Sabah and other states to benefit from tourism

KOTA KINABALU: The move to return half the tourism receipts to major contributing states in the country is seen to hugely benefit Sabah.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said this was because one of Sabah’s largest economic contribution comes from tourism activities, and Sabah is actively involved in promoting the industry.

“For example if the federal government records a RM50mil tourism receipt, then I am confident the related states will get RM25mil, and if the federal government gets RM100mil from tourism, then states will also get more,” he said after the Budget 2019 announcement on Friday.

Shafie said this budget will see a boost in tourism activities in many states, not only Sabah.

Meanwhile, he said the RM5bil allocation for Sabah could develop various aspects in the state but he wants to see its distribution details to know clearer which are the areas which would be involved.

He said though Sabah actually needed more than RM5bil for the various long needed developments, he understood that this was what the government could give at the moment in view of the limited funds and current economic situation.

“I hope the allocations for Sabah would cover security, education and health developments,” Shafie said.

The Semporna MP hopes that the allocation can be used to also develop infrastructures such as roads, water, electricity and health facilities such as purchase of medications.

“This is because apart from doctors and specialists as well as bigger hospitals, we need more medicines,” he said.

Among the other aspects that is expected to see improvement and benefit the state include the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), reduction of levy on workforce in estates, the continuation of the Pan Borneo Highway, and stabilization of prices of goods in Sabah and Sarawak.