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Friday, June 23, 2017

Sabah rep: Sarawak's hoo-ha over tourism tax came to nothing

After all the uproar in Sarawak over the imposition of a tourism tax on hotels by the federal government, the state has now conceded and will have to implement it anyway, noted Sri Tanjong assemblyperson Chan Foong Hin.
"The lesson we have learned from the whole tourism tax fiasco is that the only way to fight for state autonomy is through parliamentary reform," said the Sabah DAP secretary in a statement.
Chan said the scenario today would have different if it was not for a 1994 amendment to the federal constitution.
He pointed out that during the formation of the Malaysian federation, tourism was not part of the federal list nor state list.
"Therefore, it is under residual power which the federal government needs to consult with states before taking any legislation on that particular matter," he said.
Chan said while East Malaysia nationalists may often refer to the safeguards in the Malaysia Agreement, it is the federal constitution that is the highest law of the land and Putrajaya can amend it as long as it has sufficient majority in Parliament.
He stressed that the notion of working within the BN to seek autonomy for East Malaysia has been ineffective.
As such, he said a national coalition was necessary to institute reforms for genuine decentralisation of powers to the state.

Yesterday, Sarawak minister in charge of tourism Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the state government will implement the tourism tax but wants Sarawak's share of the proceeds to go back to the state.
Karim was previously engaged in a tiff with Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz after he proposed the tax be deferred for East Malaysia.
The tourism tax will see consumers paying between RM2.50 to RM20 per room per night depending on the ratings.- Mkini

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