PETALING JAYA: The Finance Ministry has slammed Sarawak's Tourism Minister over allegations that the federal government has distributed the tourism tax revenue to Sabah but not Sarawak.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (pic) said the federal government has yet to distribute the tax revenue to any states, including Sabah.
"First of all, the federal government does not practice favouritism by distributing tourism tax to certain states, but not to Sarawak.
"So far, no tourism tax has been distributed by the federal government to the state governments," Lim said in a statement on Sunday (Jan 6).
He adds that in the eyes of the law, the tourism tax is the revenue of the federal government and as such, there is no legal obligation to distribute it to the states.
"The previous federal government did not seek to share and distribute the tourism tax revenue to the states, but the Pakatan Harapan government had announced during Budget 2019, a 50% share of the proceeds from the tax collection in the states starting 2019," he said.
Lim said the ministry is finalising the accounts on 2018's tourism tax collection and will distribute the revenue to all state governments in the first quarter of 2019.
The Bagan MP chided Sarawak state’s Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah over the allegations made on Jan 5 that the federal government owes Sarawak RM2.7mil in tourism tax revenue from September 2017.
"It is reasonable for the Sarawak state government not to make any accusations on the distribution of RM2.7mil in tourism tax because as of Nov 30, 2018, Sarawak still owes the federal government debt of almost RM50mil," Lim said.