SUPP Dudong slams departure tax as additional burden on rakyat

Wong speaking to the public at Sg Pak Da Ba Wang temple.

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KUCHING, Oct 2: The departure tax imposed by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is seen as exploiting the rakyat’s hard earned money, says Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Dudong chairman Wong Ching Yong.

The tax came into effect on Sept 1, forcing Malaysians travelling abroad to pay not just a departure tax but also a Passenger Service Charge (PSC).

Wong in a press statement claimed that Malaysia is the only country in the world whereby Malaysians have to pay two different taxes when travelling overseas.

Speaking at a gathering with the branch’s executive committee and the public at Sg Pak Da Ba Wang temple recently, Wong criticised the PH government as being callous to the economic difficulties faced by the people.

The departure tax is divided into economy class and non-economy class involving two kinds of destinations, namely ASEAN countries and non-ASEAN countries. The tax charged is RM8 (Asean country), RM20 (non-Asean country), RM50 (business class, Asean countries) and RM150 (business class, non-Asean) per passenger.

Passengers departing from KLIA2 to Asean countries have been paying PSC ranging between RM8 and RM32.

“Transport minister Anthony Loke said that the departure tax is paid to the government and the PSC is paid to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM). He said the two payments are of different nature and PSC is not a tax. Such a statement is ridiculous and unconvincing.

“From the views of passengers, regardless of whether departure tax or PSC, the money comes from the pocket of the people who are the victims. The imposition of departure tax also contravenes PH’s election promise no. 32 of the Buku Harapan which stipulates ‘Taxation is a mechanism to help the government fund programmes to help the people. It is important for the nation’s tax policy to contribute towards more sustainable economic development, encourage investment, and at the same time not burden low income earners,” Wong lamented.

Calling on the PH government to abolish the departure tax with immediate effect, Wong said it is not only an economic burden for the people but is also unfriendly to the business community.

He added that the PH government also failed to fulfil its election promises made before the GE14, particularly the promise of returning 20 per cent oil royalties to Sarawak.

“The leaders of Sarawak PH repeatedly and publicly stated that as long as PH came to power, they would immediately return 20 per cent oil royalties unconditionally to Sarawak. Then recently, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said it is difficult to return the 20 per cent oil royalties to Sarawak, while Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that it is not practical to give 20 per cent oil royalties back to Sabah and Sarawak,” Wong observed. — DayakDaily