KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has welcomed Sarawak’s decision to quit the Malaysian Tourism Board after the state government disagreed with Putrajaya’s new tourism tax.
The Tourism and Culture minister said it was pointless for the Sarawak government to oppose it now when objections should have been made several months ago in Parliament and Cabinet.
“We welcome the decision. This follows after I shut down duplicate tourism offices in Kuching.
“I don’t see why they are so upset about the tax. We made this decision several months ago in Parliament and the Cabinet. There were seven to eight Sarawakian ministers who didn’t say anything,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.
The Padang Rengas MP explained that Sarawak was the least affected by the tax as the state will only contribute 10 per cent to the total room taxes collected under the new system.
Nazri pointed out that Sarawak’s tourism stands to benefit the biggest from the new tax as the profits would be divided by Putrajaya equally among Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia.
“The tax will be collected by federal and divided into three parts. They will be getting a lot of allocation for tourism, more so than some states,” he added.
The Umno supreme council member said he even was willing to forego the suggestion made by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and be labelled “unfair” to help develop states like Sarawak.
“In wanting it to be fair to all parties, I’m willing to not let Penang get its return, so that Sarawak all benefit,” Nazri explained.