KUCHING: It is the federal government’s responsibility to continue distributing the 50 per cent tourism tax collected to all the respective states.
Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the previous government under Barisan Nasional (BN) had introduced the tourism tax imposed on foreigners last year, and now it was the federal government’s commitment to carry on.
“For that, I want to thank Pakatan Harapan (PH) for continuing to return the tax collected. Every state will make noise if that is taken away,” he told reporters after chairing the press conference on the 22nd Rainforest World Music Festival (RMWF), at 11 Ridgeway, Jalan Ong Tiang Swee here yesterday.
Karim was asked to comment on the announcement by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the federal government would return the tourism tax collected.
He added that as said of last year, the Sarawak government had received more than RM2.7 million from the tourism tax.
“As this is our Visit Sarawak Campaign (VSC) year, we expect to see an increase in the tourism tax from the state,” stressed Karim.
For the first four months, there was an increase of tourist arrivals and the minister expressed confidence that the state would generate more revenue from its tourism sector.
On Monday, after chairing the National Finance Council (NFC) meeting in Putrajaya, apart from the tourism tax, Dr Mahathir had also announced that the federal government would increase another RM60 million for the state governments.
The additional allocation would be used to further protect and conserve the environment, including forest reserves and marine life.