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‘Tourism tax should be for tourists’

29th July, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The exemption of Malaysians from paying Tourism Tax is as it should be because going by its name it should only be imposed on tourists.

Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI) President Datuk Michael Lui welcomed Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz’s statement that Malaysians are exempted from paying tourism tax.

The announcement came after weeks of debate over the wisdom and necessity of the tax which, in its original form, was imposed on accommodation premises from hostels to five-star hotels.

“Consistent with the definition of the tourism tax it should only be imposed on tourists instead of Malaysians,” said Lui.

Lui suggested that instead of imposing RM10 per room per night on foreign tourists at all types of accommodation premises, the RM10 tourism tax should be exempted for those staying at accommodation rated three-star and below.

The tourists staying at four-star accommodation premises and above would have to pay tourism tax of RM10 per room per night.

“This move can ensure our global competitiveness in tourism, and to boost the Sabah tourism industry which is one of the main economic contributors to the state.”

Lui added that the plan to return RM1 for every RM10 in tax per room per night collected to the state government is too little for the purpose of promoting tourism in the state.

“KKCCCI would like to suggest that RM10 collected to be equally shared between the federal and state governments to develop tourism.”

He also urged the Tourism and Culture Ministry to accept the proposal made by both Sabah and Sarawak governments to defer the implementation date to April 2018. This is important for the operators to have enough time to install the system, and the custom authority to set up the mechanism.

The Tourism Tax was to have been implemented on July 1. It was delayed to August 1.

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