KUCHING: Viewing the current Tourism Tax spat as state versus federal on state rights, Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Henry Harry Jinep, called for a “speedy and gentleman’s approach in the spirit of Barisan Nasional comradeship” to resolve the ongoing row.
Jinep said any delay in putting an end to the row could lead “to raising matters that could further hurt the feelings and sentiments of the people in Sabah and Sarawak”.
“As it is, the issue had caused much grouses and dissatisfaction among the people of the two states,” he said of the row sparked by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz verbal attack on Sarawak’s Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Nazri had labelled Karim a political greenhorn and a ‘gangster’ who should better shut up after Karim had called for a deferment on the implementation of the recently passed Tourism Tax in the state.
Karim had said earlier the state was never consulted on the Bill before it was presented to parliament and that it tantamount to Putrajaya again showing its disrespect for the Malaysia Agreement 1963 – the agreement that the Federation of the Malay states, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah agreed to to form the Federation of Malaysia.
Singapore later pulled out of the federation.
“If not handled with due care and promptly, it can even pose adverse effects on BN in the coming general elections,” he said referring to Nazri , who is from Umno while Karim is from Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the two largest parties in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
“It’s not a personal tiff between Nazri and Karim. I do not see it as one.
“It is more of a federal versus state on rights and recognising Sarawak’s rights is the only way to resolve the current feud,” he said.
“Karim is speaking on the interest of Sarawak and one of upholding the state’s right,” Jinep said as he joined most Sarawakians in backing Karim.
He said if Karim had not, it further erode the state’s rights which the Sarawak forefathers who drew up the Malaysia Agreement had fought for.
On the state government’s withdrawal from the Malaysia Tourism Board, Jinep described it as “a practical and strategic move”.
“The decision showed the state government means business for Sarawakians and that we are not to be taken for a ride any longer.”
Karim yesterday clarified the withdrawal had no link to his spat with Nazri.
A source, pointing to Karim’s disclosure on May 10 there was no federal allocation for the tourism sector in Sarawak this year, said there was therefore no point in having a representative in MTB. – dayakdaily.com