KOTA KINABALU: Sabah and Sarawak will work together to find a fair solution on the tourism tax with the Federal government, Saabah Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun (pic) said.
“Sabah shares the same view as Sarawak that there have been little or no consultation with the two state governments (Sabah and Sarawak) prior to the enactment of the law on tourism tax.
“Sabah will continue to work with Sarawak to find common grounds in our engagement with the federal government to find fair solutions on the issue,” he said in a statement here Wednesday.
Masidi said when the tourism tax was proposed by the Tourism and Culture Ministry last year, the state government had objected to the proposal and informed the relevant federal authorities of their concerns.
He said Sarawak too objected to the tax proposal and its Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg had also informed Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman during his visit to Kota Kinabalu earlier this year.
“Both Sabah and Sarawak agreed to work together for a common stand on the proposed tourism tax,” he said.
However, he said that the federal government proceeded to enact the Tourism Tax Act 2017 which was passed by Dewan Rakyat earlier this year.
Masidi said the passing of the Act had created new dynamics and a new challenge for the stage government.
The Sabah government, he said, was going to discuss and decide its stand on the Tourism Tax Act 2017 at the next Cabinet meeting.
However, he said the withdrawal of Sarawak's representative from the Board of Directors of Malaysia Tourism Board (MTB) had been wrongly interpreted as opting out of the tourism tax regime.
Amid calls in Sabah to also leave MTB, Masidi said that doing so did not equal to opting out of the provisions of the new Act or does it amount to rejecting it.
“MTB does not decide tourism policies or laws relating to tourism. It is the marketing or promotional arm of the Tourism and Culture Ministry,” he said.