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Sabah, S'wak certain to reject Nazri's room levy
Published on: Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah and Sarawak are expected to make a common stand against the Federal Tourism and Culture Ministry's proposal to impose a tourism service fee on hotel rooms. State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun (pic) said if the fees need to be imposed, the collection should go to the State "so that the State will have more money to promote tourism."

"I have contacted my counterpart in Sarawak (Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg) and both of us feel that Sabah and Sarawak need to take a common stand on the matter," he said.

He said such measure would have far-reaching implications on the tourism industry in Sabah and is not a decision that can be simply made.

"We will present a paper to the State Cabinet tomorrow (Wednesday) and probably we will issue a statement after the meeting.

"But so far, at this point of time, we are not agreeable to it," he said.

Masidi also said that it is not a good time to impose more charges on hotels.

Federal Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz was reported as saying that Sabah and Sarawak can opt to also impose the fee but will not receive any money from the Ministry if they decide not to.

The plan is to impose a Tourism Services Fee (TSF) of between RM5 and RM30 per room, per night on anyone who stays at a hotel or serviced apartment — be it a foreign or local tourist – to raise revenue and promote tourism.

The fee collection, due to come into effect on Sept. 16, will be based on the star rating of the hotel and will be in addition to other fees/taxes levied such as those in Melaka, Penang and Langkawi.

Daily Express understands that Federal tourism allocations to Sabah amount to only RM58 million yearly.

Nazri's statement did not go down well with Sabah's tourism players. ­Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming described the statement as uncalled for and against the fundamentals of the Federal Government.

"May I remind him that it is the duty and responsibility of the Federal government to assist Sabah in all areas, inclusive of funding for tourism; given that Sabah has contributed immensely to the coffers of the federal government via taxes, duties, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and oil revenue since the formation of Malaysia 53 years ago," he said.

According to Pang, if Nazri dared to carry out his threat on Sabah, Sabah must then call on the Federal Government to surrender all its allocation for the State directly to the Sabah Treasury so that the State can decide on its usage in accordance to its own priority.



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