Tourism tax unlikely to roll out July 1, says Sabah minister

KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — Putrajaya is unlikely to implement its Tourism Tax nationwide from July 1 as scheduled, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said today.

The Sabah minister who has been critical of the new tax indicated that he will be meeting his Sarawakian counterpart to find a common ground on its collection and division among other issues after July 4, The Star Online reported.

“To my understanding, hotels haven’t even registered yet, so how is the government going to collect these taxes?” Masidi was quoted telling reporters during the state-level Hari Raya open house at the Likas Sports Complex in Kota Kinabalu.

He reportedly pointed out that other logistical preparations were still incomplete, but added that “only the Customs Department can tell us whether there is going to be a delay in the collection of the tax”.

The Tourism Tax was passed by the Senate in April and expected to be rolled out on July 1, as previously announced by federal Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

However, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg said Sunday that the state would not implement the federal tourism tax next month as negotiations between the state and federal governments were still ongoing.

He also claimed that tourism was under state, not federal, jurisdiction.

Separately, The Borneo Post reported on its website an unverified claim that 3,000 tourists from China have cancelled their trips to Malaysia amid news of the tourism tax that would see them charged an estimated RM100,000.

The allegation was raised Sunday in Miri by Malaysian Association of Convention Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers’ acting vice president for conventions and a professional conference management trainer Gracie Geikie, citing hearsay from a travel agent friend.

The Sarawak chief minister had been asked to comment on the mass cancellation but reportedly declined, saying it would be unfair for him to say anything when he was unaware of the details.

The federal tourism tax rates are between RM2.50 per room each night for unrated accommodation and RM20 per room each night for five-star hotels.

Source: Malay Mail

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