Sarawak moves to get tourism off the federal list

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

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KUCHING: State Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Hamzah today disclosed that Sarawak has started talks with Putrajaya to remove tourism from the federal list.

The list is under the 9th schedule of the federal constitution.

Karim said tourism matters in Sarawak was never the right nor was it to be under the purview of the federal government in any agreement.

Responding to reporters’ questions if he had done anything to back his often said claims that tourism had always been under the purview of the state since1963, he said talks for the removal of tourism from the list is being held simultaneously with talks to demand all the other rights the state wants back.

“We are serious about removing it from the federal list,” Karim said after opening the Pre-Asia Pacific orchid conference at the state library in Petra Jaya, Kuching.

Karim had also often claimed the federal government in 1994 had “quietly inserted” tourism to the federal list.

He said as tourism was neither in the federal nor the state list after the Malaysia Agreement was agreed on in 1963, it should automatically fall into the residual list.

“Ask any constitutional lawyer. They will tell you that if the matter is not in the federal or state list, it should be placed in the residual list.

“Under the federal constitution, matters in the residual list are matters under the purview of the state.

“That is why Sarawak had always look at tourism as a state matter.

“That is why Sarawak had a minister for tourism from 1985 long before the federal government appointed its minister for tourism.

“The federal government only had theirs from 1994.”

The appointment coincided with the year Karim claimed the federal government “quietly inserted” tourism into the federal list.

The formation of the tourism promotion board – the Sarawak Tourism Board – was just another indication why Sarawak viewed tourism as a state matter.

“Sarawak has its own tourism board, and Sabah too, to handle their respective tourism promotion.

“Do you see such boards in other states in Malaya?”

Karim also disclosed that Sarawak is working closely with Sabah on removing tourism from the federal list.

“We formed Malaysia together. How we feel is how Sabah feel.” –