should be consulted if the federal government wanted to introduce departure levy in the country,” he said.

He said the implementation of the departure levy was also untimely especially when the country had just launched its “Visit Malaysia 2020” campaign.

He said he could not understand why the levy was imposed despite a request by tourism minister Mohamadin Ketapi to defer its implementation.

“I’m not sure why Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had insisted to implement one tax after another in the country.

“Is it because the Pakatan Harapan government has no money? That’s why the PH government shouldn’t have abolished the goods and services tax (GST) because now, they seemed to be scrambling looking for funds,” he said.