Tourism Tax dispute, settled

Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

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Putrajaya: The tourism tax dispute between Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, Sabah and Sarawak is over, said Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said the issues were discussed in the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday and the matter be put to rest.

“In the meeting, we agreed that no statements would be issued by any leaders from the federal and state government over the issue,” he said in a press conference after the closing of a workshop on renewing Islamic education by the Islamic Education Coordination Advisory Board at Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here today.

Ahmad Zahid said he also personally met with Sarawak’s Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg and Sabah’s Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Aman over the issue.

“I personally asked them to end the dispute… I can conclude that the matter has been solved,” he said.

The government has recently decided to impose the tourism tax on hotel accommodation at the rates of between RM2.50 and RM20 per room per night with effect July 1.

Sarawak’s Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah had urged Putrajaya to defer the July 1 implementation of the tourism tax for Sabah and Sarawak.

However, Nazri chided Abdul Karim over his remarks and labelled him as a “greenhorn” and not to behave like a ‘gangster’.

Following this, Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office issued a statement that the state decided to withdraw from the Malaysia Tourism Board. Later, the move was emulated by Sabah.

When asked to comment on the Sabah and Sarawak’s move to withdraw from the tourism board, Ahmad Zahid said “we have closed the book”.

“Now, we focus to start a new chapter,” he said.