CM rejects Nazri’s RM1 tourism tax

Abang Johari (centre in grey suit) stop to admire a welcoming dance performed by special needs students as he arrived at the Borneo Convention Centre in Kuching (BCCK) to open the 2nd international conference on special education (ICSE) On the left is Sarawak Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Michael Manyin. -

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KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg has flatly rejected Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s tourism tax sharing proposal of giving Sarawak and Sabah RM1 for every RM10 in tax per room – per night of the tax collected.

Sarawak has also submitted its request to defer the implementation of the controversial tax to after March 31 next year.

The chief minister, when asked by reporters if he agreed to Nazri’s proposal, replied with an emphatic “No” and said Sarawak would stick to its demand that the tax be shared equally among Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya.

Answering reporters question after opening the 2nd international conference on special education (ICSE) at the Borneo Convention Centre in Kuching (BCCK), he said Sarawak and Sabah had made their stand clear in the joint memorandum they had submitted to Prime Minister Najib Razak and they are sticking by it.

He did not elaborate or go into details on the memorandum.

State Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that the memorandum was handed to Najib, in his capacity as finance minister, on July 4.

It was signed by him and Sabah Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

Karim said the memorandum sought a deferment on the implementation of the tax to next year and for the proceed to be divided equally among the three regions, Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula.

The implementation was to be tomorrow – August 1 – after being pushed back from July 1.

The chief minister had at his Raya open house in June told reporters that the tax would be divided equally three-way after his meeting with the prime minister.

Karim, who yesterday said he was caught by surprise by Nazri’s announcement, now wants an explanation from him.

Nazri had been back pedalling on the tourism tax since it came under heavy opposition from Sabah and Sarawak.

Five days ago, he announced that Malaysians were exempted from paying the tourism tax for all types of hotels and accommodation premises, another climb down from his earlier decision where he stated Malaysians were only exempted from paying when staying in three-star rated accommodations and below.

The tax will instead only apply to foreign tourists and they will be charged a flat rate of RM10 per night- per room for all types of hotels and accommodation.

This is also a climb down as prior to this, he said the rates were at RM20 for five-star accommodations, RM10 for four-star accommodations, RM5 for one- to three-star accommodations and RM2.50 for non-rated accommodations. –