Sarawak Cabinet Meeting Will Discuss Tourism Tax Issue

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KUCHING – Issues related to the Tourism Tax Act, which has become a hotly debated issue, will be discussed at the Sarawak state Cabinet meeting on June 22.

Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the meeting would discuss and decide on how to resolve the problem.

“We wait for the Cabinet’s decision because I cannot decide on my own.

“Whatever our decision, we will ensure it is holistic so that it does not cause inconvenience to the federal government as well as state government,” he said when met by reporters here today.

Abdul Karim said he was confident there was a way to resolve the problem that arises.

To a question on why none of the 31 lawmakers from Sarawak, including 25 state Barisan Nasional MPs did not object and participate in the debate on the bill when it was tabled in Parliament, Abdul Karim said he did not want to blame them because of the manner it was brought up in Parliament.

“If we see how the law was brought up in Parliament at that time…it was done hastily and if I’m not mistaken the Tourism Tax Bill was the last of eight bills to be debated at 4 am.

“To me that is the time for people to relax and sleep,” Abdul Karim said, adding however that he did not want to make assumptions that it might involved an ulterior motive.

The issue has caused a tiff between Abdul Karim and Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk seri Nazri Abdul Aziz who chided him over his remarks on the implementation of the tourism tax, labelling him a greenhorn and asking him not to behave like a ‘gangster’.

Abdul Karim had urged the federal government to defer the July 1 implementation of the tourism tax for Sarawak and Sabah and that it must respect the Malaysia Agreement 1963. -BERNAMA