Karim blasts Nazri over tourism tax

Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

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KUCHING: Tourism and Culture Datuk Nazri Aziz should look at Sarawak and Sabah from a different perspective and not to equate them with states in Malaya, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said today.

He made the comment when reacting to Nazri’s call for Sarawak and Sabah to come and see him on the tourism tax distribution.

Sarawak and Sabah governments have expressed their unhappiness with Nazri for saying that the two states would receive RM1 for every RM10 collected from tourism tax.

This statement contradicted with his earlier statement that Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya would get equal share of the tourism tax collection.

Karim slammed Nazri for his contradictory statements.

“We have insisted that the distribution should be shared equally,” he told reporters, adding that Sarawak and Sabah are not like any states in Malaya.

“Apart from that, he should know that tourism is a subject matter that Sarawak has claimed as a state’s rights,” he said, adding that “tourism” was only inserted as item 25A in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution in 1994 as a federal matter.

“When we formed Malaysia in 1963, tourism was never discussed and that was why it was not in the State List and Federal List then. When it is not in the Federal List or State List, it is deemed, as lawyer Nazri should know, to be in the Residual List.

“If it is in the Residual List, tourism is a state matter. That is the reason why Sarawak created the Tourism Ministry in 1985 and then the Sarawak Tourism Board.

“Nazri will have to look at it differently when it comes to Sarawak and Sabah.

“Why is it so difficult for him to come to Sarawak to explain to the chief minister?

“Is it so difficult?” he asked Nazri.

He said tourism is not something that comes under the purview of state tourism ministry, but that rather it is a question of rights of the state.

He said Sarawak is not asking a 100 per cent share of the tourism tax, but an equal share among the three regions – Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya.

Asked whether he would meet Nazri, Karim replied:”Well, it takes 90 minutes for him to come. I can welcome him at the airport and bring him to the chief minister (Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg) and explain to him.”

“Nazri should look down at us rather badly. Is it so difficult for him to come Sarawak? We are also part of Malaysia. No need to be afraid to come,” Karim said. – dayakdaily.com